Our goal in this chapter is to emphasize the importance of APM for enterprises but also highlight new ways APM sellers should be thinking about their market.
In Chapter 1, we focus on two key use cases for APM:
- Performance – This is the smaller section of the APM market, and not really where the money lies. It’s focused on measuring the performance of applications: primarily in regards to web applications and load times.
- Visibility – The bigger part of the APM market is all about gaining visibility into application behavior. It has little to do with end user performance, and everything to do with infrastructure monitoring and management for the complex and sophisticated backend of applications.
Performance and visibility should be core values for a Developer Ops team. They need to see that all systems are running smoothly. It’s easy to imagine the stress level for a DevOps leader when systems don’t go smoothly, especially considering the velocity at which companies are moving their entire system to the Cloud.
We can take the easy route by saying everyone needs APM, but we’d rather focus on companies that need APM solutions like human’s need air. The DevOps leaders mentioned above are now managing vasts amount of sensitive data in the cloud and they need to be able to move information and process code at any time, and any where.
As you can imagine, there are countless challenges faced by organizations when aiming to effectively monitor their applications. Let’s discuss a few of the key reasons APM becomes a necessity for a developer operations team:
The challenge of big data is faced by essentially every organization that operates in the software space. These days, applications never truly stand alone; they are interconnected and producing more data than ever. In fact, it’s increasingly common for organizations to generate several terabytes of ops data every single day – making it even harder to sort through the noise in real-time and draw constructive insights about the health of your application.
APM helps organizations see the performance patterns within the bigger data picture, allowing them to make changes that will improve the end user experience.
On top of that, the archives of event data are “big data challenges in and of themselves” — an obstacle that manual monitoring techniques simply aren’t able to tackle. As Jason Bloomberg, President of Intellyx, puts it, “Managing today’s environments has become a big data problem, so it requires big data analytics techniques.” New generation APM tools are able to provide analytics like manual monitoring never could.
Demand for Proactivity
Another reason comes down to organizations’ need to avoid being reactive to issues. As was previously mentioned, it’s simply not scalable to react and fix each problem as it arises, so the demand for proactive APM tactics is increasing constantly.
That being said, proactive and effective APM is influenced by the “timeliness and accuracy of performance alerts,” meaning that without proper alerting, APM is virtually pointless. Efficient alerting helps establish performance baselines, thereby determining a team’s ability to detect issues and mitigate their impact as they arise over time.
How do organizations take the next step of not only identifying these problems early, but also fixing them before the end user is affected? Advanced analytics. These next-generation analytics are needed to enable orgs “to perform ‘what-if’ analyses and to automatically detect performance anomalies.”
The market continues to see leaders like Datadog marketing advanced analytics and proactive alerts as core to their value proposition, a trend that is sure to continue in line with customer demands.
Any tool processing data is inherently a potential security issue. The scope of APM security concerns can be as broad as the range of software that exists in the world, but here are a few examples:
If your application uses credit card information to process payments, and you want to implement an APM tool to monitor your application, the APM tool itself will also need to be Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant.
If your application processes sensitive employee information, will monitoring teams have access to these details during testing? Are there any third-party extensions that may expose your data? Does your APM tool allow you to change security privileges depending upon the clearance of different employees?
No modern-day application exists in a silo. A core product differential in next generation APM products, especially in the age of big data, will be their ability to consider every touchpoint for an application and control who can or should have access to information.
The biggest opportunity in the APM market is, ironically, very simple to grasp. It comes down to this: applications, and the data they create, are becoming more complex every day. On top of that, the scale at which performance must be monitored is also growing.
But the applications and data aren’t the only things that are complicated — older APM tools are themselves “incredibly complex and time consuming” due to “the amount of tuning and customization enterprises required.” Many companies who have failed in their APM efforts generally engaged services too heavily — an unsustainable and unscalable “benefit” to the buyer that ultimately turned into a burden.
It should be resoundingly clear: the APM market isn’t going anywhere. In fact, all the reasons for APM is important suggest the market has yet to mature. We will continue to see new companies break into the market, and even IPO, as the market opportunity (cited in Chapter 1) is bountiful.
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