Application Performance Management (APM) is the must-have technology of 2014. Even if you thought your company could get away without at least some sort of APM technology in the past, we are entering a new era of IT where that is no longer possible.
Today, there is a convergence of factors coming together like a perfect storm, making APM more important than ever. It is not just a matter of this factor or that factor, but a whole range of factors that are transforming IT, transforming APM, and transforming the world as we know it.
“With today’s rapid technological change, poor service delivery is too common – 75% of IT organizations are suffering from degraded business applications, according to IDG research services. According to Gartner, 70% of the time, IT organizations learn about performance problems from end-users. 31% of performance issues take more than a month to resolve or are never resolved, according to Forrester. Why? Applications are complicated,” explains Dimitri Vlachos, VP of Marketing and Products at Riverbed. “Each evolution of technology continues to add another level of complexity. This complexity knows no boundaries, and more complicated problems will occur – without a doubt, increasing complexity is among the biggest factors making APM necessary for your survival today.”
“It’s all about complexity,” IBM’s Jim Young agrees. “Multiple innovations and trends in SaaS, Cloud, virtualization, BYOD, etc. are converging to create the greatest challenge facing application administrators today – unfathomable complexity.”
“It seems trite to say IT environments are getting more complex, but the reality is that they truly are,” adds Matthew Selheimer, VP of Marketing, ITinvolve. “Delivering an application for the business can now stretch across mobile, cloud, and legacy systems with hundreds of dependencies between them along with numerous policies and regulations that govern them. No matter how complex these environments get, the business doesn’t care and simply expects they will perform whenever and wherever needed with a user experience that at least matches what they see in their personal lives. In this world we now operate in, APM is even more critical to the success of your business than ever.”
On this list of 15 Reasons Why You Need APM in 2014, industry experts – from analysts and consultants to users and the top vendors – show just how many factors are coming together this year to make APM an absolute necessity.
In terms of the solution, our experts all agree that APM is critical. Some experts add that capabilities complementary to APM, such as End User Experience Management (EUEM) and IT Operations Analytics (ITOA), are also essential.
These reasons are not in order of priority. Any one of the challenges listed below makes APM a necessity. But the onslaught of all these factors together in 2014 just might make APM a key to survival in today’s IT-centric world.
1. THE AGE OF THE CUSTOMER
We have entered the age of the customer, a 20 year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers. This era is fueled by innovations in mobile, social and other technologies which organizations must embrace in order to engage and delight customers. Central to this, applications that engage and delight customers are a key catalyst to commercial success. This means that in 2014, APM solutions will become more important than ever before as it’s not just about internal application monitoring but the availability, performance and experience management of external, customer applications.
Analyst, Infrastructure and Operations, Forrester Research
Forrester: “Age of the Customer” Defines Business for Next 20 Years
User experience is dramatically impacted by the performance of the physical, virtual or mobile device used to access apps, the latency associated with different locations, remote display protocols, the impact concurrently executing apps have on each other, the client-side app execution time, and by user behavior itself, for example. This user-centric approach enables enterprises to see exactly what their end users’ see in order to address their business critical enterprise initiatives such as Mobility and BYOD, SLA and Change Management, VDI Migrations, Staff Capacity Management, and many others. This is why End User Experience Management matters and why it is a critical complementary technology to APM.
President and CEO, Aternity
Businesses are more reliant today on e-commerce and the web than ever before, and web and mobile customers are hard to please. They will judge performance against the best experiences they have had and expectations today are high. The smallest delay in response on a website or mobile app can lose that user. APM is therefore essential to both pre-empt problems on the server side before they impact end users, and end user experience monitoring on the client side to gain an accurate view of user experience.
Principal Analyst, Ovum
The continual consumerization of IT technologies is creating the need to understand user experience and behavior, leading to integration of analytics technologies to the APM stack.
Research Director in Gartner’s IT Operations Research Group
As more apps/data/transactions move to the Web, uptime is paramount. This has become business critical as C-level executives expect IT to evolve from being a cost center to a business enabler more aligned with overall corporate strategy and objectives. APM provides value to customers through advanced analytics, helping them gain real-time, actionable intelligence from their operational data to assure service delivery and user experience in a cloud and mobile-centric computing environment.
