The question of the usefulness of Application Performance Management keeps coming up throughout the technical press, as pundits and managers alike wonder just how Application Performance Management can really help them.
An article I came across last week that questioned whether Application Performance Management was outdated brought up an interesting point to which I wanted to add my two cents.
The thesis of the article really didn’t focus on the usefulness of Application Performance Management, but rather challenged Application Performance Management providers to move beyond just meeting the bare minimum requirements of the service level agreements (SLAs) and really focus on the maximizing the end user experience.
That is a point of view that’s easy to agree with, and as a big believer in end user experience monitoring I most certainly do. service level agreements shouldn’t be just the minimum set of requirements that an Application Performance Management vendor should provide customers–all Application Performance Management should done with an eye towards optimizing applications to the highest possible standard.
This does not mean, though, that service level agreements are something to be abandoned altogether. Rather, they are something that should be used not to set base requirements, but used as a tool for education.
With many IT managers still not understanding the real potential of application performance monitoring and end to end monitoring, an service level agreement affords a great chance for a vendor to really spell out all of the great capabilities that can be found within their own applications with the proper use of Application Performance Management.
Application Performance Management isn’t just going in and tightening a few nuts and bolts in an application and calling it fixed. It’s about real analysis of the application’s methodology and understanding what the application has to do in a business sense, not just a development sense.
When the service level agreement is being drafted, the customer and vendor each have the opportunity to really get into the goals of the application being monitored and optimized and discover how much and application can really be improved, not just create a document for setting easy goals and getting vendors paid.
This is why end user performance monitoring is more important then ever in the Application Performance Management toolset, because business is the real driver to application performance, not technical specs. When end users have a smooth experience, that’s really where transactions are improved and business gets done.