Welcome!

Eclipse Authors: Liz McMillan, David H Deans, JP Morgenthal, Mano Marks, Yeshim Deniz

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
DX World EXPO, LLC., a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution and join Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader, Sergey Grebnov, in his session at @ThingsExpo, for an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
"The Striim platform is a full end-to-end streaming integration and analytics platform that is middleware that covers a lot of different use cases," explained Steve Wilkes, Founder and CTO at Striim, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, will examine the regulations and provide insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calligo, an innovative cloud service provider offering mid-sized companies the highest levels of data privacy and security, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calligo offers unparalleled application performance guarantees, commercial flexibility and a personalised support service from its globally located cloud plat...
What sort of WebRTC based applications can we expect to see over the next year and beyond? One way to predict development trends is to see what sorts of applications startups are building. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arin Sime, founder of WebRTC.ventures, discussed the current and likely future trends in WebRTC application development based on real requests for custom applications from real customers, as well as other public sources of information.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
While the focus and objectives of IoT initiatives are many and diverse, they all share a few common attributes, and one of those is the network. Commonly, that network includes the Internet, over which there isn't any real control for performance and availability. Or is there? The current state of the art for Big Data analytics, as applied to network telemetry, offers new opportunities for improving and assuring operational integrity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Frey, Vice President of S...
"We provide IoT solutions. We provide the most compatible solutions for many applications. Our solutions are industry agnostic and also protocol agnostic," explained Richard Han, Head of Sales and Marketing and Engineering at Systena America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We are focused on SAP running in the clouds, to make this super easy because we believe in the tremendous value of those powerful worlds - SAP and the cloud," explained Frank Stienhans, CTO of Ocean9, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"DX encompasses the continuing technology revolution, and is addressing society's most important issues throughout the entire $78 trillion 21st-century global economy," said Roger Strukhoff, Conference Chair. "DX World Expo has organized these issues along 10 tracks with more than 150 of the world's top speakers coming to Istanbul to help change the world."
"We've been engaging with a lot of customers including Panasonic, we've been involved with Cisco and now we're working with the U.S. government - the Department of Homeland Security," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The financial services market is one of the most data-driven industries in the world, yet it’s bogged down by legacy CPU technologies that simply can’t keep up with the task of querying and visualizing billions of records. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Karthik Lalithraj, a Principal Solutions Architect at Kinetica, discussed how the advent of advanced in-database analytics on the GPU makes it possible to run sophisticated data science workloads on the same database that is housing the rich...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Massive Networks mission is simple. To help your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions. Improve your customer's experience with outstanding connections to your cloud.
"MobiDev is a Ukraine-based software development company. We do mobile development, and we're specialists in that. But we do full stack software development for entrepreneurs, for emerging companies, and for enterprise ventures," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, discussed the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insights from the vast t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EnterpriseTech has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. EnterpriseTech is a professional resource for news and intelligence covering the migration of high-end technologies into the enterprise and business-IT industry, with a special focus on high-tech solutions in new product development, workload management, increased effic...