Welcome!

@DevOpsSummit Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, John Esposito, Dana Gardner, Flint Brenton

Blog Feed Post

Thinking About APM? 4 Key Considerations for Buy vs. Build Your Own

image_pdfimage_print

Most technology folks have heard Marc Andreessen’s provocative statement, “Software is eating the world.”  Whether you agree fully or not, you’re realizing that your business critical software applications increasingly drive both the top-line revenue growth and the bottom-line operational efficiency of your company – and often form the pillar of your business identity.  

Legacy monitoring systems you have in place, capturing and alerting on scores of infrastructure level metrics, have helped protect your technology investment to some degree.  I’ve worked for two leaders in that space, HP and BMC, so can personally attest to the real benefits of server, network and database monitoring that clients achieve.  However, as consumer demand for superior services and faster innovation accelerate, we see that the applications and associated business transactions are what end-users ultimately care about.  You can no longer afford slow response time, let alone application outage situations, as customers will delay or abandon purchases – or worse yet switch to a competitor when you have unacceptable application performance.  And unfortunately these “Yellow Light” or slow performance situations are the most challenging to detect and fix!

So you’ve come to the conclusion that you need a full-fledged application performance management (APM) solution.  The question some companies wrestle with at this point is: “Should we invest in an 3rd party APM solution or build it ourselves?”

Four key considerations should be:

  1. Upfront Costs – such as Initial Project Build & Software License cost.

  2. Ongoing, Annual Solution Costs – such as Server / Storage footprint, administrative maintenance & support, & agile development / release activities.

  3. Solution Capabilities Driving Benefits – chiefly, the ability to drive down the number of performance defects in production, as well as the MTTR when issues do occur.

  4. Opportunity Costs – personnel resources working on in-house APM, versus are there mature 3rd party APM solutions available for purchase.

1.  Upfront Costs

It’s difficult to estimate exactly how long it would take a company to develop a basic application monitoring tool in-house – but we’ll give it a logical shot.  Of course, on the plus side, the company would avoid spending money on a “commercial off-the-shelf” (COTS) 3rd party software application.  Based on experience for design, development, testing, and release, a good estimate for an in-house Initial Project Build is a team of 2-3 Engineers about 6 months to have a basic, log parsing and alerting tool ready.  A more robust tool for a medium to large sized deployment may be 2-3x this size and investment.  A gaming company we work with, when assessing an in-house build situation, estimated an APM product development lifecycle in the 12 to 18 month range.  Why?  APM functionality that involves tracing the user experience of distributed transactions, where every call needs to be traced across each service layer, is non-trivial technical work.  Also, you’ll need to factor in one-time hardware and prerequisite software purchasing costs.  So a ballpark cost from $400K to well into seven figures is reasonable.

What would be the upfront software licensing cost of a 3rd party APM solution?  Probably in a similar range, perhaps higher in certain cases.  Also, many APM companies offer lower annual SaaS subscription costs as an alternative to full upfront licensing payments – which add up to the same licensing fees over 3-5 years.  However, you should take into consideration that some solutions such as AppDynamics, which can be downloaded and installed via self-service within hours, provide immediate Time-to-Value versus waiting for a full software development lifecycle to occur for a custom built solution.

Advantage:  Cost = In-house (slight? depends on robustness of APM solution built), Time-to-Value = 3rd Party APM

2.  Ongoing, Annual Solution Costs

First, let’s determine the hardware & storage footprint required for the solution.  Typical in-house developed solutions architect for over-capacity as a rough estimate because of unknowns, and to avoid encountering limitations & performance issues.  A good estimate per environment (Dev, Test, Prod) may be 2 Large Servers and 16 TB of Storage for a starter in-house APM solution.  This cost might run in the $100K to $135K range per year.

For 3rd party APM solutions, the specs are well-known, validated, and published.  A leading APM solution like AppDynamics has been built and tuned via R&D by specialists over several years.  The footprint for a similar medium-sized deployment would be 1 Medium Server and 6 TB of Storage, for a rough cost of about $40-50K per year – or less than half of the in-house cost.

