Since we are kicking off a new blog about Application Performance Monitoring (APM), it feels prudent to jump in with a few basic thoughts about what APM is and why it matters.
At the core, APM is simply another paradigm for managing information technology. Compared to other monitoring paradigms, this leads to major improvements in aligning business to IT. There is no single unified definition promoted by vendors and analysts alike, but in the end, it is clearly about focusing the attention on the application, as opposed to the infrastructure elements.
As IT professionals, we design, deploy and manage applications and services. The systems infrastructure we cable together underneath those applications is simply a means to an end. Many years ago, the systems underneath were synonymous with the application, and you could walk into any datacenter and point to “the server” that was a given application. Just as the technology has since evolved from mainframes, to mid-range servers, to client/server processing, to application stacks and service oriented architecture, our IT management perspective must also change from systems and infrastructure to the application or service that the end-user interacts with. Now more than ever, we must recognize that users interact with applications, rather than with “servers” or “systems”.
On top of all of this, the application is also the one constant in the equation as the bulk of our infrastructure becomes dynamic, virtualized and fluid, eventually moving in part or in full to private clouds or public clouds. As IT professionals, we too must evolve and fully embrace the application perspective, or rest assured we become irrelevant. The next question is, from an IT management technology perspective, and a production support organizational perspective, how do we transition from an infrastructure to an application centric perspective?
What exactly is APM from a more detailed perspective? More on that next time….