Click here to close now.

Welcome!

DevOps Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Lori MacVittie, Mike Kavis, Elizabeth White, ScriptRock Blog

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
SYS-CON Events announced today that FierceDevOps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. FierceDevOps keeps software developers and IT operations personnel updated on the latest news and trends around the rapidly evolving role of the traditional IT worker.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgenia will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between Personal and Professional Social, Mobile and Cloud user experiences, our solutions help large and medium-sized organizations dr...
WSM International has launched a DevOps services division that offers assessment, consulting and implementation to large enterprises and organizations with complex infrastructures. The concept of DevOps is to blend information technology (IT) software development with operations to optimize the computing infrastructure according to the specific needs of the organization. According to a recent press release from Gartner, "By 2016, DevOps will evolve from a niche strategy employed by large cloud providers to a mainstream strategy employed by 25 percent of Global 2000 organizations."
SYS-CON Events announced today that WSM International (WSM), the world’s leading cloud and server migration services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. WSM is a solutions integrator with a core focus on cloud and server migration, transformation and DevOps services.
The speed of software changes in growing and large scale rapid-paced DevOps environments presents a challenge for continuous testing. Many organizations struggle to get this right. Practices that work for small scale continuous testing may not be sufficient as the requirements grow. In his session at DevOps Summit, Marc Hornbeek, Sr. Solutions Architect of DevOps continuous test solutions at Spirent Communications, will explain the best practices of continuous testing at high scale, which is relevant to small scale DevOps, and if there is an expectation of growth as the number of build targe...
Chef and Canonical announced a partnership to integrate and distribute Chef with Ubuntu. Canonical is integrating the Chef automation platform with Canonical's Machine-As-A-Service (MAAS), enabling users to automate the provisioning, configuration and deployment of bare metal compute resources in the data center. Canonical is packaging Chef 12 server in upcoming distributions of its Ubuntu open source operating system and will provide commercial support for Chef within its user base.
DevOps is all the rage these days and with good reason as it promises to reduce the time-to-market for new applications. It also promises to improve change management, allowing teams to deploy changes to their applications quickly and efficiently. However, DevOps isn’t something you buy, install, or implement; rather it is the symptom of an appropriate organizational system. In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Thiele, EVP, Data Center Technologies at SUPERNAP International, will discuss how to get to the right organizational model that will allow DevOps practices to flourish.
DevOps is a hot topic. It seems that everyone is talking about it. Some have built business models around DevOps-related tools and themes. There are conferences and trade shows dedicated to DevOps-strategies and techniques. Some people have even made their careers around talking about it. In light of all of that, I find it chuckle-worthy that very few people actually know what DevOps is (just follow #devops on Twitter for proof.) I am not going to be one of many trying to create a buzzword-infested definition of DevOps to suit my particular agenda. Instead, I’d like to talk about what DevOps i...
Hosted PaaS providers have given independent developers and startups huge advantages in efficiency and reduced time-to-market over their more process-bound counterparts in enterprises. Software frameworks are now available that allow enterprise IT departments to provide these same advantages for developers in their own organization. In his workshop session at DevOps Summit, Troy Topnik, ActiveState’s Technical Product Manager, will show how on-prem or cloud-hosted Private PaaS can enable organizations to use this technology on their own infrastructure, and introduce efficient development wor...
The world's leading Cloud event, Cloud Expo has launched Microservices Journal on the SYS-CON.com portal, featuring over 19,000 original articles, news stories, features, and blog entries. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. Microservices Journal offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. Follow new article posts on Twitter at @MicroservicesE
In comparison to Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) has experienced a slower rate of adoption. However, PaaS is coming into its own as evidenced by increased usage and top technology companies such as HP and IBM supporting open source projects like Cloud Foundry by bringing their own PaaS to market. PaaS is important because apps are an important part of our lives. With this relatively new dependency on web and mobile applications, organizations need to find a way to automate their app deployment and management process just to sta...
SYS-CON Events announced today that the DevOps Institute has been named “Association Sponsor” of SYS-CON's DevOps Summit, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The DevOps Institute provides enterprise level training and certification. Working with thought leaders from the DevOps community, the IT Service Management field and the IT training market, the DevOps Institute is setting the standard in quality for DevOps education and training.
SYS-CON Events announced today the IoT Bootcamp – Jumpstart Your IoT Strategy, being held June 9–10, 2015, in conjunction with 16th Cloud Expo and Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Javits Center in New York City. This is your chance to jumpstart your IoT strategy. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but includes hands-on demos and walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of Do-It-Yourself IoT platforms including Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark and Intel Edison. You will also get an overview of cloud technologies s...
