Welcome!

@DevOpsSummit Authors: Elizabeth White, XebiaLabs Blog, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Mehdi Daoudi

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Java IoT, @BigDataExpo

@DevOpsSummit: Article

IT Operations and Digital Disruption | @DevOps Summit #APM #DevOps

Are you driven primarily by infrastructure and application performance metrics, or by end-user experience?

Transaction-Centric NPM: Enabling IT/Business Collaboration

One of the consequences of digital disruption is that IT is propelled much closer to users, who expect applications and services to be available and to perform well anytime, anywhere, on any device. Communicating with the business now more than ever requires communicating with these users, and effective communication requires a clear understanding of their experience with the application services you deliver. But how well do you understand end-user experience? To answer that question, let's first define end-user experience as the transaction response time a user receives from an application service; click to glass seems to be the term in vogue. Alternatively, you can look at the question from a different perspective: How is the quality of your application services measured? Are you driven primarily by infrastructure and application performance metrics, or by end-user experience?

Whether your data center supports customer-facing applications that directly generate revenue or enterprise applications that automate and manage critical business processes - or, increasingly, both - application performance matters. It is the way your service quality is perceived by your users - consumers or employees. Business owners understand this intrinsically; poor ecommerce site performance results in lost revenue and damaged loyalty, while internally, poor application performance leads to decreased productivity and lost business opportunities.

APM's Three Aspects
Application performance monitoring can be segmented into three aspects, or disciplines:

  • Device monitoring provides critical visibility into the health of the infrastructure components - the servers, disks, switches, routers, firewalls, desktops, etc. required to deliver application services.
  • Application monitoring provides visibility into critical application components, such as application containers, methods, databases, APIs, etc.
  • End-user experience monitoring, within its performance context, provides visibility into user productivity, and provides a top-down business-centric perspective of both device and application performance.

It's clear that the first two aspects - device and application monitoring - are fundamentally important. We should also be able to agree that, to answer our earlier question about service quality, you must also measure the end-user's experience. When users complain, they speak in terms of transaction speed, not network latency, interface utilization, database queries, java server pages, or CPU speed. (Well, if you're on the network team, you'll claim they often will say the network is slow, but we generally know better.)

The user's experience can be considered the intersection between business metrics (productivity) and IT metrics (device and application); it's the one metric both groups have in common.

Most of us are pretty good at device and application monitoring; this is often not the case when we consider end-user experience monitoring. So what are the penalties if you're not measuring end-user experience?'

  • You won't know users are having a problem until they call you (unless something catastrophic happens).
  • You will chase after problems that don't affect users (because you're monitoring dozens, or hundreds, of metrics of varying impact).
  • You won't have a description of the problem that matches your metrics (and therefore don't have a validated starting point for troubleshooting).
  • You won't know when or if you've resolved the problem (without asking the users).

At Cisco Live this week, an IT manager told me of his frustration with all-too-frequent 3 a.m. infrastructure or application alerts: should he get up and investigate? He had no idea if the problem of the moment had any impact on users. Only by adopting end-user experience monitoring was he able to qualify and prioritize his response.

Don't We Already Measure End-User Experience?
It's true that many applications- particularly those based on Java and .NET platforms - may already be instrumented with APM agents, some of which provide exactly this insight into end-user experience. However:

  • These APM solutions are often not used by operations teams
  • Not all Java and .NET apps will be instrumented (and if you're not using Dynatrace, you might only be sampling transactions)
  • Many application architectures don't lend themselves to agent-based instrumentation

IT operations teams therefore usually rely on more traditional infrastructure-centric device and network monitoring solutions. The rise of application-awareness (primarily in Application Aware Network Performance Monitoring - AA NPM - solutions, but also in device management offerings) has given IT varying degrees of insight into application behavior - and sometimes a degree of insight into application performance. However, without visibility into end-user experience, without a user transaction-centric starting point, these tools do little to foster the communication and collaboration we mentioned earlier. As I pointed out in a recent webcast called the Top Five Benefits of Transaction-Centric NPM, AA NPM solutions are generally quite limited in their ability to measure actual end-user experience, especially across a broad range of application architectures. Instead, these tools use key infrastructure measurements such as network latency, packet loss, jitter, etc., as indicators or hints of application performance as experienced by end users. These metrics may be quite meaningful to IT specialists, but they aren't end-user experience and don't provide a basis for effective communication.

Click here for the full article.

More Stories By Gary Kaiser

Gary Kaiser is a Subject Matter Expert in Network Performance Analytics at Dynatrace, responsible for DC RUM’s technical marketing programs. He is a co-inventor of multiple performance analysis features, and continues to champion the value of network performance analytics. He is the author of Network Application Performance Analysis (WalrusInk, 2014).