Technology Analyst, Tech-Tonics
A recent Quocirca research report, In Demand: The Culture of Online Service Provision, showed that two thirds of organizations are transacting with external users on a regular basis. This includes consumers and users from business customers and partners. The applications that drive these transactions sit at the core of business processes and income streams. The research shows the extent to which these organizations are investing in advanced network and application support technology as well as using flexible infrastructure, including virtualization and on-demand services, to ensure adaptiveness. All this would be to no avail if they were not able to maintain an overall view of the end-to-end user experience and ensure that these business critical applications continue to deliver day-in, day-out.
Analyst and Director, Quocirca
In 2014, the successful delivery of applications that directly win, serve and retain customers will increasingly be a catalyst for commercial success but also, more importantly, will promise to enrich the brand. In 2014, APM solutions will be required in order to unify the views and information regarding the health of applications to both line of business and IT support teams. APM solutions deployed in the right way can help to promote collaboration by presenting information in context so that performance and availability insights can be made in order to avert application issues from directly impacting the revenue generating customer.
Analyst, Infrastructure and Operations, Forrester Research
3. NEW DEVELOPMENT METHODS – AGILE AND DEVOPS
With requirements for higher levels of automated insight driven from the growing need to integrate agile and DevOps into a fully cross-IT initiative, APM is a great investment especially when it has hooks. APM plus service modeling with hooks into a change impact and change management system can help to drive new levels of automation across your entire IT organization, from service desk, to development to operations. It can be the spark that kindles the fire of real-world success in the age of agile.
VP of Research, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA)
You don’t need APM in 2014 – you need it in 2014 and beyond, and let’s face it, we needed APM 5 years ago. I think the real question is “how does APM need to evolve” in 2014. And I think there are two parts to the answer. In 2014, APM needs to evolve to serve the DevOps movement which is the unification of traditional application and IT operations silos. Some APM vendors have taken steps in that direction, but in reality, many APM solutions don’t give enough visibility across all infrastructure silos – which is actually what Gartner expects that IT Operations Analytics will do for APM users. Secondly, I think APM needs to evolve to allow users to relate to the business impact that application performance has. If the app is slow, it’s much worse if sales are dropping as well. At Netuitive, we expect some combination of APM and IT Operations Analytics to finally bring together a view across application, infrastructure AND business silos.
Director of Product Marketing, Netuitive
4. FASTER DEVELOPMENT CYCLES
In 2014, APM will be a required foundation for accelerating application innovation through tighter business-IT alignment. To date, there has been an ongoing struggle between business teams, who want to bring innovative products and services to market more quickly, and IT teams who must support these rapidly changing services. Business teams realize that if they cannot speed up the delivery of quality applications to end users, the competition will. But IT teams have not been able to keep up. Without performance management to align business and IT teams during periods of accelerated change, organizations are only heaping on more problems. Only APM provides non-biased measurements of success or failure, which can speed up the adoption of new technologies into the environment. APM is invaluable in helping IT teams to ingest change more quickly, which in turn helps organizations overall to deliver greater innovation faster and enhance competitive edge.
Director of Solutions Marketing, Compuware APM
5. REDUCED IT BUDGETS AND RESOURCES
In 2014 APM can help IT “get more done with less” resources. Research from the analysts on IT budgets have not shown significant increases in headcount allocation for 2014. Yet, the criticality of IT in ensuring application availability and performance is still very important. APM can help manage the growing workload and address the need to keep applications running and delivering services to customers. Today’s APM, using real-time analytics will reduce the need for “eyes-on-screen monitoring”. By analyzing multiple event streams and presenting a correlated view of the situation applications are in, APM can reduce false alarms and more rapidly drive root-cause. APM’s ROI in 2014 will be improved application availability and performance – getting more done with less.
