The application performance management (APM) market has been soaking up the spotlight lately, and for good reason. A recent NetForecast survey, for example, shows that good APM processes can considerably reduce the amount of time it takes for IT to discover performance problems, minimize critical application incidents, and decrease the time needed to resolve these incidents.
However, despite its high profile, the APM market is far from mature as traditional APM vendors struggle to adapt to new IT megatrends and network performance management (NPM) vendors frantically add more "application awareness" to their offerings. It seems that hardly a month goes by without some large IT management company announcing an acquisition to fill in gaps in its APM offering. A new report from analyst firm Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) notes that the APM market is still a very hotly contested space and that the reality for most customers is that they're still chasing vendors' marketing claims.
Combining the Best Features of Transaction Analysis and Application Monitoring AnalysisThe report, ExtraHop Networks Offers New Application Performance Option with NAPM Approach, by EMA Managing Research Director Jim Frey, examines how the network-based APM approach pioneered by ExtraHop provides numerous advantages over APM and NPM alternatives by bringing the best of transaction and application monitoring analysis from the APM/NPM world together, benefitting both Applications Support and Network Operations teams. Moreover, Frey concludes that ExtraHop achieves these results with "a simple and elegant approach"—in contrast to an ever-growing hodgepodge of "tools" from other APM vendors. Frey notes that, in contrast to the increasingly fluidity and complexity of the application layer, the network infrastructure that underlies modern applications is increasingly robust and stable.
Frey writes, "With applications constantly changing, aggravated by an increasingly fluid and virtualized computing layer, operations teams must take advantage of the less-variable parts of the infrastructure to establish instrumentation and visibility. The network represents such an opportunity. The network connects servers, storage, and end users, and will be traversed multiple times by any and every application of consequence today. From the network point of view, it is possible to measure how each and every application transaction is performing, not only in isolation but also all together, in the mix, where all players must coexist peacefully. This is immensely helpful in understanding the full context of application performance and all of the potential factors that may contribute to any degradations or disruptions."
According to Frey, the ExtraHop approach is a significant advance over other network-based monitoring tools that use synthetic and active test agents, network device flow records, and network probe appliances. Those technologies fall short in the depth of application detail provided and struggle to achieve true real-time performance monitoring. The ExtraHop system, on the other hand, provides "true real-time application transaction analysis and alerting up to a sustained 10Gbps across the full stack—Layers 2 through 7." Even with these kinds of advantages, cool technology without a vision isn't going anywhere. That's why Frey applauds ExtraHop for not only having effective network-based APM technology, but also for having a strong strategy to deliver future enhancements.