The Case for Mobile Application Performance Management

Application performance monitoring is making strides in the IT sector, as more and more managers make the connection that end user experience monitoring is one key to streamlining transactions and data flow in an organization. But say you have a mobile app presence. How will you manage customer experience then? This is an area that I have been curious about of late, because the push for cloud means that apps are relocating to more mobile platforms, away from the traditional client-server model and even away from the web services model. The difference in mobile is significant. On a standard Internet connection, a user’s experience might be slowed down occasionally due to high loads or the occasional frizzed network path. But with mobile, the end user’s experience can change based on where the user is standing at any given moment. This is why, when Application Performance Management is usually discussed in the context of mobile, people usually just throw up their hands and blame any application slow-downs on the network. After all, with so many factors that can trip up the cellular signal, why bother trying to improve the application? For one, general user satisfaction. Application Performance Management is more than just about improving application speed; it’s also about improving efficiency. If the monitoring catches users continually tapping one button when they meant to tap another, that’s a problem for developers to solve, not the cell phone carrier. For another, how much can you really put the blame on the network? Networks can be problematic, true, but most mobile apps shouldn’t be pulling in (or pushing out) that much data anyway. A few hundred bytes at a time should not be that slow except on the worst of networks. An Application Performance Management approach in mobile application development and deployment should not be dismissed out of hand. Like every other platform where applications live, applications can be improved, and to find the specific areas of improvement, solutions like end-to-end monitoring can be a useful...

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Top Three Articles on Application Performance Management Best Practices

I noticed that a lot of the top hits on Google for “application performance management best practices” are out dated at best and irrelevant at worst. The top hit – “Improving weblogic application performance” – just had its eighth birthday (the iPhone wasn’t even out then), and the runner up – “Improving .net application performance” – has a disclaimer saying that the content is outdated. Therefore, I decided that I would curate my top three application performance management articles on best practices in order to help better expose the good stuff. #1 Peter Sevcik and Rebecca Wetzel’s “Application Performance Management: Best Practices do Work“ Peter and Rebecca are true thought leaders in the application performance management space. Their blog on Network World is a great resource for application performance management. A recent post shares an interesting survey which ties back to the research I have referenced;  “Good Application Performance Management Delivers Results“. The Survey finds that: …Enterprises with best practices benchmark scores above six (on a 10-point scale with 10 being best) report 75 percent better results in three key performance areas than their counterparts with scores under five. Their four best practices of managing application performance are: Understand the current situation by talking to users and stakeholders Measure all of the relevant data which impacts application performance and end users Communicate your findings in a way which “non geeks” can understand them Link performance to business needs #2 Information Week’s “Best Practices brief: Improving Application Performance“ In the article, Mike Fratto highlights a very helpful “bucket list” of application performance best practices: Plan Ahead for Growth Know Where Your Users Are Get Visibility Into Your Network Create Metrics and Set Goals Find the Bottlenecks Examine Asymmetric Options Examine Symmetric Options Integrate Application Performance Management Test Application Performance Close the Loop and Repeat #3 30 Practical Best Practices to Boost Your Web Application Performance This resource is the polar opposite of the first and second ones. Providing very specific technical tips for application performance management. I added this one for balance since application performance is not only the responsibility of those who deal with IT management – but also the developers. Application Performance Management Best Practices Webinar On a final note there is an interesting live webinar coming up on the 27th of July where the CIO of Gainsco Insurance, Phil West, will talk about his seven application performance management best practices. The registration link is...

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The Three Must-Haves for End-to-End Monitoring

When I talk to infrastructure and operations folks who are on the look out for an “End-to-End Monitoring” it always seems like such a daunting task. Too much IT vendor brochure-ware claims that their solutions provide ”True End-to-End Monitoring”. Below are three must-haves that I have identified which should be part of any end to end monitoring solution you evaluate. 1) Make sure the solution covers “every hop” Many end-to-end monitoring solutions focus on monitoring end to end round trip times in the datacenter plus the Java or .NET application server. But what about your LDAP, ESB or Proxy server? These overlooked components could be your bottleneck. 2) No code or architecture changes should be tolerated As important as getting your “wing-to-wing” application stack covered there is no need to compromise on ease of installation and maintenance. Today’s more modern tools go in without having to involve network and application teams. 3) Everything should be tied to a business context If hundreds of alerts are being triggered each day – how do you know which ones are real and which ones are false alarms? When everything is tied to a business context prioritization becomes easy. This is accomplished by automatically correlating everything that happens throughout the application stack from the moment a specific user conducts a discreet business transaction. Most of the traditional end-to-end solutions out there were not designed to automatically accomplish this correlation. Whether you are putting together an RFP or simply conducting an initial investigation and information gathering – I advise that you bring up these must-haves during your conversations with vendors. Also – try to get an understanding of whether their underlying technology can really support...

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