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The quest for true end-to-end application monitoring, visibility and analytics

By Ray Villeneuve, President

Last week’s news of Cisco’s $3.7 billion purchase of APM vendor AppDynamics was a welcome development. The move signals the vastly understated importance of application performance in today’s enterprise, as covered in detail by Ron Miller of TechCrunch. With the various types of applications companies deploy to run their mission-critical and not-so-mission-critical applications growing daily, the need to ensure the performance and completion of every transaction across increasingly interdependent and virtualized infrastructure is a difficult and complex process.

Application workloads now span multiple vendor technologies, in multiple different environments, and the end-user experience is reliant on all of these technologies working harmoniously together. A simple interaction such as an online banking transaction typically traverses a hybrid and legacy infrastructure environment that requires true cross-domain execution. Begging your indulgence, this simple banking transaction brings to mind the famed paddling duck metaphor: with a quick glance, you see the duck elegantly gliding across the water. However, when you look below the waterline, you see just how much work it takes for the duck to get to where it’s going. Furiously paddling, moving upstream or downstream, the duck is working the best it can under any condition. So is your IT infrastructure. So is your IT team.

It’s no wonder that the meaning of the phrase “end-to-end” in the performance monitoring realm gets lost and the term is so misused. Today’s APM and network performance management (NPM) products only offer the above water view.  They don’t support how fast and furious your IT infrastructure and teams are working on all aspects of delivering application performance to your business users. No doubt enhancing user experience, and tracing and optimizing application code and the local and wide area networks that data access traverses is critical to application performance. But enterprises also need to understand how their hard core on-prem and cloud infrastructure – we’re talking SAN, NAS, DAS, storage networks, physical and virtual servers, hyperconverged infrastructure – are working together to ensure the availability and performance of the many applications that are simultaneously competing for infrastructure resources. It’s not enough to stack an application performance monitoring solution on top of your disparate data center infrastructure sources and not have it understand how your on-premises and cloud instances work together. APM tool visibility only extends to the VM level, as these tools clearly lack comprehensive infrastructure performance monitoring (IPM) capability.

Relying on any given infrastructure vendor’s device-specific, element-based monitoring solution is no longer adequate. You can’t end your visibility at the VM or just track application latency in the network via NPM tools. How can IT teams get true end-to-end visibility if their network and application performance solutions are blind to the infrastructure components that support the applications, or what’s underneath the waterline? What happens when the root cause is not on the surface?

It’s time to get below the waterline.

In today’s world of always-on apps and microsecond transactions, companies need true end-to-end monitoring, visibility and analytics to proactively source application and infrastructure performance problems and fixes. In order to ensure overall application performance, infrastructure management solutions must become application-centric and work across all types of infrastructure environments, including the storage systems, storage networks, and virtualized servers both on prem and in the cloud. Your applications are competing nonstop for your data center’s infrastructure. Contention for resources is everywhere in the thousands of physical and virtual elements that make up a modern data center.  This is why modern data centers need meaningful real-time insights that are automated, auto-correlated, predictive and actionable.

This brings us back to the application. The sheer volume and complexity of applications that IT teams are responsible for monitoring, troubleshooting and ensuring performance is literally beyond human comprehension. How do you capture and analyze data from every element of every piece of equipment, application and cloud provider? The answer is you can’t without modern infrastructure performance management. This requires granular data collection of all physical and virtual elements below the waterline, auto-correlation, machine learning and predictive analytics. VI’s app-centric IPM solutions process more collected infrastructure data in an hour than Twitter has amassed in its lifetime. And our customers benefit by partnering with us to help ensure application availability, optimize application performance and reduce capital costs of IT infrastructure.

Monitoring. Visibility. Analytics. Insight. You need all of it. Customers inspired us to merge with Load DynamiX, which brought us the capabilities to connect our best-in-class production performance monitoring with application workload testing for dev ops. Customers inspired us to acquire Xangati, which brings our performance management capabilities further up the stack to containers, clouds and more. Our goal is to help teams work collaboratively to assure the performance and availability of their constantly changing business-critical applications running in their hybrid infrastructure. Ultimately, it’s performance below the waterline that keeps applications – and your business – swimming gracefully.

Want to learn more about how we can help you work across your domains? Let’s talk