Rethinking the APM Paradigm: A New Vision for Enterprise Application Monitoring

Today’s traditional APM systems cannot keep up with tomorrow’s processes

Today’s computing is overly complex; continually pushing boundaries and understanding for even the most sophisticated minds. And while modern computing opens up innovative new experiences and capabilities, the advent of cloud computing and its distributed and ephemeral nature has also made it extremely difficult for IT managers to keep up to date with their infrastructure stacks.

This reality has taken shape so quickly and with such vengeance that Gartner estimates that by 2021, enterprises will only be able to accurately monitor 20% of their applications. In a digital world, that’s like a department head saying he knows what’s going on in only 20% of your factories or storefronts. Twenty percent, regardless of industry or circumstance, is both unacceptable and a serious risk to business continuity and success.

APM helps, but not much

Businesses need to know what the other 80% are doing. Unfortunately, the traditional application performance management (APM) tools that businesses typically rely on are no longer up to the job for three reasons.

First, the modern app suite is vastly different today than it was a short time ago. The monolithic, custom-built ERPs, CRMs and other enterprise systems that were the hallmark of large enterprises a decade ago are giving way to cloud-based, out-of-the-box and as-a-service solutions, constantly updated with iterative DevOps and agile development techniques. .

Second, most traditional APM tools rely on built-in monitoring agents installed on the monitored system, or they need code-level insertion tactics to monitor. Either way, this kind of overhead is unsustainable at today’s enterprise scale and doesn’t work when applications are launched in containerized cloud environments. It also does not account for the move to more out-of-the-box or as-a-service solutions built without APM data outputs.

Finally, the very infrastructure company it operates on looks nothing like it did even five years ago. Most companies have migrated (or are in the process of migrating) to a cloud, multi-cloud or at least hybrid infrastructure. The advent of the cloud and the ephemeral nature of microservices and containers mean that application topology is very different at 8am when only the earliest employees are in the office, and then at 10am when the remaining employees arrive. . This unpredictability is a nightmare for APM tools, which at best now only offer a bird’s-eye view of the entire IT enterprise; performance management now relies as much on the infrastructure as on the application.

So what needs to change?

Traditional APM tools are battleships in the age of asymmetric warfare: highly specialized and designed for a single mission, but at the cost of the flexibility to adapt to modern environments as needed. We need carrier groups, not battleship armadas.

The ideal APM solution for modern enterprises is an “agentless” or “agent everywhere” approach. A modern solution must holistically consider how an application interacts with other applications. For example, how does online ordering generate data and feed into warehouse fulfillment tickets? And he must understand how these applications interact with the underlying infrastructure. For example, where are the databases or applications stored and how reliable is this infrastructure?

Today’s APM solutions miss the mark, scraping only the most superficial layer of the current technology stack when they must instead understand the relationships between the deeper layers of the infrastructure and end-user experiences. Such an approach will allow enterprises to see into the remaining 80% of applications and provide the insights and automation needed to drive robust and innovative digital experiences.

However, knowing you need visibility and having it are two very different things. Fortunately, innovation within AIOps through agent and agentless technologies promises to deliver what conventional APM can no longer do.

By facilitating visibility into application layers and deploying machine learning-enabled topology mapping between infrastructure and applications, AIOps enables deeper insight into the health of critical business services than ever before. . It enables companies to regain the visibility they lost in a transient world and to be able to understand, organize and innovate with the agility they need to compete in today’s business environments. today.

It’s time to ditch traditional APM and step forward into a world enabled by AIOps. Failure to do so exposes the company to increasing risks.

—Erik Rudin