Building a DevOps Bridge to the APM Future
March 12, 2013
Gary Jackson

For many of us in the application or software development industry, Application Performance Monitoring (APM) was supposed to be a magic bullet, a way to catch the occasional unforeseen mistake that slipped through to production releases. APM would alert us to the issue and allow us to deliver better performing applications. This was the promise.

In reality, even with APM tools reporting production issues, there has been no discernable increase in the quality of applications delivered. A recent BlueStripe survey found that despite the use of APM tools, 81 percent of companies still have more than a quarter of their application issues go unresolved.

In addition, 63 percent of respondents are dissatisfied with their APM solutions, while 36 percent reported learning about more than 25 percent of problems from user complaints.

What this data shows is that APM alone does not fix systemic problems that contribute to the lack of quality apps. But it can be part of the solution. With the increased complexity, shortened development cycles, and heightened user expectations caused by the rise of mobile, it is critical that monitoring be part of development and vice versa.

This is difficult in the 92 percent of organizations that separate monitoring, development, and testing into self-contained groups. Separate staffs, budgets, and organizational systems all make collaboration around APM data difficult. Programs and software often do not integrate or sync with each other. It might be impossible to directly export your APM data into your test lab or automatically sync performance SLOs from testing to monitoring systems.

Creating a data feedback loop between the two sides is the most efficient way to continually develop mobile apps that perform up to or exceed user expectation.

Companies can achieve this data feedback loop by activating a “DevOps Bridge”. This must be a concerted effort by both sides of the IT house to merge and share personnel, data and systems.

Data from 24/7 monitoring should be directly fed into a virtualized test environment. With that production data as a basis for their tests, testers can instantly see how small changes made to the next app iteration will affect user experience. Once they have that data, they can report what specific development or infrastructure steps are needed to maintain a constant, or improved, level of application performance.

This improved test data can be fed back into monitoring. The better you understand how the application performs in a virtualized production environment, monitoring alerts can more accurately reflect realistic and acceptable end user thresholds.

The five seconds it takes “Transaction A” to complete can now be seen as within an acceptable range. An alert will only be tripped if the transaction exceeds that time by a defined percentage based on testing. If five seconds is unacceptable, performance can be optimized before deployment and appropriate thresholds set as a result. With more accurate alerts and reports, IT is not constantly wasting resources to figure out and fix issues that are not issues at all.

As more organizations move toward continuous deployment cycles for mobile applications, it is no longer good enough for APM to stand alone. By the time APM data is dissected manually and translated for testers and developers, three new iterations of your app have already launched and angered your users with their sub-par performance. Only by creating and maintaining this data feedback loop will the APM data reach the correct people in time to impact the next application iteration, and improve ALM for your entire organization.

ABOUT Gary Jackson

Gary Jackson is CEO of Shunra Software, a Philadelphia-based company specializing in network virtualization to help firms worldwide ensure application performance and end user experience. He has more than 25 years of executive experience in the IT industry, specializing in leading emerging technology companies.

Related Links:

www.shunra.com

BlueStripe Survey: IT Operations Unsatisfied with APM and BSM

The Latest

October 18, 2018

Are applications teams prepared to manage the chaos arising from an ever-growing landscape of heterogeneous deployment types? A recent survey of application and operations professionals sought to better understand how the industry is shifting and what the future of DevOps might look like. Here is what the survey uncovered ...

October 16, 2018

More than half of organizations have a dedicated DevOps team to help them better implement agile strategies, accelerate release cycles and ensure continuous development. However, databases have a habit of holding DevOps back ...

October 15, 2018

Test Environment Management can save organizations close to $10,000 for each release, yet only four percent of large enterprises have fully integrated TEM processes into organizational DNA, according to the 2018 Test Environment Management Survey released by EMA and Plutora ...

October 11, 2018

Agile is indeed expanding across the enterprise and there was a significant jump from last year to this year in the percentage of respondents who indicated that all or almost all of their teams were agile, according to the State of Agile 2018 report from CollabNet ...

October 09, 2018

Adopting a modern application architecture is critical to business success and a significant driver of profit growth in today’s digital economy, according to the results of a global survey of IT and business executives released by CA Technologies and conducted by Frost & Sullivan ...

October 04, 2018

How do you integrate tools to enable shift-left performance? The following tools will simplify maintenance, can be managed in a centralized way, and provide an easy-to-use UI to comprehend results ...

October 03, 2018

Focusing at the API layer of an application can help enable a scalable testing practice that can be efficiently executed as part of an accelerated delivery process, and is a practice that can be adopted and enabled at the earliest possible stages of development — truly shifting left functional testing. But what about performance testing? How do we enable the shift left of nonfunctional testing? Here, we explore what this means and how to enable it in your organization ...

October 01, 2018

As businesses look to capitalize on the benefits offered by the cloud, we've seen the rise of the DevOps practice which, in common with the cloud, offers businesses the advantages of greater agility, speed, quality and efficiency. However, achieving this agility requires end-to-end visibility based on continuous monitoring of the developed applications as part of the software development life cycle ...

September 27, 2018

Imagine that you are tasked with architecting a mission-critical cloud application. Or migrating an on-premise app to the cloud. You may ask yourself, "how do the cloud savvy companies like Airbnb, Adobe, SalesForce, etc. build and manage their modern applications?" ...

September 26, 2018

In a DevOps evolution, there are many paths to success, but even more that lead to failure, according to the 2018 State of DevOps Report from Puppet ...

Share this