In a world where you are changing everything – by moving applications in whole or in part from physical to virtual, to private cloud and ultimately (at least for some applications) to a public cloud, having an external reference point from which to judge the performance of these applications is essential. That reference point might best be the end user’s workstation, laptop or mobile device. Real User Monitoring solutions are likely to play a prominent role here.
In Applications Performance Equals Response Time, not Resource Utilization, we took the position that while for the majority of the applications deployed on physical hardware the general practice was to infer their performance by looking at normal vs. abnormal resource utilization statistics, once you virtualize an application, it becomes necessary to directly measure its response time in order to ensure adequate service to business constituents and end users.
The right approach to monitoring a virtual or cloud based environment is to start with a clean sheet of paper, determine your requirements, and assemble a horizontally layered solution out of best of class vendor solutions that address each layer. Vendors should be evaluated on their mastery of one or more layers, their ability to keep up with the change in that layer, and their ability to integrate with adjacent layers.
Monitoring the performance of the infrastructure, applications and services in IT as a Service environments will require that monitoring solutions become multi-tenant, can be instantiated by ITaaS management tools without any further configuration, and that they automatically “find” their back end management systems through whatever firewalls may be in place. These requirements will probably be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for the heavyweight complex legacy tools that were in place prior to to the onset of virtualization, the public cloud and now IT as a Service. ITaaS is the tipping point that should cause most enterprises ignore every monitoring tool that they have bought in the past and to start over with a clean sheet of paper.
For a developer, and subsequently the team of people that has to support certain kinds of applications in production, a PaaS cloud can be a wonderful thing. Why can a PaaS cloud be so wonderful? Because if you have a web based application based upon Java, Ruby-on-Rails, or .NET you can find a cloud provider that handles the entire hardware and software platform for your application.
As business critical applications move into production virtualized environments, the need arises to ensure their performance from a response time perspective. Legacy Applications Performance Management tools are in many cases not well suited to make the jump from static physical systems, to dynamic virtual and cloud based systems. For these reasons enterprises need to consider new tools from vendors that have virtualization aware and cloud aware features in their APM solutions. Vendors like AppDynamics, BlueStripe, dynatrace, New Relic, OPNET, Optier, Quest, and VMware (AppSpeed) are currently leading this race to redefine the market for APM solutions.