Q&A Part Three: CA Technologies Talks About APM
May 31, 2014
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In Part Three of APMdigest's exclusive interview, Aruna Ravichandran, CA Technologies Vice President, Product and Solution Marketing, Application Performance Management & DevOps, discusses the key must-have capabilities of an APM solution, and the challenges and future direction of the APM market.

Start with Part Two of the interview

APM: What are the key capabilities an APM solution must offer?

AR: Organizations should look for an APM solution that provides complete end-user-experience (including synthetic and real transactions) capabilities that will help make every customer experience a loyalty building interaction and you need to know that it can and will scale with your business needs. It is also important to look for:

Scalability, Depth & Breadth

- To avoid scalability issues or hide the gaps with product infrastructure avoid solutions that “summarize” data collection down to 1 minute intervals. Imagine a new product or application launch and only collect data on user experience only once a minute.

- Your APM solution should pass the test of good data collection, but also deep transaction tracing.

- Don't forget broad coverage for middleware technologies; these middleware stacks are the secret sauce of transaction routing and transformation for modern apps.

- The infrastructure angle is critical. You need to be able to collect, visualize and analyze TCP based transaction flows across networks, hosts, and ports to get network visibility of the applications.

Application–centric User Behavioral Analytics

- This approach allows you to create actionable information and improve problem resolution guesswork. An analytics-centric APM solution should use collected performance metrics to automatically identify complex emerging performance issues by correlating multiple variances, enabling triage and diagnosis teams to solve problems faster and understand their environments better. Avoid single variance analytics, as they give you only one side of the story. You also shouldn't have to pay a separate license fee for APM analytics.

Flexibility and Adaptability

- You need to be able to make your APM as unique as your business. As robust (or simple) as you need. Diverse report and dashboard customization means you can see what matters most to you and your stakeholders. Your business is unique, and is being driven by your custom apps; don't settle for an out-of-the-box, pre-configured APM solution.

APM: How are the accelerating application development schedules impacting APM?

AR: APM holds a critical role in the app development acceleration effort. Simply put, there is no Ops in DevOps without APM. APM enables application developers to collaborate with IT operations to accelerate the application delivery process. The introduction of agile development has made APM even more important, because it pushes performance testing closer to production. IT Ops and development teams are beginning to use APM in both pre-production and production to help ensure that new applications delivering business services will perform and scale when released to production.

APM: How does capacity management impact application performance?

AR: Capacity management helps customers plan for growth based on a number of factors including increased users and new business services. Planning for that increased workload and being able to balance and redistribute that workload as transactions and users increase comes right back to the notion of assuring an exceptional user experience. CA APM takes real-time production performance data and feeds it into CA Capacity Manager. This allows for a more realistic capacity model that reflects what is truly happening with the end-user experience.

APM: What is the toughest challenge right now for APM vendors, like CA?

AR: Applications are the very heart and soul of today's businesses. They're how employees connect; how consumers share, learn and purchases goods and services; how partners and suppliers interact; how companies find new ways to stand out from the competition. As a result, the APM market is evolving from one centered on the production environment, to one where simplicity and user experience are critical. So, the pressure is on vendors like CA to provide IT organizations with scalable solutions that enable them to ensure a positive end-user experience with mission-critical applications, and to identify, diagnose, and fix application issues quickly. And in the world of complex composite applications, this pressure is at a boiling point.

Under the leadership of James Harvey, the APM business unit at CA is laser focused on helping our customers use their APM implementations as a way to compete and succeed in today's application economy.

APM: What do you see the market demanding from APM today?

AR: There are many technical requirements that we have talked about, from deep transaction insight to assuring a positive end-user experience. Survival in today's application economy is based on growth; therefore, ease of use and scale is huge, so APM capabilities must be delivered in an easy-to-use solution that can truly scale to meet the needs of an enterprise implementation. Customers are also looking for smarter APM with Advanced Analytics that will help spot anomalies earlier, take informed corrective action, and leverage APM Big Data to become much more proactive and ultimately predictive.

APM: Where do you see the APM market and technology going in the next few years?

AR: I see five key areas where APM is going.

1. Interest in, and the adoption of SaaS for APM will continue to increase.

2. Use of intelligent analytics to help IT be more proactive. Organizations will use APM to make better use of the vast amounts of data that APM and other agents collect and correlate it for more informed decision-making.

3. APM simplicity. With the explosion of apps and their increasing complexity, users will want more simplicity in their APM implementations. APM ease-of-use isn't just about creating a pretty interface; it's about understanding the problem, and helping organizations solve that specific problem with automation and simplicity.

4. Management of mobile apps with better analytics and insight to understand mobile app health, performance, and usage.

5. Use of APM in the application development lifecycle for better DevOps collaboration to create better apps.

It's an exciting time to be part of the APM BU at CA Technologies. CA is in a great position to help organizations use technology to help IT better manage their end-user experience.

ABOUT Aruna Ravichandran

Aruna Ravichandran is Vice President, Product and Solution Marketing, Application Performance Management & DevOps, CA Technologies, and a blogger on APMdigest's Vendor Forum. In her role as VP at CA, Ravichandran leads the Go to Market for CA’s Application Performance Management products (CA Wiley) and is also responsible for solution marketing for DevOps which includes products spanning Applications (pre-production testing/development) and Operations.

Prior to CA, Ravichandran was the VP for Marketing and Strategy for Software Defined Networking (SDN) at Juniper Networks where she was responsible for a large portfolio of products targeting both Enterprise and Service Provider segments crossing several domains of the network - Edge, Data Center, Campus and Branch and Security. This includes key solutions around Mobility, Network Management and Cloud/SDN Controller.

Prior to Juniper, she spent 17 years at Hewlett Packard in various leadership roles spanning engineering, product management and product marketing across several business units – HP Software IT Operations Management, Application Performance Management Storage, Security, Server and Networking Business Units. Ravichandran has more than 20+ years of experience in product marketing, product and project management, strategic planning and channel development. She holds an MBA and Masters in Computer Engineering from Santa Clara University and bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Bangalore University, India.

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