Welcome!

FinTech Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Mehdi Daoudi

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog

@DevOpsSummit: Article

Can Wire Data Be #APM? | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps #AI #ML #Monitoring

In general terms APM is simply 'the monitoring and management of the performance and availability of software applications'

Can Wire Data Be APM?

I recently read something – a blog, a tweet, a LinkedIn article perhaps – describing the use of wire data to analyze application performance. I remember that the author’s use of the term “APM” in this context caused one reader to comment, complaining that “you can’t call wire data APM.” This was around the same time I referred casually to Dynatrace’s wire data offering (Data Center Real User Monitoring, or DC RUM) as both “APM for IT Operations” and “probe-based APM.” So that complaint has stuck with me, prompting me to ask – and offer an answer to – the question.

It depends, of course, on answers to related questions. How do you define APM? What role does APM play in your organization? What APM insights can wire data provide? Let’s take a brief look at each of these.

What is APM to you?
In very general terms (Wikipedia is great for this), APM is simply “the monitoring and management of the performance and availability of software applications.” This is accomplished by measuring user response times, transaction volume (load), and resource consumption, with correlation to help identify system bottlenecks. But of course that description is too vague to be of much practical use. For more depth and breadth, we can turn to Gartner’s recent update to its 2010 definition of APM. Collapsed from the original five, Gartner now identifies three functional dimensions. In brief, these are:

  1. Digital experience monitoring – understanding the availability and performance of real and synthetic users.
  2. Application discovery, tracing and diagnostics – discovering application services, tracing transactions through the infrastructure, and deep insight into code execution. (This new dimension used to be three separate but interlinked dimensions.)
  3. Application analytics – automating the isolation and analysis of performance bottlenecks and fault domains.

Beyond the helpful simplification of the dimensions, there’s another interesting change to Gartner’s definition; it now explicitly calls out requirements for specific technology platforms. Included are web and mobile, HTTP, Java and .NET; by omission, all others are excluded.

“Traditional” APM architectures
To some degree, this narrowing (or perhaps clarification) of APM’s scope to focus to web stacks reflects a general market reality, if not a vendor-driven market definition; every APM vendor supports these stacks, and most don’t venture far beyond. The standardization and openness of these platforms encouraged development of compelling solutions to meet the monitoring needs of modern customer-facing web applications. Whether an offering’s pedigree can be traced to development tools or production monitoring, there’s no doubt that the performance visibility and diagnostic insights have helped many IT organizations modernize their operations, enable DevOps initiatives, and accelerate the shift from providing infrastructure and capacity to delivering business-oriented application services.

At least for mission-critical web apps.

Mission critical? Or vendor critical?
There’s a disconnect, however, that one of my colleagues helpfully calls “the myth of mission critical.” I see that myth as having two facets.

First, at a high level, it implies that some apps are not critical, and therefore don’t warrant monitoring. Maybe it’s a matter of degree – critical vs. important. But if an application isn’t at least important, why do you still have it? And if it is important, shouldn’t you be monitoring it?

The second facet is vendor-driven; APM vendors have steered the mission-critical discussion to web apps, the “apps of engagement” that are revenue-producing for many businesses. Distilling the messaging, one might conclude that “web apps are mission-critical; non-web apps are not.” This sounds like a spin on Maslow’s law of the hammer, illustrated nicely by Grace Witherell: “When all you have is a hammer, only nails are problems.”

I’d venture to say that your Oracle EBS and Forms-based apps, your SAP ERP applications, your Epic EHR and other custom thick-client applications that might be delivered via Citrix, all running core parts of your business – these and many others like them are probably critical as well.

But these “other” (i.e., non-web) apps run on a diverse set of often proprietary or closed platforms, without the instrumentation interfaces that have facilitated agent-based APM solutions for Java and .NET.

APM for IT operations
APM solutions often – always, maybe – support many user roles. Gartner’s recent Magic Quadrant for APM suggests that in a few years, only 30% of APM buyers will be in IT operations, down from 60% today; most of the other buyers will be application support and development. This doesn’t reflect a loss of interest on the part of IT operations, but rather an expanding audience of stakeholders – some of whom will have diverging interests.