VP Product Management and Marketing, Nastel Technologies
The need to do more with less, as scarce IT resources are asked to continue to provide high availability, improve efficiencies and speed up time to market. This is where APM comes in, collecting and analyzing metrics that will support an amplified feedback loop back to App Dev and Operations for performance improvements and stabilization. Follow the classic management philosophy of what you want to improve you measure and what you measure you improve, APM will do just that.
Director of Enterprise Application Services at the Auto Club Group and Founder of the APM Strategies Group on LinkedIn.
CIO’s, and CEO’s, will need APM in 2014 to further drive cost and inefficiency out of the business, while improving customer experience. Lean (too lean?) organizations risk reaching a negative tipping point with deeper staff reductions, jeopardizing business operations, client commitments and compliance mandates. Instead, millions in potential savings can be realized by shifting staff (as mentioned in 14 APM Predications for 2014) to roles focused on improving application performance and stability, while simultaneously driving bottlenecks and delivery inconsistencies from the infrastructure. Just as a sales person has to deliver revenue exceeding her compensation and business costs, IT teams, using APM, can provide savings covering their costs, plus so much more.
Business Systems Performance Consultant
The Business needs to make sure that IT is aligned to its outcomes, and it’s not the tail wagging the dog. IT needs to show value for money in its operations; the best way to do this is keep the employees productive by keeping applications running optimally. APM gives you this.
Managing Director, APMSolutions
As part of a performance analytics and decision support (PADS) framework, APM helps enterprises and service providers drive customer ROI objectives of reducing cost, enhancing productivity and generating incremental revenue streams.
Technology Analyst, Tech-Tonics
6. INCREASED NUMBER OF APPLICATIONS
Implementing an effective APM platform will become even more critical in 2014 because of the rapidly expanding array of applications which organizations will incorporate into their day-to-day operations in the coming year. These applications will, range from Cloud-based mobile enterprise applications to support key business functions to software that captures data collected from remote sensors and controls the operation of remote devices associated with the new world of the “Internet of Things”. Monitoring and measuring application performance in a centralized fashion to optimize the responsiveness and effectiveness of this fragmented application ecosystem will be essential to success.
Managing Director of THINKstrategies and Founder of the Cloud Computing Showplace
7. DISTRIBUTED APPLICATIONS
Applications no longer live on an Island – they are increasingly scattered, highly distributed and depend on a wide range of components working together. Getting applications to run optimally is an extremely difficult task. Unfortunately, inefficiencies or delays can exist anywhere in the app or along the delivery chain causing it to exhibit unique behaviors at various times and scale. APM can help identify the source of poor application performance with inefficiencies in the internal components of your applications and how they consume system resources.
VP Marketing and Products, Riverbed
As applications become more widely distributed, performance problems are likely to be more common, not less common, but you won’t hear that from your xAAS vendors. The one solution you still have at your disposal is APM, as APM solutions have changed with the times and allow you to take charge and monitor application performance regardless of who is running your application or where it is being housed.
Director of Product Management, WildPackets
There has been a ton of hype surrounding the cloud over the years, but this year we’ll finally reach a point where concrete cloud use cases will become a reality. In fact, a recent SolarWinds survey found that enterprise IT pros now consider cloud computing to be the number one most “disruptive” technology. In this case, “disruptive” means causing significant challenges for IT pros who are trying to navigate potentially huge changes in how they do their jobs. The cloud adds an entirely new computing paradigm IT admins have to manage, ranging from SaaS application management to Amazon Web Services to website hosting. Each of these types of cloud implementation demands a different set of tools and skills that can overwhelm an IT department’s staff and resources. However, the thing that remains constant is that the application survives; it just runs in a different way, on different resources or with different management options. By focusing on getting deep visibility into application performance that is then linked to the underlying infrastructure, IT professionals will be able to remain relevant wherever applications are running.
Principal, Product Marketing, SolarWinds
While APM has been a nice-to-have solution for on-premise applications, the rapid adoption of cloud services has made APM a necessity as it’s easier than ever for customers to switch to a competitor’s offering. Monitoring applications that traverse both environments and troubleshooting their performance problems is an intricate challenge best solved by a modern APM solution that includes advanced analytics. The ability to automatically mine 100,000 simultaneous metrics in real time is key to quickly and accurately finding anomalies that may be indicators of impending issues.
