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Translating IT metrics into business meaning (value)

Larry Dragich

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Top Stories by Larry Dragich

At the time when we were looking for a monitoring solution (2006-2007) APM as we know it today had yet to be defined. There was no Gartner MQ, real-user-monitoring (RUM) was too high level, “agent monitoring” brought concerns of overhead and complexity, instrumenting the application meant to ARM it (i.e., Application Response Measurement), and transaction tagging was a pipe dream. This created a fierce debate on the risks and rewards of agent vs. agentless monitoring, read The Monitoring Duality of APM. So, when we were developing our monitoring approach, our first priority was to do no harm, then collect performance metrics. We first implemented agentless RUM technology (i.e. wire data analytics) to gain insight into the application behavior and build a baseline that captured a normal workload. Secondly we focused on synthetic transactions to provide visibility d... (more)

Spotting Anomalies When Things Are Calm

Monitoring application performance on the surface and the currents below is a great way to build a performance baseline and provide application fluency. Ironically, the deep dive tools sets in place today still may not provide all the insight you need to quickly resolve anomalous behavior. Standing back on the shore waiting for an event to go by may not be the best approach for proactive monitoring. Synthetic monitoring (active monitoring) is needed to help reduce the blind spots for critical business applications. For example, we just experienced a production issue on a fully inst... (more)

The Butterfly Effect Within IT

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 clo... (more)

Why DevOps Needs a Friend

As enterprises embrace the DevOps philosophy, and the coalescence of the Development and Operations continues, I foresee the conditions ripening to foster innovative methods of making application performance better and code deployments smoother.  To me, the argument that system monitoring is just a “nice to have” and not really a core requirement for operational readiness dissipates quickly when a critical application goes down with no warning. Application Performance Management (APM) has been bred with all the right elements to give us the insights we need to see the health of ... (more)

An APM Solution: Well-Grounded

A look into ITIL's Continual Service Improvement (CSI) model and the Application Performance Management (APM) framework indicates they are both focused on improvement. I see them as being two sides of the same coin. APM defines the approach and toolsets that CSI uses while leveraging specific processes in Service Design, Service Transition, and Service Operation. If you’re thinking about how to build a sustainable APM solution and how it can be anchored into the IT culture, consider focusing on the integration touch points with existing IT processes. Within the CSI model there ar... (more)