From an FTE support perspective for the in-house solution, you have to understand the administrative, support, & enhancement / new development labor required.  A good admin & support estimate would run about 1-2 FTEs, and new development might run 2 engineering FTEs to keep up with enhancement requests and coverage for new applications & technologies.  Remember, users will not expect the APM solution to stay static!  You might start with basic metric stores and time series data, but this will quickly run out of steam.  Next, you’ll want to build a baseline engine for the metric store based on load patterns and percentiles of metrics, as examples.  Demand for dashboarding and security access control requirements come into play, and require much design and testing work especially as the solution scales.  So this annual labor cost would run in the $375K plus range.

On top of that, in today’s Agile DevOps world, there are additional maintenance / revision labor costs each time a business application is released to production.  Appliances and/or monitoring agents need updating, and both application and business transaction topology maps likely need to be revised manually.  As the frequency of application release grows, often to a bi-weekly application release schedule, these are not insignificant tasks.  We estimate in a medium sized deployment, this could require about 2,000 labor hours per year to keep up, or about $100K.

In the AppDynamics APM world, these types of capabilities are already built into the solution.  So the maintenance per application release is zero since there is automated application discovery, mapping, and business transaction flows out of the box.  The ongoing FTE administrative & maintenance requirements for a medium-sized deployment are 1 FTE, or about $125K/year.  And new development is covered in the license costs via the hundreds of R&D professionals contributing to the various releases of the 3rd party software.

Advantage:  3rd Party APM (large, especially adding up multiple years)

3.  Solution Capabilities Driving Benefits

Next we look at the ability of an APM solution to provide benefits to your enterprise – which can be grouped into reducing costs, mitigating risks, and increasing or protecting revenue.  Two key performance metrics we suggest for measuring impact on cost, risk, and revenue are:

  1. # defects released to production

  2. Mean time to repair (MTTR) per performance issue

At AppDynamics, this is where we’ve invested our R&D dollars since 2008, and our industry-exceeding Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 84 – i.e., more than 8 in 10 customers would recommend us to a friend or colleague – is a testimony to our ability to achieve these benefits.

By leveraging AppDynamics in Pre-Production, our clients often report reduction in performance issues released to Production of 40%.  And by watching every line of code executed in Production, and measuring & scoring each transaction, we provide a “3 clicks to resolution” approach that often reduces MTTR per performance issue by 65% or more.  This is true of small application environments, as well as large deployments over 20,000 JVMs.

For an in-house solution, you have to assess what it would take to build similar APM capabilities to achieve these levels of defect and MTTR reduction.  How many years, developers, and dollars?  (And, as one client executive recently told us, “If I could do this, why wouldn’t my company be competing in the APM software space?!”)  Or alternatively and more likely, “let’s stitch something low-cost together” in-house.  Admittedly this sacrifices capability for cost cost, which translates into fewer features to address the MTTR and # of performance issue challenges you face.

For ballpark purposes, then, let’s credit the in-house solution in helping reduce both # of defects and MTTR up to 20%.  If we use an industry average cost per minute of slowness / downtime equating to $500 (inclusive of both labor and revenue protection factors), and there is one Sev1 performance issue per application per quarter – the difference between the in-house solution versus an APM solution would equate to over $1M per year for a medium sized deployment.

Advantage:  3rd Party APM (not close; and these add up year over year, too)

4.  Opportunity Costs

These costs deal chiefly with choosing what is most valuable for your developers to spend their time on.  Especially in today’s high-technology enterprises, there are excellent engineers capable of building fantastic tools across a wide range of areas – so it is tempting to initiate an in-house APM build project and get something out the door.  However, APM is not these engineers’ specialty and their talents are often better utilized on alternative software projects related to the core goods & services your company sells to your end-use customers that drive revenue.

This is an area we won’t attempt to quantify, as it’s more of a qualitative assessment and business decision specific to your organization.  But with a fairly mature and continually developing 3rd Party APM market, for most enterprises it’s logical to say….

