IT Management

Application Performance Management (APM) has come a long way from the once relatively straightforward task of managing hardware infrastructure to assure high availability and utilization. Today, managing the data center, the associated infrastructure and applications are only pieces of the much more complicated task of Service Availability and Performance Management (SAPM). SAPM has spread to encompass five dimensions of management focus, all of which must include elements of security, governance, and compliance:

• Discovery and modeling
• End-user monitoring
• Transaction tracking
• Diagnostics
• Analytics.

SAPM represents a highly dynamic environment where infrastructure availability and reliable operation are givens, while the paths for access to and delivery of services change with virtually every transaction and user accessing the service. Management is further complicated by near-continuous business- and user-driven demands for service enhancements.

A continuous evolution in environmental and operational complexity combines with flat headcounts to drive increasingly automated SAPM solutions. Automated processes improve productivity and preserve and leverage existing knowledge, freeing scarce expert staff for other tasks, while reducing errors and downtime.

Classic IT architectures are being replaced by increasingly virtualized environments. The virtualized servers, storage, network, applications, and services delivered via a cloud Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) both drive and enable a management shift from a focus on availability to proactive infrastructure reassignment and reallocation to meet business goals.

The managers responsible for achieving organizational and enterprise goals know their success hinges on the performance of services and applications, along with the sophisticated products and technologies supporting them in the data center, the cloud, and at the consumer edge. Doing this successfully requires visibility and management control over infrastructure, products, and technologies. It also directly impacts and involves information technology, architectures, and operations in fundamental, far-reaching ways. CIOs and CTOs must respond to this interest, which is why CIOs need to better understand APM.

Here are the top 10 benefits of understanding and properly applying APM:

10. Reduce guesswork. Application service delivery is a nightmare where the end-user experience depends on the interaction of numerous distributed elements connected via a transient, variable path. Management must rely on a combination of discrete measurements and informed speculation about immeasurable interactions executed across the five dimensions of APM.

9. Add capacity as you need and want it. Virtualized infrastructure allows faster, easier replacement when devices (service, storage, etc.) fail. This means better resource utilization and lower dependency on physical devices reducing the need for backup infrastructure. When infrastructure problems do occur, repair is possible with minimal performance impact.

8. Respond yesterday to avoid today’s problems. Proactive monitoring reveals potential problems before they affect customers. Organizational walls, which separated development, operations, and administration, are rapidly crumbling as interaction and interdependencies increase. Changes in behavior and anomalies foreshadowing potential problems are detected sooner, so changes can be made to avoid service disruptions and slowdowns.

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