In addition to being a product manager at Quest, I am also a musician and music teacher. My favorite way to teach music is by coaching kids in rock bands. I find that kids often think they know their particular part of a song, but don’t quite have it. If you ask them to play it solo, it will sound ok, maybe even good. It is only when you ask them to play the piece together that they realize something is wrong.
Applications are similar in the sense that many pieces of technology (instruments) and code (musicians) must work cooperatively to deliver transactions (the song) to the end-user (listener) of the application. And, like in music, if parts of the technology or code are not doing just what they should, the end-result is less than desirable. Subtle changes or behaviors that appear to be okay in isolation may actually be the hidden cause of performance degradation or disruption.
One of the key benefits of application performance monitoring is that it aligns the technology stack to the end-user transactions in a way that enables administrators understand how any given component is impacting the application overall. Simply put, it provides context. Imagine my joy when I heard a customer describe application performance management as the way to get everyone “playing from the same sheet of music”. Rock on, APM’ers.