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@DevOpsSummit: Article

APM: Running with a Renegade - DevOps

A Momentum Permeating IT

Much like electricity, APM will take the path of least resistance when entering into an organization, attracted to the area with the strongest need; lightning, as soon as it is triggered, needs to find ground. It may be brought in to help resuscitate an application that has recently become lethargic or assist the team in rehabilitating an intrinsic codebase. Once the goal is attained however, the propensity to pigeonhole APM as a point solution is high.

Now contrast this with DevOps, which is moving forward with a momentum permeating IT and giving us a means to change the way we think and operate as a partner to the business. From a waterfall perspective the sprints in scrum may have tainted the stream, but DevOps disrupts the flow entirely, rerouting the way we do work. The exploration of DevOps springs from the need to keep up with the insatiable expectations from the business without losing a competitive edge or operational stability.

As the definition of DevOps is distilled and actions are outlined for a common practice (e.g. “The Phoenix Project”), APM has the opportunity to expand its role as a strategic initiative. The areas of Development, Operations, and Network no longer need their own monitoring tools and APM can help fulfill this consolidation.

My suspicion however, is that most IT organizations are still accumulating duplicative tool sets across each segment of responsibility and have not yet selected one monitoring solution to cover their entire application lifecycle.

On its best day, with win-win as a goal, APM becomes altruistic, providing value to everyone who engages with it, transcending the singular stereotype its earlier success has garnered.

Since it has roots in BSM and is a close cousin to BI, it has the potential to become a charming and vivacious host to the business supporting their key strategic initiatives. Serving up real-time monitoring metrics for business reporting and trending will go a long way in providing value across a broad spectrum of requirements.

Convincing the astute executive to advance APM to a strategic level can prove to be challenging. Demonstrating how APM can help Operations lower their MTTR and assist Development with efficient code deployments is essential. Highlighting the big picture with APM extending to all areas within the SDLC will likely get a more positive response from the visionaries.

As the coalescence of Development and Operations continues, APM stands ready to bridge the gap and facilitate a mind meld of sorts, becoming more than just a monitoring platform. However, with dozens of point solutions for monitoring already dotting the landscape, the transcendence of APM to a strategic solution may be short lived if a mutual benefit does not surface. Ironically, that benefit may be derived from supporting the very thing that could denounce APM as a point solution, DevOps.

More Stories By Larry Dragich

Larry Dragich is actively involved with industry leaders, sharing knowledge of Application Performance Management (APM) technologies, from best practices and technical workflows, to resource allocation and approaches for implementation. He has been working in the APM space since 2006 where he built the Enterprise Systems Management team which is now the focal point for IT performance monitoring and capacity planning activities.

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