Cloud Applications Performance Management gets Serious

I had the opportunity to present on Applications Performance Management for Cloud Hosted Applications at the Cloud Connect Conference in Santa Clara CA on March 15, 2010. It was an eventful presentation as I was part of panel assembled by Hon Won (former founder of NetIQ and now EVP of Business Development at Coradiant). The panels included users of business critical applications in the cloud, cloud vendors, and vendors of performance management applications for cloud hosted applications.During the conference it became clear that Coradiant had struck a breakthrough deal with Terremark for Terremark to host its web applications performance management product and to offer that product on a hosted “APM as a Service” basis. This means that customers of Terremark’s VMware based cloud can “turn on” APM as a service and get first class web applications response time and the supporting protocol analytics.

AppDynamics announced that its “cloud aware” APM solution would now be available both as on premise software, and as a host SaaS offering. AppDynamics is unique in that it is the only J2EE/.Net “deep dive” solution that includes dynamic mapping of the topology of the application system, and a communications system that embraces applications deployed across private “inside of the firewall” and public cloud environments.

New Relic has pioneered the “easy-to-consume” APM service for Ruby-on-Rails and Java applications and now has over 1500 paying customers who are using their service to monitor applications in public clouds – making New Relic the early market leader in this new space.

It is clear that “cloud enabled” APM is becoming a category into its own and that legacy APM products like CA/Wily, IBM ITCAM, and HP Diagnostics will have to be reinvented to meet this use case.

The table below compares the relevant features of this new set of cloud aware APM solutions to each other.

This is a new category of APM solutions for the following reasons:

  1. The most likely deployment architecture for applications in the cloud in the near term is for parts of an application to reside  in the four walls of the enterprise data center and parts to reside at least temporarily in a public cloud.
  2. This new distributed and dynamic deployment scenario requires that the data collection agents initiate one-way communications connections back into the management system, and that the APM solution dynamically and continuously discover the topology  of the applications system.
  3. Organizations deploying on these types of platforms tend to be using open source middleware like Tomcat and JBOSS and commodity hardware – which reduces the cost of their applications platforms dramatically when compared to licensed solutions like IBM Websphere and Oracle Weblogic.
  4. The reduced cost of the applications platform makes these organizations look for APM solutions that are both less expensive to license and which provide more “out-of-the-box” functionality with a lower services footprint than legacy APM solutions from the “big four” enterprise systems management vendors.
  5. There is a strong need to synchronize agile development strategies with agile applications performance management approaches. Products that require extensive configuration on an ongoing basis as applications change will simply not scale or be cost effective for organizations that have multiple applications that are each releasing new functionality into production once a month.

Conclusion

Virtualization created a new set of demands that APM vendors had to meet. Creative new vendors like BlueStripe stepped up to the plate to meet these needs. Deploying applications across private and public clouds creates new requirements that are being met by new vendors and that make traditional legacy APM solutions less attractive for these new use cases.

Bernd Harzog (319 Posts)

Bernd Harzog is the Analyst at The Virtualization Practice for Performance and Capacity Management and IT as a Service (Private Cloud). Bernd is also the CEO and founder of APM Experts a company that provides strategic marketing services to vendors in the virtualization performance management, and application performance management markets. Prior to these two companies, Bernd was the CEO of RTO Software, the VP Products at Netuitive, a General Manager at Xcellenet, and Research Director for Systems Software at Gartner Group. Bernd has an MBA in Marketing from the University of Chicago.

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