SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, William Schmarzo, Yeshim Deniz

Blog Feed Post

AppDynamics: Unified Monitoring for End-to-End Visibility

Sometimes software vendors bog themselves down in the never-ending game of buzzword bingo, as marketers try for just the right combination of terminology to encourage customers to buy.

In other situations, however, a vendor will carefully select terminology to make important distinctions – even though the point they are making is a subtle one.

Application Intelligence vendor AppDynamics falls into the second camp. This week’s announcement features a number of varied enhancements for their platform, emphasizing its “Unified Monitoring” enhancements, including “increased server, database, application, and infrastructure visibility.”

AppDynamics’ choice of words like ‘unified’ and ‘visibility’ is no mere game of buzzword bingo – and in fact, both of these terms indicate subtle but important capabilities, especially in the context of the digital transformation AppDynamics’ enterprise customers are currently undergoing.

‘Unified,’ Not ‘Integrated’

Let’s focus first on AppDynamics’ choice of the word ‘unified,’ by contrasting it to the word ‘integrated.’ On first glance these two terms are synonymous, but in fact, they represent diametrically opposite approaches to building enterprise-class software.

The traditional way vendors build enterprise software is to acquire a number of separate companies, each of which offers some important component. Next, the vendor assembles this motley collection of parts into a ‘suite’ or ‘platform’ – these terms now nothing but marketing buzzwords.

Yet, while the marketing team has no problems connecting the various bits together (what I like to call ‘integration at the PowerPoint layer’), the real technical work of integrating the technologies takes time and effort – and in the end, the resulting product still suffers from uneven quality, excessive complexity, inconsistent user interfaces, and a multitude of other issues.

By referring to its platform as ‘unified,’ in contrast, AppDynamics is emphasizing that it is most assuredly not ‘integrated’ in that it is not assembled piecemeal. Instead, AppDynamics made important architectural decisions early in its evolution to build a single platform with end-to-end application intelligence capabilities built in from day one.

In the few years since, AppDynamics has been fleshing out the capabilities of various modules on the platform. Superficially, this evolution might look like an assembly of various parts, but in reality, the overall change in the platform constitutes an end-to-end maturation of unified capabilities.

The difference is no mere buzzword distinction – as any AppDynamics customer can attest to, as the platform’s various modules interoperate seamlessly, as they are in fact all part of a single application by design.

Visibility for the ‘Software-Defined Everything’ Era

Traditional monitoring tools – like the ones earlier generation vendors assembled into suites – had a physical infrastructure context. Admins would monitor servers or network hardware or other tangible pieces of equipment, and this focus on actual gear drove the design of the tools that monitored it.

In the intervening decade or so, virtualization has changed the playing field. Today, notions like ‘server’ or ‘network’ or ‘runtime’ have shifted dramatically in context. Furthermore, even virtualization itself has split into different levels of abstraction, with hypervisors and containers providing different perspectives on an increasingly software-driven world.

Vendors of first generation tooling have done their best to keep up with the times – but their technology still has a physical infrastructure monitoring context. The more dynamic the software-defined environment becomes, the less their monitoring tools provide adequate visibility into the performance metrics that matter most to the business.

Here again, AppDynamics has taken a next-generation approach. Instead of starting with the physical infrastructure, AppDynamics starts with the business transaction, because the business transaction is what’s important to the customer, like the one in the following illustration.

AppD visibility 768w, 260w, 600w, 905w" sizes="(max-width: 791px) 100vw, 791px" />

End-to-End Business Transaction (Source: AppDynamics)

Physical infrastructure is still important in the software-defined world, of course, as bare metal underlies everything in the end. But monitoring physical infrastructure separate from the various layers of abstraction above simply won’t provide the visibility necessary to support the business transaction, and hence the customer.

After all, the customer doesn’t care if an application runs on a virtual machine or in containers, or in the cloud vs. on premise. The customer simply wants it to run properly, at top speed, every time. And where the customer goes, so too go the key performance indicators (KPIs) that the business cares about, whether they be shopping cart conversions, revenue per customer, or any other KPI.

This digital context explains why AppDynamics favors the word ‘visibility’ over ‘monitoring’ in the context of the components of the business transaction: server, database, application, and infrastructure.

Monitoring each of these components separately cannot provide the visibility necessary to connect the performance of each component to the overall performance of the business transactions that connect the components together.

The Intellyx Take: Digital Transformation Means Constant Change

AppDynamics still provides monitoring, of course – but only in the context of unified monitoring, because only by leveraging its unified platform can monitoring deliver the level of visibility the business requires.

In the end, the distinctions between ‘unified’ vs. ‘integrated’ or ‘monitoring’ vs. ‘visibility’ are only important because the digital transformation business context is one of ongoing, constant change.

