How APM Can Prevent the IoT from Overwhelming You
January 27, 2016

Krishnan Badrinarayanan
Riverbed Technology

Share this

When you think of the "Internet of Things" (IoT), the first things that come to mind may be the wearable fitness tracker or the smart TV you use to stream your favorite shows. Indeed, IoT is one of the hottest consumer trends, and expectations are that more than 20% of US consumers will own smart refrigerators, smart watches and other connected devices by 2020.

While IoT is gaining traction with consumers, it's already having a transformative effect on the business world. Companies can analyze the volumes of data connected devices supply to improve decision-making processes and to help employees be more productive. However, as an enterprise brings more connected devices online, IT will struggle to maintain adequate application performance levels. Implementing application performance monitoring (APM) establishes the end-to-end visibility IT needs in order to immediately identify what's causing an application to perform poorly, so that they can fix the issue before users complain.

More enterprises are embracing cloud computing and creating hybrid IT architectures comprised of a mix of on premise and cloud-based applications. The move to the cloud is driving the adoption of connected devices, and there are no signs of slowing. Cisco Systems reports that in 2008 there were already more things connected to the Internet than people. By 2020, the amount of Internet-connected things will reach 50 billion.

IoT already powers a wide range of business applications. For example, oil and gas companies can track oil flow through pipelines, smart meters help measure and optimize the delivery and consumption of electricity, and mining companies can better monitor logistics. A Dutch company even uses Internet-connected sensors on cattle to alert farmers when the animals are sick or pregnant.

Just as the number of business use cases for connected devices grows, so too does the amount of data that stream into companies' Big Data collections. And some are already starting to feel the strain as they struggle to maintain performance levels across hybrid environments.

"IoT threatens to generate massive amounts of input data from sources that are globally distributed. Transferring the entirety of that data to a single location for processing will not be technically and economically viable," said Joe Skorupa, VP and Distinguished Analyst at Gartner. "The recent trend to centralize applications to reduce costs and increase security is incompatible with the IoT." (Gartner, Gartner Says the Internet of Things Will Transform the Data Center, March 18, 2014)

IoT Creates Complexity

Consider how a wearable fitness tracker works. The user interface is simple, but that little wristband is always working to send and receive information via Bluetooth from a smartphone, upload that information to a cloud-based app that analyzes activity levels, nutrition, sleep quality and heart rate, among other metrics. The application then supplies that analysis to its dedicated smartphone app, and likely also with other mobile and Web-based applications. And the user expects all of this to occur in real-time.

To meet these user expectations, network communication and interdependent application processes on distributed environments need to perform flawlessly. It takes only one piece of this application delivery chain to bring down the house of cards.

Think about a trucking company managing a fleet of delivery vehicles. It can install a variety of connected devices on a truck to monitor when it passes a checkpoint, its fuel and tire air pressure levels, how fast it is traveling, engine wear, and other information in real-time. This enables the company to provide real-time updates to customers, ensure the driver is driving safely, automatically schedule maintenance, and re-route a truck if bad weather looms. Now imagine how much more complex that operation becomes when trying to scale this across the entire fleet. So many things can go wrong within the application, infrastructure (cloud or on-premises), network or third party web services.


It is clear that IT needs real-time visibility into the performance of massively distributed applications, and implementing APM will enable you to:

1. See it: Monitor distributed applications and the underlying networks so you can quickly identify when the application, network or infrastructure impact end user experience. You will be able to examine the entire application topology and transactions that flow through it. from a transactional perspective: how is information being collected and shared between devices, applications, cloud services and the analytics systems.

2. Prioritize and Fix: Pinpoint the causes of bottlenecks or errors, and prioritize which ones you should address first. Analytics built into the APM product should be able to identify business-critical processes from the rest. Once you have done so, drill down into the offending code, network or infrastructure to gather diagnostics and resolve.

3. Be proactive: Because your APM product continuously monitors your applications, tracing all transactions, you have a wealth of information that you can analyze for patterns, to identify minor bugs before they become severe, or to seek opportunities to further improve performance.

As IoT devices feed more and more data to enterprises' Big Data stores, IDC predicts that within three years, 50 percent of IT networks will transition from having excess capacity to handle the additional IoT devices to being network constrained with nearly 10 percent of sites being overwhelmed. (International Data Corporation (IDC), IoT Market Forecast: Worldwide IoT Predictions for 2015, December 7, 2014)

Implementing an APM product will help you detect those constraints by identifying potential bottlenecks and ensuring business critical applications are constantly optimized and have adequate bandwidth. End-to-end visibility and diagnostics provided by APM is a necessity to identify issues with complex, distributes applications and to take action before users complain. Further, the detailed analytics it provides can help you be proactive about performance improvement, and to measure the business impact of the application.

Krishnan Badrinarayanan is Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Riverbed Technology.

Share this

The Latest

March 24, 2017

A growing IT delivery gap is slowing down the majority of the businesses surveyed and directly putting revenue at risk, according to MuleSoft's 2017 Connectivity Benchmark Report on digital transformation initiatives and the business impact of APIs ...

March 23, 2017

Why containers are growing in popularity is no surprise — they’re extremely easy to spin up or down, but come with an unforeseen issue. Without the right foresight, DevOps and IT teams may lose a lot of visibility into these containers resulting in operational blind spots and even more haystacks to find the presumptive performance issue needle ...

March 22, 2017

Much emphasis is placed on servers and storage when discussing Application Performance, mainly because the application lives on a server and uses storage. However, the network has considerable importance, certainly in the case of WANs where there are ways of speeding up the transmission of data of a network ...

March 21, 2017

The majority of IT executives believe investment in IT Service Management (ITSM) is important to gain the agility needed to compete in an era of global, cross-industry disruption and digital transformation, according to Delivering Value to Today’s Digital Enterprise: The State of IT Service Management 2017, a report by BMC, conducted in association with Forbes ...

March 17, 2017

Let’s say your company has examined all the potential pros and cons, and moved your critical business applications to the cloud. The advertised benefits of the cloud seem like they’ll work out great. And in many ways, life is easier for you now. But as often happens when things seem too good to be true, reality has a way of kicking in to reveal just exactly how many things can go wrong with your cloud setup – things that can directly impact your business ...

March 16, 2017

IT leadership is more driven to be innovative than ever, but also more in need of justifying costs and showing value than ever. Combining the two is no mean feat, especially when individual technologies are put forward as the single tantalizing answer ...

March 15, 2017

The move to Citrix 7.X is in full swing. This has improved the centralizing of Management and reduction of costs, but End User Experience is becoming top of the business objectives list. However, delivering that is not something to be considered after the upgrade ...

March 14, 2017

As organizations understand the findings of the Cyber Monday Web Performance Index and look to improve their site performance for the next Cyber Monday shopping day, I wanted to offer a few recommendations to help any organization improve in 2017 ...

March 13, 2017

Online retailers stand to make a lot of money on Cyber Monday as long as their infrastructure can keep up with customers. If your company's site goes offline or substantially slows down, you're going to lose sales. And even top ecommerce sites experience performance or stability issues at peak loads, like Cyber Monday, according to Apica's Cyber Monday Web Performance Index ...

March 10, 2017

Applications and infrastructure are being deployed and commissioned at a faster rate than ever before, the number of tools it takes to effectively manage these services is multiplying, and the expectations placed on IT to ensure customer satisfaction is increasing, according to The State of Monitoring 2017 report from BigPanda ...