|By Rich Collier||
|March 1, 2014 10:15 AM EST||
Application Performance Management (APM) grew out of the movement to better align IT with real business concerns. Instead of monitoring a lot of disparate components, such as servers and switches, APM would provide improved visibility into mission-critical application performance and the user experience. Today, APM solutions help IT track end-to-end application response time and troubleshoot coding errors across application components that have an impact on performance.
APM has a rightful place in the arsenal of monitoring tools that IT uses to keep its applications and systems up and running. However, today's APM solutions have some serious gaps and challenges when it comes to providing IT with the entire application performance picture.
Most APM solutions provide minimal information about the hardware and network components underlying application performance, other than showing which components are involved in each part of the transaction. Those that do a better job usually require users to shift to another screen or monitoring system to get more hardware visibility. As with the blind men touching different parts of an elephant, this approach makes it difficult to correlate hardware performance with all the other components driving the application.
The Virtual, Distributed Environment
Most of today's APM solutions were created before virtualization, the cloud, and complex, composite applications took off in the IT environment. With virtual machines migrating back and forth among physical servers at different times of the day or week, and applications dependent on scores of components and cloud services, APM vendors are hard-pressed to provide visibility into the entire scope of a single application.
As 24 by 7 by 365 uptime becomes increasingly critical to business success, enterprises need to be able to predict and address issues BEFORE they affect the business, rather than after. APM has had mixed success in this area. A recent survey by TRAC Research found that of organizations deploying APM solutions, 60 percent report a success rate of less than half in identifying performance issues before they have an impact on end users.
Enter Predictive Analytics for IT
Filling these APM gaps is how Big Data and predictive analytics for IT can play a significant, highly beneficial role in IT's efforts to maintain application performance. Today, when IT encounters performance issues, it typically has to collect its server, storage, network, and APM folks into a war room to search through mountains of hardware and APM logs, and correlate information manually to isolate the root cause. This resource-intensive process can frequently take hours or even days.
IT has lots of alerts and thresholds to analyze, but those are only as good as the knowledge, experience, and insight of the IT folks who configured them. Just because a server surpassed its CPU utilization threshold doesn't mean that event had anything to do with the root cause of an application issue. Often the real issue is hidden deep in all the delicate interactions among multiple hardware and software components, and may not be reflected in individual thresholds. The same TRAC Research study shows an average of 46.2 hours spent by IT each month in these war rooms searching for root cause. Even more depressing, the root cause is often not found, so IT just reboots everything in the hope that it all works until the same problem rears its ugly head again.
Predictive analytics take over where APM leaves off, harnessing third-generation machine learning and Big Data analysis techniques to efficiently plow through mountains of log data. They discover all the behavior patterns and interrelationships between the IT software and hardware components driving today's mission-critical applications. Over several hours or days, the best solutions baseline the normal behavior of all those components, relationships, and events and use complex algorithms to detect any anomalies that are the early warning signs of developing performance issues. Better yet, because the analytics understand the chain of events involved in the developing anomaly, IT support staff are immediately provided with not only the alert that something is going wrong, but also the behavior of every component involved. This information can shave hours or even days off those war room scenarios. For example, thanks to a predictive analytics for IT solution, a major retailer was able to trace periodic gift card application outages to a misconfigured VLAN. Similarly, a predictive analytics solution reduced - from six hours in the war room to ten minutes - the time it took to diagnose a financial content management performance issue.
Another advantage of predictive analytics solutions is that because they self-learn the normal behavior patterns of underlying components, they drastically reduce the educated guessing that usually goes along with IT staff identifying and setting thresholds against key performance. The inflexibility of these thresholds results in large numbers of false-positive alerts. But with predictive analytics, highly sophisticated algorithms compute the probability of certain behaviors and can therefore generate much more accurate alerts. Some users of predictive analytics solutions have called them the Donald Rumsfelds of IT management tools because they point IT to infrastructure issues they never even knew existed and never looked for. Rumsfeld called these the "unknown unknowns."
However, it is in their ability to be "predictive" that these advanced analytics solutions really shine. By detecting small anomalies early in the game, predictive analytics can alert IT to performance issues and provide enough information to address their root cause before IT or application users even notice them. This can have a dramatic effect on application uptime and performance and a direct impact on user satisfaction and even enterprise revenue. In the case of the document management application, predictive analytics discovered a developing performance issue, and its root cause, the night before it would have affected users placing the application under load on Monday morning.
APM tools have their place in the enterprise, but predictive analytics solutions for IT can kick the effectiveness of those and other IT monitoring tools up a notch by detecting, tracing, and predicting performance issues and their root cause long before any IT war room can.
- TRAC Research, March 4, 2013: "2013 Application Performance Management Spectrum" report.
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context with p...
Nov. 30, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 446
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Nov. 30, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 447
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
Nov. 30, 2015 12:00 AM EST Reads: 449
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Nov. 29, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 487
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Nov. 29, 2015 01:00 PM EST Reads: 358
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
Nov. 29, 2015 12:45 PM EST Reads: 422
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
Nov. 29, 2015 12:30 PM EST Reads: 427
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Nov. 29, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 529
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Nov. 29, 2015 11:45 AM EST Reads: 333
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Nov. 29, 2015 09:45 AM EST Reads: 454
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
Nov. 29, 2015 09:15 AM EST Reads: 347
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
Nov. 29, 2015 08:45 AM EST Reads: 232
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
Nov. 29, 2015 08:00 AM EST Reads: 282
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Nov. 29, 2015 07:00 AM EST Reads: 501
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Nov. 29, 2015 06:45 AM EST Reads: 745
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Nov. 29, 2015 06:00 AM EST Reads: 561
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Nov. 29, 2015 06:00 AM EST Reads: 377
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
Nov. 29, 2015 05:00 AM EST Reads: 465
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Nov. 29, 2015 04:30 AM EST Reads: 489
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at Built.io, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
Nov. 29, 2015 04:00 AM EST Reads: 381