Advantage:  3rd Party APM

4.  Summary

While the initial, upfront set of costs for an in-house vs. 3rd party APM solution purchase may be about the same (license vs build) – which leads some organizations to consider a “Do It Yourself” approach – there are significant ongoing annual costs for the care and feeding of an in-house APM solution compared to the 3rd party APM alternative.  These include the infrastructure footprint, as well as labor costs associated with administration, maintenance & enhancements.

The biggest differential in cost is typically related to the chief purpose of an APM solution – how often does it proactively reduce the number of production defects, and how fast does it help you resolve performance issues when they do inevitably occur?

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 8.47.02 AM

For a medium sized deployment, the total cost / benefit advantages of a 3rd party APM solution easily exceed $1M per year when compared to the in-house build alternative.  This benefit accumulates year over year.  And it’s worth mentioning here at AppDynamics, we achieve magnitudes of benefit even beyond other 3rd party APM solutions with lesser capabilities.  We’ve leveraged the feedback of our over 1,000 customers during the past several years to drive R&D and greater benefit realization.

For AppDynamics, these advantages stem from:

  1. The way our solution is architected to require minimal setup, upkeep and Time-to-Value, while providing ongoing Ease of Use.

  2. Key capabilities – such as transaction tracing across complex, distributed applications, in your data center and the cloud – which lead to significant improvement in KPIs such as # performance defects and MTTR.

  3. Our ability to intelligently scale to support the most complex and largest Pre-Production and Production environments.

  4. Thought-leadership expanding into our “Application Intelligence” platform with a host of new modules and capabilities.

So when assessing an in-house vs 3rd party APM solution, consider a multi-year TCO horizon and not just a short-term initial cost estimate.  Our personnel at AppDynamics standby to provide you help in not only getting a deep-dive on the APM market and our solution features, but also to analyze the value of APM choices via a detailed ROI assessment.

Thinking of trying a next generation APM solution rather than build it yourself? Try AppDynamics for free today!

The post Thinking About APM? 4 Key Considerations for Buy vs. Build Your Own written by appeared first on Application Performance Monitoring Blog from AppDynamics.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By AppDynamics Blog

In high-production environments where release cycles are measured in hours or minutes — not days or weeks — there's little room for mistakes and no room for confusion. Everyone has to understand what's happening, in real time, and have the means to do whatever is necessary to keep applications up and running optimally.

DevOps is a high-stakes world, but done well, it delivers the agility and performance to significantly impact business competitiveness.

