Why Application Performance Management is like “Mission Control” for Your Application Launch

Application Performance Management’s Priority in a Launch Project

One of the major events in IT that can cause the layoff of an IT manager is an unsuccessful application launch. There are a lot of moving pieces involved with such a launch – but one of the activities which is not always given a high enough priority is putting in place an appropriate Application Performance Management framework.

Application Performance Management Launch

Flickr Image Courtesy of Stevendepolo

By the way - there is a webinar coming up on July 27th where Phil West, Gainsco’s CIO will show how they used Application Performance Management to save the day with an ailing application launch, register here.

Scenario I – No Application Performance Management in Place

Whether the new application was developed in house or by a 3rd party vendor, IT typically does not have the visibility it needs in order to deal with application performance management issues as they arise.

Usually no application performance management is put in place when IT managers are just trying to get the application up and running and do not consider the fact that a slow application with poor end user experience will not do them any good.

The point at which I usually run into people who are caught in this scenario is where the application has already been launched at least in test – in not production – and users are already complaining about slow response times.

Without any application performance management in place:

  1. If someone complains it is not possible to accurately quantify how bad the situation is (do I need to roll back the application? or are users just being spoiled?)
  2. Since no one is familiar with the new application navigating its cross tier architecture is like getting stuck in the dark with no flashlight
  3. The risk of roll-back is increased – which directly correlates to the risk of you loosing your job

Scenario II – An Application Performance Management Tool is Used

Just like anything in IT management – the tough question of “which application performance management tool is right for the job?” comes up. The trick here is to choose something that will:

  • Cover your entire application stack and give you more of a holistic view – you can always choose the right deep-dive utility later if you need
  • Not interfere with your project plan – installation must be quick and easy and not require any customization to the code or byte-code
  • Allow for flexibility in terms of licensing – maybe you can just lease the software – or use it as a service in order to reduce cost

Having an application performance management tool in place will:

  1. Allow you to prove the success of your launch in terms of application performance and even volume of user activity by generating reports to sponsoring executive
  2. Reduce the Mean Time to Resolution of any application performance problems that may arise as a result of problematic code or configuration
  3. Sleep better at night knowing that you and your team have intimate visibility into the new application and that you will be automatically alerted if something new comes up.

A Recommended Resource on Application Performance Management

One of the best vendor neutral resources I have found is on Doug Mcclure’s blog. He did a lot of research and writing about “Business Transaction Management (BTM)” being the “next generation” of Application Performance Management – but all of his content is totally relevant to application performance management. Since the writing of his content – nothing has changed in practice – except for the fact that the leading analyst firm on the subject, Gartner, has decided to include BTM within the more neutral three letter acronym of Application Performance Management as opposed to giving it its own section.

Obviously the best place to identify application performance problems is before they hit production – for that you need the ability to generate load – here is a recent post on the topic by SOASTA: The Fragility of Web Applications.

2 Comments

  1. Bruce Harbour says:

    Ensuring that new applications or new releases go into production monitored from day 1 is no easy task and an IT Director will need to continually hammer this requirement home to both the development and the support teams. It’s another culture change required to maximise the benefit from an enterprise APM tool.

    • Alon Ben-Shoshan says:

      Hey Bruce,

      I totally agree – I touched on that challenge in a recent post titled “‘If Speed Solves a lot of Problems’ Then Why is it not a Priority?”.

      Thanks for the Comment!

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