In APMdigest's highly popular and well-respected annual list of APM predictions, industry experts - from analysts and consultants to users and the top vendors - offer thoughtful, insightful, and sometimes controversial predictions on how Application Performance Management (APM) will evolve and impact business in 2014.
This is a forecast from the top minds in APM, and while some predictions may not come true, the blueprint for the future of our industry is quite possibly encoded into this list.
Some predictions cover topics from last year, such as Big Data, mobile and cloud. Familiar topics such as IT Operations Analytics, End-User Experience Management and DevOps have grown dramatically in importance. Other predictions introduce topics impacting APM as IT continues to evolve, such as the pain point of integration and the emergence of application-aware networking. And one prediction at the end revives an almost forgotten topic, BSM, which still has a part left to play, according to our experts.
One point that the predictions all have in common, however, compared to last year when some people were predicting the death of APM - this year's list of predictions has a noticeable positive tone, starting with the first prediction:
1. APM: Top of Mind in 2014
The confluence of Cloud, Mobile, network convergence, and virtualization is resulting in increasingly chaotic and unpredictable APM scenarios. At the same time, my research is showing that only about 40% of companies are using APM platforms to manage their applications. Although it is impossible to predict outcomes for 2014 for certain, I expect to see: Vendors and their customers increasingly scrambling to address and control under-performing application environments; a rise in the percentage of application issues detected by users; longer delays in resolving application-related problems; and as a result, increased willingness to make APM product investments.
Research Director, Application Management, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA)
It's all about the app performance. 2013 was the year that the performance and usability of large, visible projects, especially in healthcare, drew scrutiny from the public. I only see this trend growing in 2014 as adoption of model-driven, democratized and user-based development becomes mainstream. As apps become an industry standard, APM will be top of mind as companies strive to meet high expectations and customer demands.
Karen Tegan Padir
CTO, Progress Software
Application Performance Management is now reaching the crest of its popularity cycle, and will soon be absorbed into the mainstream of IT as the principles of APM become clear to the broader audience. Holding true to its promise, APM will provide proactive system monitoring at the risk of being dubbed a point solution, and will serve up the potential to be seen as a strategic platform.
Director of Enterprise Application Services at the Auto Club Group and Founder of the APM Strategies Group on LinkedIn.
Larry Dragich Blog: The Huckster and Peddler: So You Want to Buy Some APM?
2. ROI Drives Proactive APM
Return on Investment will continue to be top of mind among senior business executives. It will be imperative that performance management tools better serve the organization through proactive alerting that highlights the following: performance issues that impact users, sub-optimal utilization situations, as well as optimization scenarios that allow IT to do more with less. IT will start to judge the time saved in reduced man hours in addition to improved user experience and projects that can be completed on time and on budget. In 2014, the success of IT will hinge on the impact it has on the business.
CTO, eG Innovations
Business leaders in large corporations will demand additional ROI from multi-year APM investments, causing CIOs to better leverage APM information by shifting staff members from ticket-driven reactive responses to strategic, solution-oriented, performance-driven centers of excellence focused on improved customer experience, IT supply chain cost reduction and simplified system architecture.
Business Systems Performance Consultant
In 2014, organizations will start to ask: What ELSE can I do with all this rich APM data? We're already seeing customers begin to use APM data for fraud, compliance, and user analytics. This strengthens the business case for adopting APM software and makes those that have look like heroes, as they are able to leverage the investment that they've already made to serve new user communities in the enterprise.
VP of Products, INETCO
The #1 change in the APM market will be the new IT buying process. The winning APM vendors won't be the ones with yet another new feature; they'll be the ones attracting enterprise buyers with innovative pricing models, customer advocacy programs, and user-generated product reviews to share the value of APM solutions with peers.
Founder and CEO, IT Central Station
3. Analytics Transforms APM
APM innovation and differentiation will increasingly come from the incorporation of analytics technologies to help answer non-performance related questions.
Research Director in Gartner's IT Operations Research Group
In 2014 we believe that enterprises will increasingly be open to the idea of rethinking their performance monitoring strategies around the idea of IT Operations Analytics platforms – or as Gartner calls it ITOA. While this seems disruptive – and people don't normally like change – the reality is that today's application architectures are unlike anything we built even 5 years ago. Instead of monolithic applications, we are increasingly building business processes based on loosely coupled IT and application services – including those from 3rd party vendors like Amazon AWS. This requires a fundamental rethinking of a monitoring strategy to handle this dynamic complexity – and we believe the answer is to leverage analytics to a greater degree in the performance monitoring architecture.