First generation tooling didn’t have to provide much flexibility, because physical infrastructure was relatively static and slow to change.

Today, however, the world is a different place, which is why it’s so important that AppDynamics Unified Monitoring provides end-to-end visibility – from the end user through all the application layers and supporting infrastructure to facilitate comprehensive management of user experience and application health.

Without a unified platform like AppDynamics, therefore, enterprises would struggle to achieve the user experience and operational success necessary for effective digital transformation. Monitoring separate components alone is woefully inadequate. Instead, organizations need the end-to-end visibility into business transactions that AppDynamics can provide.

AppDynamics is an Intellyx client. At the time of writing, No other organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx clients. Intellyx retains full editorial control over the content of this article.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is a leading IT industry analyst, Forbes contributor, keynote speaker, and globally recognized expert on multiple disruptive trends in enterprise technology and digital transformation. He is ranked #5 on Onalytica’s list of top Digital Transformation influencers for 2018 and #15 on Jax’s list of top DevOps influencers for 2017, the only person to appear on both lists.

As founder and president of Agile Digital Transformation analyst firm Intellyx, he advises, writes, and speaks on a diverse set of topics, including digital transformation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, devops, big data/analytics, cybersecurity, blockchain/bitcoin/cryptocurrency, no-code/low-code platforms and tools, organizational transformation, internet of things, enterprise architecture, SD-WAN/SDX, mainframes, hybrid IT, and legacy transformation, among other topics.

Mr. Bloomberg’s articles in Forbes are often viewed by more than 100,000 readers. During his career, he has published over 1,200 articles (over 200 for Forbes alone), spoken at over 400 conferences and webinars, and he has been quoted in the press and blogosphere over 2,000 times.

Mr. Bloomberg is the author or coauthor of four books: The Agile Architecture Revolution (Wiley, 2013), Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (Wiley, 2006), XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996). His next book, Agile Digital Transformation, is due within the next year.

At SOA-focused industry analyst firm ZapThink from 2001 to 2013, Mr. Bloomberg created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011.

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting), and several software and web development positions.

Latest Stories
Data Theorem is a leading provider of modern application security. Its core mission is to analyze and secure any modern application anytime, anywhere. The Data Theorem Analyzer Engine continuously scans APIs and mobile applications in search of security flaws and data privacy gaps. Data Theorem products help organizations build safer applications that maximize data security and brand protection. The company has detected more than 300 million application eavesdropping incidents and currently secu...
Rafay enables developers to automate the distribution, operations, cross-region scaling and lifecycle management of containerized microservices across public and private clouds, and service provider networks. Rafay's platform is built around foundational elements that together deliver an optimal abstraction layer across disparate infrastructure, making it easy for developers to scale and operate applications across any number of locations or regions. Consumed as a service, Rafay's platform elimi...
Kubernetes is a new and revolutionary open-sourced system for managing containers across multiple hosts in a cluster. Ansible is a simple IT automation tool for just about any requirement for reproducible environments. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Patrick Galbraith, a principal engineer at HPE, discussed how to build a fully functional Kubernetes cluster on a number of virtual machines or bare-metal hosts. Also included will be a brief demonstration of running a Galera MyS...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Ca...
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessio...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
Fact: storage performance problems have only gotten more complicated, as applications not only have become largely virtualized, but also have moved to cloud-based infrastructures. Storage performance in virtualized environments isn’t just about IOPS anymore. Instead, you need to guarantee performance for individual VMs, helping applications maintain performance as the number of VMs continues to go up in real time. In his session at Cloud Expo, Dhiraj Sehgal, Product and Marketing at Tintri, sha...
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Claude Remillard, Principal Program Manager in Developer Division at Microsoft, contrasted how his team used config as code and immutable patterns for continuous delivery of microservices and apps to the cloud. He showed how the immutable patterns helps developers do away with most of the complexity of config as code-enabling scenarios such as rollback, zero downtime upgrades with far greater simplicity. He also demoed building immutable pipelines in the cloud ...
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes how...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, discussed the best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
A look across the tech landscape at the disruptive technologies that are increasing in prominence and speculate as to which will be most impactful for communications – namely, AI and Cloud Computing. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Curtis Peterson, VP of Operations at RingCentral, highlighted the current challenges of these transformative technologies and shared strategies for preparing your organization for these changes. This “view from the top” outlined the latest trends and developments i...
When you focus on a journey from up-close, you look at your own technical and cultural history and how you changed it for the benefit of the customer. This was our starting point: too many integration issues, 13 SWP days and very long cycles. It was evident that in this fast-paced industry we could no longer afford this reality. We needed something that would take us beyond reducing the development lifecycles, CI and Agile methodologies. We made a fundamental difference, even changed our culture...