SolarWinds: In 2020, ‘Integrated APM’ Will Ensure Health & Availability for Critical Apps and Data

In 2020, the growth and maturity of cloud will continue to push the envelope on adoption for complex apps.  SolarWinds Dave Wagner shares his view on how new-gen ‘integrated APM’ will ensure mission-criticality for enterprise apps and data.

Tags: apps, APM, cloud, hybrid, integration, monitoring, performance, SolarWinds,

David Wagner, Solarwinds
David Wagner
senior manager,
application management

"Changes to how applications are delivered are making traditional monitoring techniques significantly more difficult."

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The end of each year brings opportunity for reflection and is ripe with anticipation of what’s yet to come. In my view, 2020 can be perfectly encapsulated in the idea “you can’t optimize what you can’t measure, and you can’t measure what you can’t monitor.”


The growth and maturity of the cloud have tech pros struggling to manage an increasingly complex web of applications and infrastructure spanning on-premises, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments. The improvements afford greater flexibility, agility, and scalability day-to-day (and allows for ever-faster deployment of new applications to the market). 


That said, these changes to how applications are delivered are simultaneously making traditional monitoring techniques significantly more difficult, while the business expects even greater performance.


In sum, we’ve reached an application performance monitoring (APM) crossroads that I predict will influence two specific areas in 2020.


Historically, APM was limited to delivering a deep understanding into how the application source code itself was performing. As both underlying infrastructures and application development deployment technologies became more complex and dynamic, the complexity and requirements grew. In that sense,  it’s now helpful to envision APM as a puzzle, made up of user experience, metrics, traces, and logs. Each piece must be understood in context to achieve full-stack visibility and ultimately deliver seamless app availability and performance.


At the same time, as environments become more dynamic and complex, the opportunity for applications to break increases. In turn, this creates the need for robust monitoring and measurement tools. So, the comprehensive performance metric analysis, code profiling, and tracing of APM must be complemented by availability monitoring delivered by log management.


Completing the puzzle, it is critical in these environments to have a continuous understanding of both performance and availability as it is experienced by the customers and clients of these application environments. This user experience delivers the “metrics that matter” to all sides of the business: how responsive is the system, how much work is getting done and how quickly, and finally, where are any errors occurring.


In 2020, implementing solutions that achieve both integrated application performance and availability management will become a priority. The imperative for “integrated APM” will apply to any type or size of organization – whether their focus is solely on-prem, in the cloud or with mixed, hybrid environments. 


When Amazon went down for an hour during Prime Day last year, experts estimate the company lost 100 million dollars in sales. Imagine the impact of a potential outage during the holiday season or during peak business hours. Of course, those are Amazon-sized numbers. But scale down those Godzilla figures to your organization size, and it still hurts—either through lost revenue or damaged brand reputation. 


With this “integrated” approach to APM ... 


  • You can see all the metrics and find out how the application is performing over time. 
  • You can see it degrade, giving you time to figure out why it’s slowing—before it stopped getting you your raw materials on time. 

    You can understand down to the line of code, or database query, exactly what, where, and why it’s slow.

  • You can understand how users are experiencing the system as a whole, how fast it is responding to their needs, how quickly they are getting work done, and how much work (business) is being accomplished.


Considering these benefits, I think you'll appreciate why in 2020, we believe the market will see the benefits of leveraging APM tools on a more pervasive basis.


It will move APM thinking beyond today's approach, which often solely focuses on critical applications for which only the current APM expense can be justified. Even more beneficial to the market, as this thinking takes hold, we should also expect APM providers to take note and deliver more easier-to-implement solutions that are more highly valuable and affordable. 


So, the happy conclusion is that the paradigm of APM tools having to be expensive will be broken -- once and for all. This will lead to even more ubiquitous adoption of this most valuable solution set.


Dave Wagner is a senior manager of product marketing at SolarWinds with over 20 years of experience focused on IT performance and optimization. Prior to joining SolarWinds, Dave served as CTO of OpsDataStore.