|Application Inspection Triggers: New Approach for Making Application Performance Data Relevant|
|Written by Jeffrey Hill|
|May 26, 2011|
TRAC's article from October, 2010, "BI Becoming the Key Enabler for IT Performance Management" talked about how the complexity of managing IT performance is driving the need for new analytics and reporting capabilities for IT management solutions. These capabilities are especially important when it comes to monitoring network and application performance – a deeper and wider view of the application infrastructure is vital as companies add more complex and dynamic IT services. Many organizations that use several APM solutions at the same time report that they still do not have enough visibility into application performance and, as a result, struggle with troubleshooting and repairing performance issues. The relevance of application performance data largely depends on how well they fit an organization's particular use case and thus the metrics collected "out of the box" by APM solutions may not fit the problems that they are trying to solve.
ExtraHop Networks recently announced version 3.5 of their Application Delivery Assurance system, a key part of which is a technology called Application Inspection Triggers. This capability allows organizations to define metrics to be captured at network speeds through the use of scripts that are customized to solve a particular problem. These metrics can be uniquely tailored to meet the specific needs of each organization or IT department with custom alerts and reports suited to the metrics being collected. The granularity of the collection process can be as fine as required to isolate problems, even down to collecting information about individual users, files or program statements.
What makes this announcement even more interesting is the core technology that ExtraHop uses to monitor network and application performance. ExtraHop's solutions are an interesting combination of capabilities for both network and application performance monitoring – the company provides appliances for passive monitoring of network traffic, but is different than traditional network visibility tools as it provides increased visibility into application performance, as well as the ability to monitor the impact of different infrastructure elements, such as storage or database, on application performance. The depth of information that ExtraHop's appliances capture and the fact that this information is captured in real-time make Application Inspection Triggers even more effective because of the flexibility of the metrics that organization are able to capture.
From an industry standpoint, there is no shortage of vendors that monitor application performance, but the real question is what capabilities really make the difference between seeing wider and deeper into the application infrastructure and having the ability to solve performance problems. In addition to ExtraHop, other vendors are realizing that what really makes the difference in performance management is how the data that is collected is being processed and presented to IT decision makers. A good example of a company that understands the value of making data relevant is SL Corporation, whose RTView product enables organizations to get more out of the data collected by their APM tools by aggregating it and providing an additional level of analysis and reporting. Another example is Prelert, who provides a solution that leverages data collected by other APM tools and applies a self-learning technology to improve the ability to troubleshoot and repair application performance issues.
The well-controlled and monitored application infrastructure that existed ten years ago has been replaced by a dynamic and sometimes unpredictable mixture of local servers, virtualized applications and the cloud. In order to be able to effectively manage these types of environments, organizations need to be able to do more than just monitor packets, servers or application components and ensure that performance data that is being delivered to IT staff is truly relevant. One of the key value propositions of business intelligence - the ability to deliver the right information to the right people at the right time -- is becoming a key differentiator for APM vendors and ExtraHop's recent announcement is a significant step in that direction.
Tags: management, performance, network, application, data, organizations