SYS-CON Events announced today the DevOps Foundation Certification Course, being held June ?, 2015, in conjunction with DevOps Summit and 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. This sixteen (16) hour course provides an introduction to DevOps – the cultural and professional movement that stresses communication, collaboration, integration and automation in order to improve the flow of work between software developers and IT operations professionals. Improved workflows will result in an improved ability to design, develop, deploy and operate software and services faster.
Cloud computing is changing the way we look at IT costs, according to industry experts on a recent Cloud Luminary Fireside Chat panel discussion. Enterprise IT, traditionally viewed as a cost center, now plays a central role in the delivery of software-driven goods and services. Therefore, companies need to understand their cloud utilization and resulting costs in order to ensure profitability on their business offerings. Led by Bernard Golden, this fireside chat offers valuable insights on how organizations can get a better handle on their use of cloud computing.
Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York June 9-11 will find fresh new content in a new track called PaaS | Containers & Microservices Containers are not being considered for the first time by the cloud community, but a current era of re-consideration has pushed them to the top of the cloud agenda. With the launch of Docker's initial release in March of 2013, interest was revved up several notches. Then late last...
SOA Software has changed its name to Akana. With roots in Web Services and SOA Governance, Akana has established itself as a leader in API Management and is expanding into cloud integration as an alternative to the traditional heavyweight enterprise service bus (ESB). The company recently announced that it achieved more than 90% year-over-year growth. As Akana, the company now addresses the evolution and diversification of SOA, unifying security, management, and DevOps across SOA, APIs, microservices, and more.
It's 2:15pm on a Friday, and I'm sitting in the keynote hall at PyCon 2013 fidgeting through a succession of lightning talks that have very little relevance to my life. Topics like "Python code coverage techniques" (ho-hum) and "Controlling Christmas lights with Python” (yawn - I wonder if there's anything new on Hacker News)...when Solomon Hykes takes the stage, unveils Docker, and the world shifts. If you haven't seen it yet, you should watch the video of Solomon's Pycon The Future of Linux Containers talk that spurred a revolution. It's short, but definitely worth the five minutes. Right a...
The webinar, hosted by XebiaLabs, will feature 4 experts including Special Host Gene Kim, author of The Phoenix Project, along with IT thought leaders Gary Gruver, Randy Shoup and XebiaLabs' Andrew Phillips. The panel brings more than 30 years of collective experience surrounding microservices transformations at major companies including Google, eBay and Tripwire. "The story around microservices and containers is pretty compelling and the attraction of more flexibility is obviously alluring," said panelist Andrew Phillips, XebiaLabs VP of product management. "But deploying a 'Hello World' a...
Sematext is a globally distributed organization that builds innovative Cloud and On Premises solutions for performance monitoring, alerting and anomaly detection (SPM), log management and analytics (Logsene), and search analytics (SSA). We also provide Search and Big Data consulting services and offer 24/7 production support for Solr and Elasticsearch.
Modern Systems announced completion of a successful project with its new Rapid Program Modernization (eavRPMa"c) software. The eavRPMa"c technology architecturally transforms legacy applications, enabling faster feature development and reducing time-to-market for critical software updates. Working with Modern Systems, the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) leveraged eavRPMa"c to transform its Student Information System from Software AG's Natural syntax to a modern application leveraging C# and SQL Server. The newly modernized system enabled UCSB to leverage agile development me...
Plutora provides enterprise release management and test environment SaaS solutions to clients in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Leading companies across a variety of industries, including financial services, telecommunications, retail, pharmaceutical and media, rely on Plutora's SaaS solutions to orchestrate releases and environments faster and with integrity. Products include Plutora Release Manager, Plutora Test Environment Manager and Plutora Deployment Manager.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SafeLogic has been named “Bag Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo® New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. SafeLogic provides security products for applications in mobile and server/appliance environments. SafeLogic’s flagship product CryptoComply is a FIPS 140-2 validated cryptographic engine designed to secure data on servers, workstations, appliances, mobile devices, and in the Cloud.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cisco, the worldwide leader in IT that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cisco makes amazing things happen by connecting the unconnected. Cisco has shaped the future of the Internet by becoming the worldwide leader in transforming how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Cisco and our partners are building the platform for the Internet of Everything by connecting the...
WSM International is launching a DevOps services division that offers assessment, consulting and implementation to large enterprises and organizations with complex infrastructures. This is the first independent services company to create a dedicated practice to help organizations looking to transition to the DevOps model. The concept of DevOps is to blend information technology (IT) software development with operations to optimize the computing infrastructure according to the specific needs of the organization. According to a recent press release (www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2999017) from Gar...