@DevOpsSummit Stories
CIOs and those charged with running IT Operations are challenged to deliver secure, audited, and reliable compute environments for the applications and data for the business. Behind the scenes these tasks are often accomplished by following onerous time-consuming processes and often the management of these environments and processes will be outsourced to multiple IT service providers. In addition, the division of work is often siloed into traditional "towers" that are not well integrated for cross-functional purposes. So, when traditional IT Service Management (ITSM) meets the cloud, and equal...
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor – all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organizations must focus on what is most relevant to deliver value, reduce IT complexity, create more repeatable...
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 developers and operators work together to streamline cohesive systems.
The now mainstream platform changes stemming from the first Internet boom brought many changes but didn’t really change the basic relationship between servers and the applications running on them. In fact, that was sort of the point. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Gordon Haff, senior cloud strategy marketing and evangelism manager at Red Hat, will discuss how today’s workloads require a new model and a new platform for development and execution. The platform must handle a wide range of recent developments, including containers and Docker, distributed resource management, and DevOps tool ...
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 MySQL cluster as a Kubernetes application.
Your business relies on your applications and your employees to stay in business. Whether you develop apps or manage business critical apps that help fuel your business, what happens when users experience sluggish performance? You and all technical teams across the organization – application, network, operations, among others, as well as, those outside the organization, like ISPs and third-party providers – are called in to solve the problem.
What does it look like when you have access to cloud infrastructure and platform under the same roof? Let’s talk about the different layers of Technology as a Service: who cares, what runs where, and how does it all fit together. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Lead Technology Evangelist at SoftLayer, an IBM company, spoke about the picture being painted by IBM Cloud and how the tools being crafted can help fill the gaps in your IT infrastructure.
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Among the proven benefits, DevOps is correlated with 20% faster time-to-market, 22% improvement in qua...
Much of the value of DevOps comes from a (renewed) focus on measurement, sharing, and continuous feedback loops. In increasingly complex DevOps workflows and environments, and especially in larger, regulated, or more crystallized organizations, these core concepts become even more critical. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, showed how, by focusing on 'metrics that matter,' you can provide objective, transparent, and meaningful feedback on DevOps processes to all stakeholders. Learn from real-life examples how to use the data g...
In the world of DevOps there are ‘known good practices’ – aka ‘patterns’ – and ‘known bad practices’ – aka ‘anti-patterns.' Many of these patterns and anti-patterns have been developed from real world experience, especially by the early adopters of DevOps theory; but many are more feasible in theory than in practice, especially for more recent entrants to the DevOps scene. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Chair Andi Mann, panelists discussed the patterns and anti-patterns of DevOps, and what it means to ‘do the right thing’ in a DevOps wa...
You are moving to the Cloud. The question is not if, it’s when. Now that your competitors are in the cloud and lapping you, your “when” better hurry up and get here. But saying and doing are two different things. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Robert Reeves, CTO of Datical, explained how DevOps can be your onramp to the cloud. By adopting simple, platform independent DevOps strategies, you can accelerate your move to the cloud. Spoiler Alert: He also makes sure you don’t forget the database in your adoption of DevOps and the cloud.
@DevOpsSummit taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City, and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley. The program, to be aired during the peak viewership season of the year, will have a major impac...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support, the Men & Mice Suite is taking overlay dexterity one step further into the cloud through full suppo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint Systems, Inc., a provider of innovative web and infrastructure monitoring solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's DevOps Summit at 18th Cloud Expo New York, which will take place June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into customer-critical services to help consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed for digital business, Catchpoint is the only end-user experience monitoring (EUM) platform that can...
@DevOpsSummit taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City, and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann returns to 'DevOps at Cloud Expo 2016' as Conference Chair The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. "DevOps is set to be one of the most profound disruptions to hit IT in decades," said Andi Mann. "It is a natural extension of cloud computing, and I have seen both firsthand and in independent research the fantastic results DevOps delivers. So I am excited to help the great team at @DevOpsSummit and Cloud Expo tell the world how they can leverage this emerging disrupt...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Addteq will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Addteq is one of the top 10 Platinum Atlassian Experts who specialize in DevOps, custom and continuous integration, automation, plugin development, and consulting for midsize and global firms. Addteq firmly believes that automation is essential for successful software releases. Addteq centers its products and services around this fundamentally unique approach to delivering complete software release manage...
SYS-CON Events announced today that FalconStor Software® Inc., a 15-year innovator of software-defined storage solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. FalconStor Software®, Inc. (NASDAQ: FALC) is a leading software-defined storage company offering a converged, hardware-agnostic, software-defined storage and data services platform. Its flagship solution FreeStor®, utilizes a horizontal architecture that unlocks a new world of storage opportunities, allowing IT managers, MSPs, and CS...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud communications, cloud connectivity, and cloud computing. Fusion's innovative, yet proven cloud solu...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound cha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Column Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Established in 1998, Column Technologies is a global technology solutions provider with over 400 employees, headquartered in the United States with offices in Canada, India, and the United Kingdom. Column Technologies provides “Best of Breed” technology solutions that automate the key DevOps principals and help our customers meet today’s DevOps and Digital Transformation challenges.
SYS-CON Events announced today that (ISC)²® (“ISC-squared”) will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Two leading non-profits focused on cloud and information security, (ISC)² and Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), developed the Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) certification to address the increased demand for cloud security expertise due to rapid growth in cloud. Recently named “The Next Big Thing”, the CCSP is the #1 certification survey respondents plan to earn in 2016, according to ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.