Finding the Right Solution for your Application Performance Needs

Application size and complexity can dictate what tool works best

When it comes to managing application and infrastructure performance there’s no one-size-fits-all approach that covers small, medium and large organizations. As my colleague Pam Snaith pointed out in yesterday’s post on Infrastructure Management, larger organizations with thousands of servers and virtualization need a solution that can handle the complexity, whereas a smaller IT shop could manage its needs with an off-the-shelf product.

No one size fits allThe same line of thinking applies to the Application Performance Management space as well. Small startups with a few servers, minimal end-user traffic and very little dedicated IT management staff can sufficiently monitor application performance with a lower-cost tool such as Nagios.  As complexity increases and the business grows, a service such as Nimsoft can continue to keep tabs on applications for those organizations with limited human and capital resources. Like large corporations, these medium-sized businesses need to ensure a great end-user experience and deliver the expected application performance, but must balance those needs with its capital and human resources.

For large organizations like TNT Express, Grand Canyon University and Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) of the world, where an application outage or poor end-user experience can mean big-time revenue loss, point products and freeware tools that do not integrate and cannot deliver a 360-degree view of performance and end-user experience aren’t going to be sufficient to ensure service levels are met.

The IT groups at these large organizations must have insight into how every transaction is performing, how servers and databases are impacting performance, how the network delivery layer affects end-user experience, and how cloud delivery services are performing. Plus, they may need deeper insight into legacy mainframe application performance. A problem in any one of these areas can cause slowdowns and outages in critical applications. To fix such issues promptly, systems and application operations teams need to be able to quickly pinpoint the problem to find a resolution.

Large organizations have a number of options when it comes to APM products that claim to keep an eye on critical applications. My colleague Melissa Sargeant outlines the various options –freemium, niche, multi-product and next generation – in this post. While some of the niche or freemium options may seem attractive for those balancing price over performance, it’s important to ask yourself these questions when deciding if you have the right APM solution for your organization:

  • How do you know when you have a problem with an internal or external application?
  • What do you do when you have identified a problem?
  • How do you know you are meeting service level commitments for these applications?
  • How do you resolve issues associated with your applications? How are they prioritized (based on business impact)?
  • How do you know when the application is being negatively affected by the underlying network or infrastructure?
  • How do you measure end-user experience at times when there is no real user traffic?
  • How do you manage performance of customer-facing applications that access mainframe data?

If you’re unsure of the answer to any of these, then your organization requires a next-generation APM solution that can provide visibility into all facets of application performance and end-user experience. Such a system will help assure application health and performance as well as allow your IT staff to focus less on monitoring and more on innovation and business growth.

How do you ensure critical application performance and end-user experience? Leave a comment below or tweet us at @CASvcAssur.

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Jason Meserve

About Jason Meserve

Jason Meserve has been working in high-tech for over 15 years. He built his tech resume in the 10 years he spent as a journalist at Network World, where he created everything from articles, features, blogs, videos and podcasts. Mr. Meserve is currently a Principal Product Marketing Manager at CA Technologies where he focuses on Service Assurance solutions including Application Performance Management. Mr. Meserve has also held marketing and editorial positions at Constant Contact and Application Development Trends.
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