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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.

Most companies will require two or more teams to troubleshoot the many issues affecting end-user experience, but they really should be doing it in a collaborative approach. This allows for targeted troubleshooting and the ability to isolate the fault domain — whether it's a code-level defect, an infrastructure problem or a network issue. Let's look at how this helps each of the key groups who are responsible for network and application performance.

* Network Operations / Support. According to Gartner, "Network teams are often the initial starting point to triage application, server, security and storage issues." NPM provides visibility and reporting on applications from a network perspective, but specific application behaviors aren't typically detected, resulting in overlooked performance bottlenecks. As the first line of defense, it's critical to understand all performance problems impacting an application — whether it's bad QoS marking, unexpected bandwidth congestion, or when the problem is slow web service calls, poor performing code, or even too many database calls which is typically uncovered by APM data.

* Application Operations / Support. Remember, we are going for more than "visibility and reporting"; we are looking for actionable information to resolve any problem in minutes. Neglecting to understand how the underlying network and infrastructure impacts the application is a big no-no! If is important to understand why a particular transaction may stall within a particular tier of the network or infrastructure which, is typically exposed by NPM metrics. Lacking granularity and insight into the network and infrastructure itself can often cause a performance bottleneck to be misinterpreted as a network issue. This requires an accurate understanding of how applications are consuming system and network resources with the ability to distinguish between bandwidth contentions and latency, in addition to common server response time problems, such as, code exceptions, undetected memory leaks or slow SQL queries.

The "Ah-Hah" moment

Only a converged network and application performance management solution can provide an accurate picture of end-user experience and performance across the entire application delivery environment by carefully correlating metrics at the network level with rich application performance management data in real time.

When performance is viewed from a user's perspective with a clear picture of network and application performance, it creates transparency, and a common understanding about what is happening across the entire application delivery environment making it easy to find what's causing a performance problem and who's responsible for fixing it.

This approach helps speed up the troubleshooting process for all performance problems, and ensures that organizations can get to the root cause in minutes not weeks or months. Additionally, taking a collaborative approach to addressing issues quickly eliminates the finger pointing between different groups, not to mention those dreaded war rooms. But, most importantly, it identifies and prioritizes the biggest performance opportunities across domains to help make more effective decisions regarding IT Investments.


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