VP Product Marketing, CA Technologies
Everything about business is becoming on-demand, from the infrastructure we use, to the software we run, to the teams who manage it all. Companies are working to make the shift, but in the process, realizing that these highly flexible “black box” environments abstract a lot of detail from the people who need to make sure they are performing as expected. If you can’t effectively diagnose the problem, how can you ever fix (or improve) it? Today’s APM-as-a-Service solutions address this challenge for the enterprise – enabling speed to resolution, high service levels for customers and optimal performance, regardless of whether the application is contained completely in the cloud, in the closet or some combination of the two.
Cloud pricing models, and the resultant proliferation of what have previously been seen as large enterprise applications, mean that more and more small and medium enterprises are availing of complex distributed solutions, but do not always have the resources required for their discovery, monitoring, and diagnostics. It is perhaps ironic that solutions to these issues can be found in the very technological advances that have contributed to them, in particular Cloud/APMSaaS.
Information Development Manager, IBM Cloud and Smarter Infrastructure
In 2014, APM can play a more powerful role than it has in the past. As applications continue to serve larger and more critical audiences, and deployment models move to where scalability and cloud converge, the integration of APM and cloud resource allocation will be an important factor. The intelligence collected by the APM solution can be used to drive, and ultimately automate, decisions about deployment patterns and optimization. This is where APM can not only inform us about application performance, but actually improve it.
GM, Performance Monitoring, Dell Software
The cloud offers a dynamic environment where you can spin up entire applications or just portions of applications. Cloud monitors can tell you how much cloud you are using, but you still need APM to tell you how your application is performing in and across the cloud by providing end-user experience monitoring and end-to-end diagnosis of problems.
RTI Product Manager, OC Systems
Platform as a Service (PaaS) offers new ways to support and deliver applications by leveraging cloud technology. It still enables the same activities involved with development and deployment that we have always practiced in IT, but with the cost, agility and scalability benefits of the cloud. However, it’s important to remember that just because you are deploying your application in the cloud doesn’t mean you no longer have to worry about its performance. In fact, APM becomes much more important when it comes to PaaS because you have less control of the underlying infrastructure.
Karen Tegan Padir
CTO, Progress Software
In 2014, mission-critical applications like SAP, Oracle and Microsoft Dynamics will be virtualized at a faster pace than they have ever been. Along with the trend of virtualizing mission-critical applications, is the need for faster and more accurate diagnosis and troubleshooting so administrators can quickly understand where the bottleneck lies – whether a slowdown is in the application or in the virtualization platform. Today, every organization is looking to do more with less, so IT performance management will continue to be measured by business value. We are seeing that organizations will need to fully align performance management solutions with their IT strategy. Performance management solutions that enable IT agility, virtualization, end-user satisfaction and operations efficiency will be in demand during 2014 and beyond.
CEO, eG Innovations
11. SOFTWARE DEFINED DATA CENTERS
While cloud and virtualization have added layers of complexity to IT architectures, the rise of software-defined data centers in particular is going to be a game changer over the next year as major players continue to push forward with these initiatives. Without insight into these emerging, hyper-dynamic architectures, adoption is likely to be slower than it might otherwise, or be at considerable risk. As organizations explore the benefits of software-defined data centers, cross-tier and architectural performance monitoring solutions that deliver the scale and visibility required to manage these environments will be in high demand.
SVP of Marketing & Business Development, ExtraHop
Why do you need APM in 2014? Mobile apps! Today’s APM strategy primarily focuses on monitoring web application transactions. With the rapid growth of mobile devices, businesses are starting to provide mobile versions (apps) of these applications. The proliferation of mobile business apps will force IT teams to monitor these mobile apps for availability, response time, and performance. APM for mobile apps will need to present an end-to-end transaction view of the application, starting from the mobile device to the transaction being executed on the application infrastructure. Such mobile APM tools will cater not only to IT operations and DevOps teams but also to the mobile apps development team by helping to ensure that performance and response are built into the product from design.