President and CEO, Netuitive
In 2014, exciting advances in big data, predictive analytics, and cognitive computing will enable us to move closer to intelligent, proactive, and pre-emptive application performance management and resilience.
Information Development Manager, IBM Cloud and Smarter Infrastructure
A Golden Era of Analytics Based Monitoring: Gone are the days when you could just collect a bunch of data and store it for when someone needed to look at it. Applications are the enterprise and they have grown more complex than ever. The companies that will survive in an ultra fast paced and competitive environment are the ones who can react the fastest to problems and changing business conditions. Lucky for them, there are a number of monitoring solutions gaining widespread popularity that help identify, isolate, and repair application issues based upon intelligent algorithms. We're entering a golden era of monitoring technology and everyone except for the old, legacy vendors will benefit from it.
Tech Evangelist, AppDynamics
In 2014, businesses will require APM solutions to transcend their respective silos and deliver a root-cause analysis that "explains" symptoms coming from multiple event sources. Only then can the specialist be pointed in the right direction, armed with the necessary information and tools to resolve the problem as fast as possible. The decision that there is in fact an authentic problem will be determined automatically by analytics that compare current trends and rate of change for those trends to what is normal for those applications.
VP Product Management and Marketing, Nastel Technologies
When it comes to Big Data, IT is usually charged with ensuring systems used to support business intelligence efforts run smoothly. But, IT itself is now a source of Big Data as it monitors complex business services and applications. Collecting metrics every 15 seconds across thousands of Java Virtual Machines can result in billions of metrics instances a day flowing through application performance management tools. Single variable thresholds that trigger red/yellow/green light dashboard alerts are good at monitoring for extreme behavior, but leave a lot of gray area where problems could be lurking. In 2014, we will see more organizations adopting machine-driven analytics to help take advantage of all the metric data being collected to more efficiently and effectively trouble shoot potential problems in order to deliver reliable services that offer a great customer experience.
Product Marketing Manager, CA Technologies
Today billions of machine events, environment and application changes, performance and availability metrics, and vast amounts of other structured and unstructured IT operations data from a wide variety of sources go mostly unprocessed. In 2014 we expect to see that starting to change, as new IT Operations Analytics technologies arise to analyze IT Big Data, allowing IT managers to make better decisions about their environments and critical business systems. With little time available and too many tools already in place, the IT industry will shift to the new IT operations analytics tools that automatically offer real actionable insights, rather than just slicing and dicing overwhelming data. This new approach and supporting technologies will transform IT operations, providing a true single pane of glass promoting the collaboration of various IT teams, enabling a more proactive approach to IT operations and to drive more agile and flexible IT processes.
A new framework I call performance analytics decision support (PADS) will emerge in 2014 that links advanced performance management with business analytics. PADS marries unified next-generation network, infrastructure, and application performance management and operational intelligence technologies into holistic, integrated platforms that consolidate multiple previously discrete functions. PADS best practices are achieved by gaining deep and real-time visibility into and intelligence from increasingly complex IT systems across the entire application delivery chain to assure user experience, reduce risk and improve decision making in a more efficient, secure and timely fashion.
Technology Analyst, Tech-Tonics
4. Big Data Impacts APM Product Features
Non-Relational Data Stores: Where there is data, there is potentially value. Technology architecture is becoming increasingly more complex with hybrid environments and mobile, digital services on the rise. Simply, monitoring and analytics solutions that employ traditional, relational databases as their foundation will struggle, economically, to store the increasing amount of data generated from rising complexity. This means that monitoring and analytics solutions with non-relational data stores will have the advantage in 2014 and solutions based on traditional, relational databases will be looking at ways in which they can adopt non-relational features and techniques into their road maps.
Analyst, Infrastructure and Operations, Forrester Research
John Rakowski Blog: Predictions For 2014: Technology Monitoring
Log Management: The surprise for me in 2013 has been the phenomenal rise of new, pure play log management vendors. New generation log management exploits big data technology to offer immediate analysis on huge amounts of data (big data was my more general prediction for 2013). So my prediction for 2014, somewhat belatedly, is the continuing rise and impact of log management, and related wire data management, on APM.
