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The Butterfly Effect Within IT

A Small Innocuous Code Change

The "Butterfly Effect" theoretically describes a hurricane's formation being contingent on whether or not a distant butterfly had flapped its wings weeks before. This highlights a sensitive dependence on environmental conditions where a small change at one place (Dev Env) can result in large differences to a later state (Production).

Consider the possibility that a small innocuous code change could go undetected, promoted through Development & QA, and then have catastrophic effects on performance once it reaches production. The environmental variants need to be minimized and closely monitored to prevent the anomalous behavior.

Depending on transaction volume and performance characteristics there will be a certain level of noise that will need to be squelched to a volume level that can be analyzed. This is the precipice where APM intersects Capacity Management and advanced analytics opens the door to predictive modeling. The ability to ascertain how the physical and virtual environments will react to a “what if” scenario is why optimizing the application life cycle is so important.

Consider the challenge of monitoring any new application brought into the environment being similar to predicting the behavior of a new child that enters the classroom. There is a sensitive dependence on initial conditions based on their own predispositions, which creates interdependencies on future actions that can be difficult to vaticinate.

Using the same technologies in a consistent manner to manage all environments has a tremendous benefit for minimizing anomalies, just as consistent classroom management provides a framework to reduce errant student behavior.

Conclusion
I’m suggesting that expanding an APM solution to cover all environments across the application life-cycle will help lay the foundation for providing an amplified feedback loop to improve application performance and the customer experience.

For more tips, and for further insight, click here for the full article.

Image: Bill Gracey/Flickr

 

More Stories By Larry Dragich

Larry Dragich is actively involved with industry leaders, sharing knowledge of Application Performance Management (APM) technologies, from best practices and technical workflows, to resource allocation and approaches for implementation. He has been working in the APM space since 2006 where he built the Enterprise Systems Management team which is now the focal point for IT performance monitoring and capacity planning activities.