We need tools to monitor the third generation of software

CA's James Harvey talks about the third generation of application software and what it means to IT administration
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor

James Harvey, General Manager and SVP of APM at CA Technologies stopped by recently to both introduce himself, to talk about the changing requirements organizations have for performance monitoring and management, and why CA has established an application performance management (APM) business unit.

CA's new APM business unit

CA points out that it has always been focused on its customers' needs. It hopes that by organizing a business unit devoted to monitoring and managing the ever more complex application environment, it will be able to engage customers earlier in their development cycle and provide better tools. It also expects this new business unit to engage the broader application performance management market to help develop and deploy technology to "keep apps running at their best."

Harvey believes that CA's current technology offers a good management platform in general, and that CA can contribute to the "advancement of APM as a discipline."

What is the third generation of web applications?

Harvey introduced the thought that the third generation of web applications requires that organizations think more holistically about monitoring all aspects of what comprises a Web application. He, by the way, believes that the three generations of web applications are publishing previously developed information, web queries into database systems and database-driven transactional systems and that the newest generation of web-based applications is the dynamic, data-driven creation of web-based systems.

What is the most important component of modern applications?

The industry has experienced a number of important transitions in application design including monolithic applications to distributed applications, distributed applications to service-oriented architectures, physical to virtual and on-premise only to cloud-based applications. Throughout all of these transitions, the end user, the person consuming these applications, can be seen as really being the most important. Harvey believes that helping people make the best use of the available technology and keeping applications running well can mean the difference between a successful company and a company losing customers to others.


I've spoken with representatives of well over 20 different suppliers of technology designed to help organizations keep their IT environment running well and always available. They use catch phrases such as performance management, application performance management, end-user performance management, big data and even predictive analytics. Most of them have developed technology that makes it possible to look at end-to-end application performance.

Some have focused on network performance, others have focused on web application performance, a few have focused on business transaction systems performance, while still others are focused on database and application framework performance.

The truth is that the nature of applications has changed. The industry continues to decompose applications into a herd of services and those services are often replicated to improve performance. As this process of decomposition has occurred, we've also seen the problem of complexity increase.

Today's applications are many different components flying in formation. Many different types of expertise are needed to keep them flying. Since companies can't afford to keep unnecessary people on staff, they are expecting the management tools they use to get more intelligent.

CA hopes to be in the forefront of that evolution. One thing is certain: CA will have to keep moving and innovating just to keep up with what all of the others in the performance management market are doing.

Editorial standards