Competitive Edge: Application Performance Monitoring

Not too long ago, ExxonMobil came out with a plan where hardware is “plug and play”, open source, and non-proprietary. Where, if a device fails, you can source a replacement from any supplier, and simply plug it in, and the system keeps rolling along. This concept makes system upkeep and maintenance much easier and simpler to support.

Now, the idea of open and interoperable hardware wasn’t new, it has been around for decades, but has always been a bit of a pipe dream.  Until now that is, because with this push from ExxonMobil it is now getting closer to reality. “The goal is to have a commercially available plug and play system up and running by 2021”, said officials from the oil industry giant.

ExxonMobil have said that this is not just a project for them, that they want the entire manufacturing automation industry to adopt it. So, they formed a group to help propel the idea forward.

The long and short if it is that when this plan comes to fruition, hardware will become ubiquitous, and much more of a commodity that can work in any industry, at any time. However, where each end user organization can gain a competitive advantage, is in the applications and software running, learning, and sharing information from the devices. This is where Application Performance Monitoring (APM) comes into the picture. When monitoring the performance and availability of software applications, the goal is to detect and diagnose performance problems to ensure the process keeps moving forward with as much uptime, and therefore productivity, as possible.

While total industry adoption of the ExxonMobil plan may be years away, there is an increased reliance on software and applications today, and that means end users need visibility to understand the granular details of what is going within their systems.

With today’s emerging global landscape, manufacturers need to apply smarter and more connected technologies. Being able to monitor and understand what is occurring at an application level enables better worker, product, and financial performance. Just look at the results of a couple of studies. One from operations analytics provider, Evolven, shows failure to deliver application services due to data center downtime costs $180,000 per hour in lost revenue.

Another set of case studies from IBM showed a simplified APM strategy, based upon visibility, control, and automation, can reduce root cause analysis by 90 percent and yield more than 201 percent return on investment.

Taking Blinders Off

A recent Forrester Research report found that 64 percent of organizations surveyed have a fragmented, siloed approach to technology monitoring with solutions accumulated over time. The report showed companies often focus on monitoring individual technology domains or components, rather than taking a more integrated approach and monitoring all applications within their environment with a single system.

The Forrester report found that with this fragmented monitoring approach:

  • 55 percent of challenges and obstacles in meeting application performance and availability expectations was due to application complexity.
  • That in almost 33 percent of cases IT support only became aware of application issues through direct contact with the users experiencing them. A siloed approach to monitoring can detect technology component issues but does not show the business service impact in terms of lost revenue or reduced employee productivity.
  • Workforce productivity was negatively impacted. When an application or performance issue arises to a critical application, the largest impact was on business productivity.

The issues presented above are exacerbated by the inherent fluidity of modern environments. For example, the strength and capabilities of today’s cloud hosting and deployment technologies and micro services in container management systems mean that it is possible to integrate and deploy an application or service very quickly. This can make it quite difficult to stay informed of how these applications and services are performing and how they performance is impacting other elements of your environment.

So, how do you effectively manage your environment? To find out answer to this question and many others related to APM, download this free whitepaper.

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Frank WilliamsFrank Williams is the CEO of  Statseeker, a global provider of innovative network monitoring solutions for the IT enterprise and OT industrial market space. Frank holds a BSEE, augmented by many post graduate courses in management, leadership and technology. 

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