Principal Analyst, Ovum
5. The Democratization of APM
The prevalence of SaaS delivery and reduction in time to value for APM solutions is democratizing APM. As trial/PoC friction lowers, users rather than managers will direct APM implementation. The mission of an APM product in 2014 will be to provide the most performance insight to engineers, with minimum hassle and overhead. And, because these empowered engineers will evaluate the solution in light of their increasingly complex environments, full-stack coverage is not a nice-to-have – it's a must.
Product Director, Application Performance, AppNeta
6. Automation and Simplification of APM
What's in store for 2014? Simplified data center operations and management. Data center teams that are currently juggling too many tools will start consolidating them or switching to tools that unify various IT functions and foster collaboration between various IT teams. One cornerstone of data center simplification will be easy-to-use automation tools and mechanisms that ensure the data center does not need babysitting 24x7.
VP Product Management, ManageEngine
2013 saw a big shift in APM with buyers seeking simpler “try and buy” solutions with time-to-value trumping broader functional requirements. In 2014, we'll see the commoditization of simplified APM, which will in turn lead to greater demand for integrated intelligence, problem-solving and big data analysis. There will emerge a demand for a greater level of detail and contextual visibility – essential for fast, accurate, automated identification of “needle-in-the-haystack” root causes and actionable remediation.
GM, Performance Monitoring, Dell Software
I believe that the main APM trend is integration: further integration between different APM components, integration with new components (for example, performance modeling and capacity planning), and integration with other tools (for example, load testing tools).
Consulting Member of Technical Staff, Oracle
Virtualization brings with it many obvious benefits that most people recognize: rapid server deployment, hardware cost reduction, and improved disaster recovery, for example. Less apparent is the profound impact that automated provisioning of infrastructure and applications has on the methodology for monitoring the health state of large-scale mission-critical applications. In 2014, the deployment metadata that is intrinsic to a virtualized system will be used to a much greater degree to supplement or replace entirely the tedious manual configuration of monitoring data sources, as well as the service dependency model, or CMDB. This will lead to application monitoring systems that are inherently more accurate, reliable, and predictive, driving even greater business value.
President and CEO, SL Corporation
Tom Lubinski article on APMdigest: The CMDB of the Future
7. End User Experience Management is Critical Capability
The shift to the end user: In 2014, end to end performance analytics will be the new standard. No longer will companies only monitor backend services, but will evolve to monitor the entire end user experience, whether in a browser or on a mobile device. Moving forward more and more companies will see the value of correlating performance analytics to business metrics to understand how performance directly impacts the business.
Developer Evangelist, AppDynamics
The popularity of APM has shone a bright light on only one component of End User Experience Management (EUEM) and has obscured the fact that EUEM is a separate, multi-dimensional solution that is essential to an organization's performance management initiatives. Enterprise adoption of Mobile devices and applications will surge exponentially in the future, completely changing the face of End User computing within the enterprise. The critical need of both app developers and enterprises to gain insight into when, where, and why mobile apps are not performing well will drive app developers to embed EUEM analytics capabilities within their apps. As a result, device-centric, mobile app monitoring will become a critical component of Mobile APM as app crashes and errors, signal strength and connectivity, and app usage and user behavior are all only visible from the device vantage point. Effective BYOD policies will encourage users to embrace multiple devices, which will make a unified EUEM approach that spans any app running on physical, virtual, and mobile devices a critical complementary technology to MDM and MAM solutions.
President and CEO, Aternity
Trevor Matz' Blog: The User is King
2014 is the year we will see APM drive a meaningful commitment to end-user monitoring solutions. Companies are finally realizing that a strictly network-centric approach to APM is like arriving at noon for an 8:00 am cruise. Applications managers can't afford to fix problems that don't matter. Similarly, with a significant view into the user experience, companies can fix what's most important, driving an improved end-user experience, satisfaction and yes, revenue. At the same time, IT will also invest more heavily in end-user monitoring solutions - creating the maximum value for its applications and supporting lines-of-business in delivering maximum value from theirs. With that we are seeing the convergence of IT and APM, giving APM a more critical role within the company infrastructure. With knowledge comes power, and end-user monitoring delivers companies the insights necessary to drive high-impact applications, prioritizing the needs that must be addressed to keep critical business functions operating optimally, at the times most necessary. With that, 2014 elevates APM to an even greater strategic business function, reaping significant and sustained rewards from its investment.
