Sudoku may be the latest paper-and-pencil craze, but application-performance management is the puzzle driving IT managers nuts. Application architectures are complicated, and data center virtualization adds complexity to the quagmire of performance management. If your bottom line depends on application speed and user satisfaction, application performance is critical--and duct-taping overlapping tools together is not an adequate strategy. APM vendors want to deliver predictive application performance based on new, holistic approaches that could offer better, faster and more reliable monitoring, but how can your organization be sure of a good fit?
Unlike many first-generation products that depend on a manual, labor-intensive approach, products like Hewlett-Packard's Mercury Application Mapping strive to discover and map relationships between apps and underlying infrastructure automatically. Although few other APM vendors offer this mapping feature, products from Digital Fuel Technologies, Integrien, Oblicore and OpTier are working to fill this gap or can act as an overall consolidation points for APM data from a variety of vendors.
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Once a problem has been identified, holistic APM should take corrective actions to resolve performance issues or to integrate with other tools that can, such as those from Opalis Software, Opsware/iConclude or RealOps. This may include allocating additional network bandwidth, processing capability on the server, or even rolling back configuration changes. Without corrective-action capability, organizations must be content with fast problem identification and notification. This is a big step forward in many cases, but not ideal.