With vFabric Application Director, vFabric AppInsight and the rest of the vFabric product line we are seeing VMware’s application level strategy come to life. It is clear that VMware is making an enormous and strategic investment on this front, probably second only in priority to the continued investment in vSphere’s domination of data center virtualization. The combination of vFabric and vSphere also brings into clear focus the fullness of the VMware software stack, and the degree to which VMware seriously threatens established OS vendors like Microsoft and Red Hat.
If you are going to try to virtualize performance critical applications in 2012, you should arm yourself with a tool that can measure how those applications perform in the eyes of their end users – which is their end-to-end response time. The approach you take should be a function of the mix of applications you have to support – including whether they are purchased or custom developed and if custom developed with what language or framework.
VMware is going to make progress on its automated service assurance vision this year, with initial steps coming in the Q1/2012 version of vCenter Operations and the initial release of vFabric APM. On the third party vendor front, progress is most likely to come by partnerships between vendors who have interesting pieces of the puzzle, but do not have the entire puzzle themselves. On this front the most interesting vendors are Netuitive, Prelert, Blue Stripe, ExtrHop Networks, and VMTurbo. The wild card in this equation is how service assurance will fit with cloud management and offerings from vendors like DynamicOps, Abiquo, Platform Computing and Gale Technologies.
The need to virtualize every application, along with the need to support constantly arriving new and newly changed applications will drive the creation of an Application Operations function in the enterprise. This function will need to be supported and enabled by a new generation of APM tools that meet the new requirements of the Application Operations team.
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 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, Confio, dynatrace, ExtraHop, New Relic, Quest, VMTurbo and VMware (vFabric AppInsight) are currently leading this race to redefine the market for APM solutions.
VMware is clearly serious about extending its management reach into the application layer of the stack. New products like vFabric AppDirector, and vFabric APM make this into more than intention – they make VMware’s participation in these markets a reality as well. The move to remake the APM industry has thus far been lead by creative startups like New Relic, AppDynamics, BlueStripe, dynaTrace and ExtraHop. Now VMware has joined this effort will add considerable mass and velocity to the effort. The message is clear – it is time to instrument all of your applications for response time and the legacy APM vendors do not have the products that are up to the task.