VP Strategy, Office of the CTO, BMC Software
8. Devops Expands in Many Ways
DevOps teams become the norm, not the exception. DevOps, started as an offshoot of Agile development with a focus on achieving continuous delivery, will continue to catalyze change across IT departments in how teams from different IT domains collaborate and which tools are employed to facilitate friction-less delivery. DevOps skill-sets will become increasingly desirable: communication, integration, automation. Today dedicated DevOps teams are found in hardware and software companies, as well as a fraction of progressive enterprise IT departments. In 2014, expect specific DevOps team to sprout up in all large enterprises.
Sr. Director, Riverbed Technology Council
In 2014, mobile application development will move from a state myopically focused on immediate delivery to a more mature process. Quality and performance consideration will take priority as the mobile impact on brands becomes more widely understood. Strategic testing vendors will respond to startup innovations in SaaS. They will "shift left" pre-production technologies through active acquisitions driven by the new level of business economic provided in next generation cloud monitoring solutions and pre-production virtualization technologies. The movement towards DevOps bridges continues as application monitoring continues to underscore the need for better data sharing between operations and development to reduce production error rates and remediations which NIST reports accounts for 80% of application TCO.
In 2014, a majority of IT leaders with DevOps initiatives will come to realize that the behavior change necessary for DevOps success can be enabled by purpose-built software solutions that facilitate collaboration on requirements, projects, and infrastructure changes. What's more, these organizations will find that they not only have been able to accelerate deployment cycles, but they also have reduced the number of incidents from new releases, thereby, increasing business line satisfaction significantly.
VP of Marketing, ITinvolve
We at Compuware believe a new practice will emerge this year known as AppOps, which will help accelerate application innovation through tighter IT and business alignment. More specifically, AppOps will foster improved collaboration among development, production operations and business application owners so they can bring to market a greater number of high-quality application releases per month, per week, per day than ever before. The concepts of Agile development and DevOps are already giving way to the notion of Continuous Deployment. This push by business leaders will require IT to rethink and retool for a much more dynamic world.
Technology Strategist, Compuware APM Center of Excellence
Read about AppOps and other Compuware predictions for 2014: Top 5 Technology Predictions for 2014
9. Ultra-Fast Networks make APM a must-have
In 2014 APM will become even more vital as, John Gage predicted back in 1984 the “Network is the computer”. This is being proved right with every passing minute, powered by a headlong rush into network based computing aka cloud services, SaaS, IaaS, etc. What John couldn't have predicted was that a huge amount of this (networking) will be wireless, as we simply want everything everywhere access. Watch 2014 - with 4G and 802.11ac bringing ultra-fast wireless to the party will mean a greater reliance on APM.
Pre-sales Technologist, iTrinegy
2014 will begin the real transition to 40G. Over the past 18 – 24 months, we've seen a massive migration from 1G to 10G and as network speeds continue to increase, so does the lack of visibility. According to a recent WildPackets survey, nearly 80% of respondents said they are managing at least some 10G in their infrastructure; however, 43% cited visibility as a key challenge in transitioning to 10G+ networks. As organizations continue to transition to faster networks, an APM solution that can effectively capture all the packets traversing the network will become increasingly important. We've seen average data rates on customer networks increase from 1 – 2Gbps a few years ago to 6 – 7Gbps in 2013. 10G links are already becoming heavily used, and 40G is the next logical step. According to our survey, 13% of respondents already have at least some 40G under their management. This is the year for that number to jump significantly, ending the 1G to 10G trend and initiating the 10 – 40G transition.
Director of Product Management, WildPackets
10. Application-Aware NPM Becomes Essential
In 2014 the trusted methods for measuring network performance will be found inadequate for explaining why applications perform the way they do. Application latency has become the new KPI of choice for early warning of end-user problems. If the application is slow then it is broken as far as the end user is concerned. Today's NPM techniques are weak at providing visibility and analytics of network effects that impact application latency. The demand for application-aware NPM will force this issue to the forefront in 2014.
VP of Product Management, Corvil
One of the greatest variables in assuring high performing applications is the fact that an essential part of the delivery mechanism – the network – is a shared medium. Fortunately, deep visibility into application performance from the network perspective, in full context with everything else that is consuming network resources, is available via a mature set of monitoring technologies known as application-aware network performance management (ANPM) solutions. In 2014, a growing majority of cross-domain, service-centric operations teams will recognize the essential values of ANPM viewpoints, and will incorporate them into both reactive and proactive practice regimes.
