The updates, announced this week, will affect how customers build and deploy applications, says Steve Tack, CTO of Compuware's APM business unit. "Customers are working a lot more with native mobile applications ... as well as the sheer proliferation of different browser types and a global base of customers, partners and employees," he says. "They've lost the insight into the relationship between performance and user behavior."
As users become more mobile and applications more diverse, customers want a better understanding of how performance relates to business results, he explains. "Without visibility to users at the edge, there is a blind spot," Tack says, citing conversion or abandonment rates as areas of concern.
He says customer feedback shows that the user experience is the most critical part of measurement and the key to driving those transactions. Compuware's newly announced User Experience Management tool, with analytics and transaction visibility, aims to address performance management "at the edge of the Internet."
The focus on mobile monitoring in the APM tools is particularly interesting, notes Julie Craig, a research director at Enterprise Management Associates. "Compuware is one of the first major vendors to offer a single solution for Web performance monitoring across traditional Web and mobile Web," she says. "Both the Gomez and dynaTrace PurePath solutions support mobile, and with the explosion of mobile applications, this is shaping up as an essential capability for APM toolsets."
Because so much innovation is now taking place in the cloud, customers also need stable applications for their public- and private-cloud technologies, Tack says.
"There is a lot of value from what you can get from Amazon EC2 or Microsoft Azure in terms of elasticity, but [the cloud] introduces new performance challenges when you don't have control over the data center," she says. "What becomes top of mind is that it's all about the app" and how to control the transactional aspect that the application delivers.
Since most of today's applications are distributed across multiple infrastructure elements, it isn't enough to monitor infrastructure alone--users have to be able to see the entire application end-to-end, Craig says. And even if customers use a cloud application like SugarCRM, for example, the end-to-end application also includes network and desktop monitoring, at minimum. "APM vendors are developing solutions that monitor public cloud in context to the end-to-end application--giving customers the 'big picture' they can't get from the information the cloud vendor provides alone."
Compuware has also released dynaTrace Data Center Real User Monitoring, which provides analytics and real-time status on performance availability and the business impact of applications for end users.
The company has also set its sights on big data--its dynaTrace Enterprise is geared at providing visibility into Cassandra NoSQL and Hadoop Map/Reduce big data environments.
"From the APM perspective, the ability to process big data as part of application monitoring and profiling and as part of auto-generated service models is very important," says Craig. "Information from logs, data streams, messages and other sources is becoming increasingly important to automating the APM process and producing real-time APM information." She says other suite vendors--most notably, IBM--have been able to process this kind of information for some time, but this capability is lacking in many competing APM tools.
On the whole, Craig says, the Compuware upgrades have several differentiators in terms of APM coverage. One is comprehensive coverage for a variety of applications and enterprise use cases, and another is ease of use. She says dynaTrace "has always been known for its quick installation and time to value, as are the cloud-based Gomez solutions." With the upgrades, Compuware is focusing on ease of use for mobile monitoring as well, she says. "It has also introduced a more unified monitoring platform incorporating on-premise, cloud and now mobile applications."