A while ago, I had the opportunity to speak with the good folks from AppDynamics about their focus on delivering a rapid application development and management environment based upon distributed Java, .NET, SOA and open source architectures. This class of product is called application performance management (APM.) Their product, cleverly named AppDynamics, is designed to help organizations build applications that can live in either a virtualized or cloud-based environment.
Here's how AppDynamics, the company, describes AppDynamics, the product
The release of AppDynamics v2.0 raises the bar for application performance monitoring and management products by delivering unmatched breadth, depth and ease-of-use in a single, integrated product that can be up and running within minutes. Legacy APM tools – often referred to as “APM 1.0” – were not built for distributed applications in cloud, virtual, and physical environments, and as a result have proven to be increasingly costly and inefficient for IT professionals on the front lines of application support.
In developing an innovative approach to application management designed for today’s challenges, the leadership behind AppDynamics adhered to five key tenets that they believe define the landscape of APM 2.0:
- Built for Distributed Applications. An APM 2.0 solution should provide a visual map of the distributed application to illuminate the application topology for IT Operations. To accomplish this, AppDynamics delivers Application Mapping to dynamically discover all application tiers and back-end services, even when agile development introduces new code.
- Business Transaction Centric. An APM 2.0 solution should measure the health of what matters to the business – the business transaction. No longer is measuring infrastructure and application component health sufficient to effectively ensure service quality. AppDynamics Transaction Flow Monitoring provides visibility into how each transaction performs as it journeys along the distributed environment, a technique that enables IT Operations to be extremely precise in troubleshooting application problems.
- Deep Diagnostics. An APM 2.0 solution should be able to deliver deep diagnostics in an “always on” capacity, delivering class and method-level detail without introducing excess overhead in production environments. AppDynamics’ Deep on-Demand Diagnostics enables rapid root cause analysis with no more than 2 percent overhead.
- Policy Driven. To avoid false alarms, an APM 2.0 solution should accurately distinguish between consistent patterns of poor performance versus one-time anomalies. It should also assess business transaction health by learning each business transaction’s historical performance pattern and comparing it to current performance. AppDynamics’ policy engine and dynamic baselines provide an unmatched level of detection accuracy.
- Cloud Ready. An APM 2.0 solution should be able to both monitor cloud-deployed applications and leverage elastic computing to create capacity on demand. AppDynamics is the first APM solution with cloud orchestration to enable companies to intelligently scale up and scale down capacity as needed.
Snapshot analysisAppDynamics points out that today's cut-costs-to-the-bone world combined with worldwide competition has forced companies to look carefully at open source tools. Once they've gone down that path, they soon learn that applications based upon those tools may be difficult to monitor and problems are hard to isolate and resolve. Furthermore, smaller organization's team may not have the necessary skills to deal well with all of the individual pieces supporting such applications.
While AppDynamics appears to be offering some innovative thinking, they have their work cut out for them. They're facing competition from many other companies. Suppliers such as CA, Cisco (Tidal Software) Compuware, Nastel, Netscout, OPNET, Precise Software, Quest Software and quite a few others. This means that they'll have to back up their innovative thinking with innovative go-to-market strategies.
If your organization is looking into application performance management tools, AppDynamics is certainly worth a look. It is best, however, to have a clear picture of your organization's needs, skill sets and the like before selecting an APM tool.