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@DevOpsSummit Stories
In IT, we sometimes coin terms for things before we know exactly what they are and how they’ll be used. The resulting terms may capture a common set of aspirations and goals – as “cloud” did broadly for on-demand, self-service, and flexible computing. But such a term can also lump together diverse and even competing practices, technologies, and priorities to the point where important distinctions are glossed over and lost.
Most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes a lot of work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reduction in cost and increase in speed.
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chief Architect at Cedexis, covered strategies for orchestrating global traffic achieving the highest-quality end-user experience while spanning multiple clouds and data centers and reacting at the velocity of modern development teams.
"At the keynote this morning we spoke about the value proposition of Nutanix, of having a DevOps culture and a mindset, and the business outcomes of achieving agility and scale, which everybody here is trying to accomplish," noted Mark Lavi, DevOps Solution Architect at Nutanix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, discussed how to use Kubernetes to set up a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace. His expertise is in automating deployment, management, and problem resolution in these environments, allowing his teams to run large transactional applications with high availability and the speed the consumer demands.
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and controlling infrastructure. The rise of Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) is part of that redefinition of operations vs development roles in organizations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Massive Networks mission is simple. To help your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions. Improve your customer's experience with outstanding connections to your cloud.
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the works because of misaligned incentives.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big Data are challenging the existing design patterns of the Data Center. The increase in complexity of managing legacy systems alongside new systems is beyond the ability of most IT departments. This leads to multiple tiers of storage and high economic costs, during a time in which IT is expected to do more with less.
Given the popularity of the containers, further investment in the telco/cable industry is needed to transition existing VM-based solutions to containerized cloud native deployments. The networking architecture of the solution isolates the network traffic into different network planes (e.g., management, control, and media). This naturally makes support for multiple interfaces in container orchestration engines an indispensable requirement.
As many know, the first generation of Cloud Management Platform (CMP) solutions were designed for managing virtual infrastructure (IaaS) and traditional applications. But that’s no longer enough to satisfy evolving and complex business requirements. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, Embotics CTO, will explore how next-generation CMPs ensure organizations can manage cloud-native and microservice-based application architectures, while also facilitating agile DevOps methodology. He will explain how automation, orchestration and governance are fundamental to managing today’s hybrid cloud environments and are critical for digital businesses to deliver services faster, with better user experience and higher quality, all while saving money.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the application economy. With CA software at the center of their IT strategy, organizations can leverage the technology that changes the way we live - from the data center to the mobile device. CA's software and solutions help customers thrive in the new application economy by delivering the means to deploy, monitor and secure their applications and infrastructure.
While some vendors scramble to create and sell you a fancy solution for monitoring your spanking new Amazon Lambdas, hear how you can do it on the cheap using just built-in Java APIs yourself. By exploiting a little-known fact that Lambdas aren’t exactly single-threaded, you can effectively identify hot spots in your serverless code. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Dave Martin, Product owner at CA Technologies, will give a live demonstration and code walkthrough, showing how to overcome the challenges of monitoring S3 and RDS. This presentation will provide an overview of necessary Amazon Lambda concepts and discus how to integrate the monitoring data with other tools.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the application economy.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st 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 change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise...
As more and more companies are making the shift from on-premises to public cloud, the standard approach to DevOps is evolving. From encryption, compliance and regulations like GDPR, security in the cloud has become a hot topic. Many DevOps-focused companies have hired dedicated staff to fulfill these requirements, often creating further siloes, complexity and cost. This session aims to highlight existing DevOps cultural approaches, tooling and how security can be wrapped in every facet of the build and release cycle and how to get sales and customer facing resources wrapped in.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calligo has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calligo is an innovative cloud service provider offering mid-sized companies the highest levels of data privacy. Calligo offers unparalleled application performance guarantees, commercial flexibility and a personalized support service from its globally located cloud platforms. Through its four pillars of focus, Calligo delivers a platform that businesses can trust to deliver the high level of service and protection they expect and is lacking in many cloud offerings.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Elastifile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Elastifile Cloud File System (ECFS) is software-defined data infrastructure designed for seamless and efficient management of dynamic workloads across heterogeneous environments. Elastifile provides the architecture needed to optimize your hybrid cloud environment, by facilitating efficient data access across cloud and on-premises boundaries - with all the advantages of public IaaS everywhere.
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory?
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Launched in 2016, Cloudistics helps anyone bring the power of the cloud to the data center in an easy-to-use, on- premises cloud platform that automatically provides high performance resources for all types of applications: Docker, Splunk, Hadoop, Citrix® VDI, and many other high performance workloads. With no onsite controllers to install or maintain, it’s easy to scale across a large site or multiple locations – all from a single, centralized dashboard.
With Cloud Foundry you can easily deploy and use apps utilizing websocket technology, but not everybody realizes that scaling them out is not that trivial. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Roman Swoszowski, CTO and VP, Cloud Foundry Services, at Grape Up, will show you an example of how to deal with this issue. He will demonstrate a cloud-native Spring Boot app running in Cloud Foundry and communicating with clients over websocket protocol that can be easily scaled horizontally and coordinate communication between multiple instances by using an additional message broker.
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo taking place Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Golden Gate University will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Since 1901, non-profit Golden Gate University (GGU) has been helping adults achieve their professional goals by providing high quality, practice-based undergraduate and graduate educational programs in law, taxation, business and related professions. Many of its courses are taught by faculty actively working in their field of expertise, providing students with skills that can be applied immediately. The new MS in Business Analytics, like most of its programs, is available fully online or in-person in downtown SF.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Golden Gate University will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Since 1901, non-profit Golden Gate University (GGU) has been helping adults achieve their professional goals by providing high quality, practice-based undergraduate and graduate educational programs in law, taxation, business and related professions. Many of its courses are taught by faculty actively working in their field of expertise, providing students with skills that can be applied immediately. The new MS in Business Analytics, like most of its programs, is available fully online or in-person in downtown SF.
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.