VP of Research, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA)
Next generation network-based APM will displace server and agent-based approaches due to its less intrusive nature, lower costs, better scalability and its inherent ability to support a far wider range of application services, such as voice, video, and its ability to adapt to cloud, virtualization and SDN-based environments. Measuring holistic service availability and quality, and the resulting end-user experience will not be possible with agents deployed on servers or focused on only a part of the application ecosystem such as Web transactions.
VP Marketing, NetScout Systems
Steven Shalita Blog: 5 Ways the APM Game Will Change in 2014
Most of the buzz and investment in software-defined networking and storage is currently being driven by infrastructure vendors who have taken a siloed, infrastructure-centric view of it. However, as software-defined network and storage technology moves into more environments the new speed and flexibility can create new risks. Uncoordinated changes at the application, virtual server, storage and network layers can quickly impact adjacent layers and result in application performance problems. In 2014, this will drive the industry toward application-centric visibility as the blueprint for software-defined infrastructures, allowing companies to harness the new capabilities while avoiding some of the problems they can create.
Principal, Product Marketing, SolarWinds
11. Monitoring Cloud will add APM value
APM solutions which monitor, measure and optimize the performance of Cloud services will become critical in 2014, and Cloud-based APM capabilities will become a pivotal part of broader ITSM platforms. This will result in a greater number of APM company acquisitions and mergers by larger APM and ITSM vendors.
Managing Director of THINKstrategies and Founder of the Cloud Computing Showplace
IT's role will continue to shift more towards being a broker of services back to the business. In this capacity, it will assume responsibility for services delivered from cloud and SaaS providers. IT Leaders will be challenged to add value to these offerings, such as providing the true costs of desired service levels, security, monitoring, and so on. To accomplish this, organizations will demand a new level of detail regarding application utilization regardless of the infrastructure (physical, virtual, cloud, hybrid).
CEO and Co-Founder, AppFirst
12. High Demand for Mobile APM
In 2014, enterprises will rely much more heavily on mobile apps to conduct business critical functions. Because mobile users have come to expect innovative and highly responsive activity, those apps and services that don't meet the performance bar will be quickly deleted from a device. Since traditional APM does not address mobile well, the new year will bring high demand for mobile-specific solutions that address the key challenges and metrics unique to mobile apps.
Marketing Manager, Crittercism
APM solutions will increasingly go deeper and become more critical to mobile application performance.
Research Director in Gartner's IT Operations Research Group
13. APM Will Focus on Integration
In 2014, the need for enterprise integration will accelerate – complexity and costs will continue to rise and will creep up to the point where they will begin to exceed the cost of applications for some systems. The over-taxed CIO will need to reallocate funding and resources to the intensifying task of integration, which will emerge as the single biggest pain point for the APM market. Central to this will be the necessity for tools, services and experts that can alleviate the cost and hassle of application integration.
CEO, AIMS Innovation
As organizations find they have more and more on-demand applications in place, whether through formal adoption by IT departments or informal adoption by lines of business (shadow IT), performance challenges will arise as the need to integrate these with each other and as well as with existing in-house applications becomes apparent. So, for in-house IT staff, APM in 2014 will be less about the underlying platform, which will often be the responsibility of service providers, and more about ensuring the performance of better integrated business processes; these will often involve users from outside the business, including those from business customers and partners as well as consumers.
Analyst and Director, Quocirca
14. The Return to BSM
APM becomes BSM (again). Far too often markets are defined by technology versus use case. And while it's true that technological definitions can offer highly discrete boundaries, more often than not they miss the boat when it comes to real innovation. A few years ago, when APM was redefined as a grand, cross-domain schema, it shed light on some real innovations, but obscured many broader requirements for integration, business relevance, and IT governance. I predict that BSM will re-emerge (with this or another acronym) but with a new nucleus of more technologically advanced solutions. In this new BSM world, fast deployment, self-learning, ease of administration and cost-effective scalability will be key.
VP of Research, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA)
Dennis Drogseth Blog: The CMDB, the CMS, and the CMDB System - A Brief Introduction
APM will finally become part of a broader BSM initiative. Much more business context will be added to make APM less of a product for IT professionals only and more understandable and useful for business people. This time for real.
Raul Cristian Aguirre
President, CEO and Founder, Tango/04