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The benefits of converged network and application performance management

Matt Zanderigo | July 14, 2014
This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.

This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.

A converged Application Performance Management (APM) and Network Performance Management (NPM) solution gives organizations actionable information to resolve the most challenging performance concerns in minutes — it doesn't matter if the slowness originates in the network, infrastructure, application logic, servers, database or other areas that compromise performance.

The benefits include seeing how the system and network resources are serving all applications, and deep visibility at the code-level into how critical applications work. No longer will organizations need to juggle between multiple interfaces and different vendor tools to get to the root cause of an issue that is impacting users' performance.

Today, most companies have a large collection of monitoring tools that were originally purchased to address specific point challenges or provide visibility based on their needs at the time. Point tools that look at one area as separate entities, such as applications, networks, databases or servers, were fine in the past, but in today's environment they can be doing a disservice.

These days, the elements in an application delivery environment are so intertwined that it can be difficult to find what's causing a performance problem without a converged view. It gets more complicated when you add in cloud technologies or third-party services, virtualization, and active optimization technologies.

A typical example: the IT department at Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital Center is responsible for a network with more than 5,000 users and a mix of LAN and inter-hospital WAN links, as well as hundreds of different applications ranging from patient admission and other database-oriented systems to a PACS (Picture Archiving and Com­munication System) that can deliver multi-hundred-megabyte radiological images to workstations throughout the network.

IT depends on device-oriented network management systems such as HP OpenView for fault management, and CiscoWorks for utilization information. Unfortunately, they lacked a management solution that would give them an end-to-end view of network and application activity. "After an experience with the PACS system, where it took three different teams of outside consultants to pinpoint a server problem that had been blamed on the network, we realized we needed something that would give us better insight into the conversations taking place across the network, and what the various computers were doing," says Ben Aheto, network manager for Bellevue. "Without that information, we were spending far too much time defending the network from the typical the network is slow' complaints."

By design, siloed or point monitoring tools only look at one piece of the overall picture and do not understand the interdependencies between elements, which are crucial to solving performance problems. This is why, according to Forrester, 31% of performance issues take more than a month to resolve or are never resolved.


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