How to Improve Your APM Deployment with CMDB
March 24, 2016

Ramy Hassanein
CA Technologies

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In a perfect world, deployments would always go as planned – however in the world of IT we all know that is not the case. There's a long list of reasons why Application Performance Management (APM) deployments might fail. Some reasons can be aligned to people, others to process and finally some to product.

Today's applications are no longer simple or static in nature. Applications now cover everything from mobile to mainframe and can reside within your datacenter to the cloud as well as everything in between. With that, many questions start to arise:

How do we know what to manage?

How do we determine what the application is made of?

Do we need to deploy an agent?

If so, what kind of agent is needed?

These are all great questions and probably only a handful of examples, but the first task that needs to be addressed is prioritizing applications along with their impact on the business. Higher priority applications are the ones you need to invoke management on first and where detailed transactions coupled with customer experience matter the most. Once you have your "Hit List" the next step is to look under the hood and determine what makes up these applications.

Enter the Configuration Management Database

That is where the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) comes into play. Organizations have spent a tremendous amount of time and resources properly building out and furthermore keeping their CMDB, CIs & relationships accurate. Multiple sources that are designated as Metadata Repositories (MDRs) provide a lot of information to the CMDB so that it becomes the single source of truth within an organizations. So why not leverage all that hard work and precise data?

Within the CMDB and simply by taking a look at the visualizer service map of a particular service you can determine:

1. Who consumes the service>

2. What OS & Servers host the service?

3. What platform is used (eg. Java, .NET…)?

4. What datacenter?

5. Does Production deployment of this app looks like UAT or Test or QA?

And the list goes on.

Leveraging CMDB Can Help You Get Out of Reactive Mode

Historically APM and ITIL have always been a perfect match. It's not just about getting out of reactive mode anymore, but the union is so much more than just password resets or outages and application support. With the focus on continual process improvement, APM can leverage ITIL to help monitor Service Level Agreements (SLAs) metrics which works hand in hand with Service Support and Service Lifecycle. Typically, when we think of this harmonious integration we forget to include the CMDB, and just think about traditional ticket life cycles and MTTR.

When new changes happen in an organization, the first place that should know about it is the Service Desk and the CMDB updated accordingly.

Therefore, a great tool to leverage during any phase of an APM deployment would be your CMBD and its service maps. It can help determine where and what is needed to make sure you are managing your applications correctly with all its components. Whether in the beginning phases of an initial deployment of APM or expanding deployments of agents within an organization, you can use the CMDB's service views to assist. This can even help break down silos that might exist in larger organizations and get APM out of isolation.

Ramy Hassanein is Sr. Principal Consultant at CA Technologies.

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