One dominant example of these different interests is reflected in the need for code-level insight, a component of the second of the three APM dimensions. Application development and support teams likely need this, at least for applications built or customized and maintained in-house. But for IT operations teams, code-level insight may be less of a priority; common operational goals such as meeting service quality SLAs, reducing MTTR, and controlling costs can be easily accomplished by other APM capabilities. And the lack of code-level monitoring doesn’t preclude effective DevOps collaboration; inter-tier transaction monitoring and parameter capture help fill the gap.

Wire data
Wire data simply refers to an approach to gathering information – about performance, availability, usage, security, users, applications, networks, and much more. The type of information and the resulting value depends on the analytics applied to the data. Unlike agent technology, however, wire data is platform agnostic, unconcerned with the source application architecture. Instead, wire data relies on protocol decodes to be relevant. First tier examples include HTTP, SAPGUI, Oracle Forms, Epic, and Citrix ICA, while back end examples include SOAP, various forms of SQL, WebSphere MQ, CORBA, and more.

Analytics transforms this interpreted wire data into useful insights, and at Dynatrace, we’ve built a wire data analytics platform (DC RUM) that focuses on delivering application and user performance insights – in fact, mirroring many of the core capabilities defined by Gartner’s APM dimensions. These include:

  • EUE monitoring to help prioritize IT actions based on business impact
  • Automatic discovery to maintain visibility in increasingly dynamic environments
  • Automatic identification of users, transaction names and parameters
  • Robust analytics to automatically isolate fault domains and break out response time components
  • Detailed analysis of network performance and its impact on user experience

For an expansion of these wire data capabilities, you can read my blog “Where APM Agents Fear to Tread.”

In fact, the primary limitation of a wire data approach to APM might simply be the lack of code-level insights; in its place, however, wire data can offer enhanced network infrastructure visibility as well as enterprise-wide application coverage; for IT operations teams, that’s often a reasonable – if not desirable – tradeoff.

A positive-sum game
In the end, however, this isn’t a zero-sum game. Real benefits can be achieved through multiple perspectives of performance. An agent’s inside-out perspective – with deep code-level insights – gains new insights with the outside-in perspective of wire data, with its greater network awareness. The point is not to argue the merits of a specific collection technology, but to offer a multi-faceted solution that meets the needs of multiple stakeholders by covering your entire application portfolio.

At Dynatrace, we’re redefining monitoring to mean every user, every app, everywhere. This doesn’t mean separate products for different environments; it means a unified and modular AI-driven solution that offers comprehensive coverage for enterprise, web and newstack environments.

So, can wire data be APM? Some APM vendors want to argue that it can’t, but it might be that they’ve got only hammers to sell.

The post Can wire data be APM? appeared first on Dynatrace blog – monitoring redefined.

More Stories By Gary Kaiser

Gary Kaiser is a Subject Matter Expert in Network Performance Analytics at Dynatrace, responsible for DC RUM’s technical marketing programs. He is a co-inventor of multiple performance analysis features, and continues to champion the value of network performance analytics. He is the author of Network Application Performance Analysis (WalrusInk, 2014).

@ThingsExpo Stories
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi LTD., will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City. Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) will be featuring the Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) portfolio. This is the industry’s only offering that allows organizations to bring together object storage, file sync and share, cloud storage gateways, and sophisticated search and...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs ofte...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry’s single source for the cloud. Fusion’s advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud...
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs oft...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud computing technologies. Ge...
The 21st International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
SYS-CON Events announced today that WineSOFT will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Based in Seoul and Irvine, WineSOFT is an innovative software house focusing on internet infrastructure solutions. The venture started as a bootstrap start-up in 2010 by focusing on making the internet faster and more powerful. WineSOFT’s knowledge is based on the expertise of TCP/IP, VPN, SSL, peer-to-peer, mob...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real r...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Carbonite will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Carbonite protects your entire IT footprint with the right level of protection for each workload, ensuring lower costs and dependable solutions with DoubleTake and Evault.
Existing Big Data solutions are mainly focused on the discovery and analysis of data. The solutions are scalable and highly available but tedious when swapping in and swapping out occurs in disarray and thrashing takes place. The resolution for thrashing through machine learning algorithms and support nomenclature is through simple techniques. Organizations that have been collecting large customer data are increasingly seeing the need to use the data for swapping in and out and thrashing occurs ...
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that A&I Solutions named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded over 15 years ago in 1999, A&I Solutions continues to provide companies with premier integrated enterprise solutions. By partnering with the trusted and proven solutions of leading technology companies, our customers are assured high performance levels across all IT environments including:...