IT Focus Area: strategy
July 2, 2015
The 4 Key Benefits of Application Performance Management
Many enterprises have hybrid environments where they run applications in legacy systems, on-premises private clouds and public clouds. According to Skyhigh Networks, organizations run an average of 545 services in the cloud.
The hybrid environment model is becoming the standard for a number of reasons. Three big benefits are that it allows chief information officers (CIOs) to standardize their IT services, cut costs and provision applications faster.
However, when you run applications in the cloud, you give up some control over how they perform. You’re often at the mercy of internal or external cloud providers for your apps’ speed, security and availability.
But relying on others for your apps’ performance simply won’t cut it.
According to Riverbed, customers expect high availability and fast response times when they access applications, irrespective of whether they use computers, tablets or mobile devices. Your end user's experience with the services you enable is rapidly becoming critical to your company’s success.
In other words, poor user experience is bad for business.
Although many IT organizations monitor their apps’ performance, they often don’t have a clear view of what’s really happening. We’ve found that about two thirds of IT organizations are using a fragmented, teqwerchnical domain-centric approach to performance management. With this approach, it's difficult to view domain-specific events or connect the dots to see how your end-to-end services perform.
One big problem is that CIOs invest considerable resources to create performance transparency from the technical domains up to the service. However, you will achieve greater transparency if you start from the service and move down to the technical domain.
Consequently, these CIOs find themselves with a rich portfolio of tools but still can’t attain a “single pane of glass” view into their services. This can make it challenging to ensure high levels of performance and meet your service level agreements (SLAs).
As Riverbed states: “It’s your job to protect your end users’ experience—but that’s a tall order without a unified view of performance that puts your services' "health in crystal-clear focus.”
On the other hand, IT organizations that use a strategic, planned approach to monitoring need fewer tools. By implementing fewer tools — but in a deeper and broader manner — you can gain the visibility you need to proactively manage your end users’ experience. This approach will give you an enterprise-wide view of what’s happening with your apps.
Why is Application Performance Management Important?
Applications are becoming important IT services, since end users rely on them for their day-to-day tasks. This makes application performance management (APM) a key part of service performance management (SPM).
Here are four ways APM can benefit your IT organization:
1. Gain Visibility Into Apps Across Your Entire Technology Stack
When properly designed and implemented, APM will provide you with the right levels of SPM transparency. You’ll gain visibility into how your applications are performing across your entire technology stack — whether they’re located in legacy systems, private clouds or public clouds. You’ll be able to monitor app performance for all your enterprise users — regardless of where they’re located or what device they’re using.
This visibility lets you experience apps the way your end users are experiencing them. If a performance problem arises, you’ll see exactly where within your technology stack — including the network, servers, database, application code or end-user device — the bottleneck lies. With this level of diagnostic insight, you can address the technical root cause before your end users complain.
When you proactively identify issues, you can determine whether changes in your IT environment are causing degradation in services. This helps your IT organization move from being a “fire fighter” to a “fire safety and prevention specialist.”
This also improves productivity across the enterprise, as you can greatly reduce the amount of unplanned work that comes with service disruptions.
2. Make Your IT Organization More Valuable to the Business
APM’s deep insights allow IT organizations to become more service-centric. The more visibility you have into your apps, the more you can ensure that your IT services meet the business’s SLAs. For example, you can use APM to provide real-time reporting on your service level compliance, demonstrating your commitment to service delivery.
The context analytics that you gain through APM lets you measure how applications impact the business. This helps you tie service performance directly to the business’s financial results. This capability makes your IT organization more valuable - reinforcing your strategic role in employee productivity and customer engagement while also driving revenue.
APM will also provide you with visibility that allows you to make data-driven, service-based investment decisions. For example, since APM tools automatically gather performance data and track system resource utilization, you can gain deep insights into how your servers and infrastructure are consuming resources – both in and out of the cloud. This insight allows you to optimize your infrastructure spending, plan for seasonality, allocate costs and negotiate service contracts with cloud or hosting vendors.
3. Manage Your IT Costs
APM helps you manage your costs, as you can use its insights to better predict peaks and valleys in application consumption. You can also manage the capacity of your capital-intensive resources.
Taking a strategic approach to performance management and using APM tools may allow you to consolidate your technology-domain-centric tools. This helps eliminate redundancies and the need for specialized skills. It also can boost your efficiencies.
4. Take a Proactive Approach to IT Management
Extending your performance strategy into your service/application design and development phases can enhance your IT organization's proactive management capabilities. For example, APM shows developers how their code is performing — whether they use agile or waterfall design processes. This helps them meet the business’s desired performance levels before they deploy apps.
APM can also help your IT operations team. For example, when they receive alerts about slowdowns in production, they canview up-to-the-second diagnosticsthat can help them troubleshoot. They can use these diagnostics to collaboratively resolve the problem without pointing fingers or assigning blame.
How to Get Started With Application Performance Management
When you take a strategic approach to service performance, you may want to consider: incorporating APM monitoring capabilities into the design of your services and utilizing APM monitoring tools during the design and development of your services.
This approach will help your development team ensure their services perform as expected. It will also speed their revision cycles, so they can deploy services faster. And finally, it ensures that the service is ready to transition to operations.
How is your IT organization delivering services today? Are you using a proactive or reactive approach to ensuring application performance? How do you measure your applications’ impact on business results to make your IT organization more valuable?