VP Product Management, ManageEngine
By the end of 2014 the number of mobile Internet users will surpass the number of desktop Internet users, which means it is more important than ever to have an APM solution that can provide an end-to-end perspective on application performance. The challenge of delivering a quality mobile experience lies in the sheer variety of mobile devices (both form factors and operating systems) and bandwidth speeds. In 2014, APM tools will be required to have first class support for both iOS and Android, providing performance monitoring, crash reporting, correlation to server-side requests, and audience demographics.
Developer Evangelist, AppDynamics
According to new data from comScore, one-third of all online and app traffic at the top 10 retailers is now mobile. We expect to see this trend accelerate in 2014 not only for commerce, but for sites and apps in all industries. This means that the network will have increased impact on application performance. To fully gage its impact and release well-performing applications, you need a robust preproduction APM solution complete with virtualized load, network and services. Otherwise, you risk jeopardizing not just the performance of one application, but the performance of your entire IT infrastructure as poor mobile performance disproportionately impacts all end users.
With the growing adoption of mobility, enterprises will be moving business-critical functions to mobile apps. This means IT teams will have to ensure flawless execution of these apps, just like they do for web applications today. The complexities of mobile apps, however, are more pronounced as there are many devices/OS, varying carriers/networks and different Service/Cloud API’s, which makes mobile performance management challenging. Mobile APM addresses these issues and enables businesses to deliver superior user experience, which ultimately translates to increased user engagement, employee productivity and increased bottom line.
Marketing Manager, Crittercism
The BYOD tsunami in 2013 made great demands of our legacy infrastructure and this is set to continue in 2014. SDN might ultimately provide the answers, but for now networks need to cope with a tripling of the end user community in terms of connected devices. Ensuring application performance across multiple concurrent devices demands insight and network emulation used as a constituent part of APM means reality can be tested then improved. My advice: Know what can go wrong and what works best before going live – use APM and emulation NOW!
Pre-sales Technologist, iTrinegy
14. INCREASED STRAIN ON THE NETWORK
A quick read through the top stories from this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) highlights the fact that workers today are more connected than ever before and the number of networked devices they’ll be bringing on premise is only going to climb in coming years. While a laptop and a smartphone used to encapsulate the network drawing power of most employees, today we are finding that the average worker is carrying with them more than four devices that will be tapping into your corporate network. Tablets, wearables, smart watches and other forms of technology are forcing companies to pay closer attention to the amount of bandwidth being consumed and making a dedicated APM solution a must have. Employees have become accustomed to using their personal devices and working the way they live. Because there is no turning back from this trend, it all comes down to how organizations react to and manage this new reality that will dictate whether they are successful or not.
EVP Customer Solutions, Ipswitch
A number of new enterprise technologies have emerged that can put a tremendous strain on the existing network in terms of both bandwidth and performance, including enterprise-class Voice over IP (VOIP) telephony solutions, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solutions, and enterprise collaboration tools. As technologies such as software-defined networks (SDN) and hybrid private-public enterprise clouds become more prevalent, microbursts, timeouts and protocol errors, are likely to become more rather than less pronounced, while the source will also be harder to determine. To combat these disruptions, it is imperative for IT departments to get a handle on what’s going on in their networks through dedicated “network visibility fabrics” that provide instrumentation at key points in the network, exposing the full set of network packets that underlie these causative issues.
Sr. Director, Marketing (Endace), Emulex
15. FASTER NETWORK SPEEDS
You might be tempted to think that a significant increase in network speed, like a 10x improvement going from a 1G to a 10G distribution layer, would reduce the need for APM. After all, your network is now much faster, so your applications should be performing much better, right? But faster networks don’t always translate to faster application performance. Faster networks are like a bigger closet – you’ll always fill the available space. And very often faster networks are quickly filled by new data types and applications, like VoIP and telepresence, which take precedence over “traditional” application traffic due to the real-time nature of the traffic. So if a network upgrade is being driven by a demand for real-time services, it’s quite likely that you’ll need to pay even more attention to APM on your faster network, not less.
Director of Product Management, WildPackets
Thanks to APM Digest for the article.