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Issue of May 2004 
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Application Performance Management

‘We co-relate the problem with the resolution’

As businesses shift to the utility model, Application Performance Management (APM) becomes an increasingly critical success factor. Shimon Alon, Executive Vice President, Veritas Software explains how APM can ensure superlative application performance vis-à-vis traditional approaches. by Brian Pereira

What is Application Performance Management and how does it fit into the Utility Computing model?

We believe APM is the most critical new space in the market. Traditionally, Veritas provided data availability and data protection. But it is now moving to a larger space that's known as Utility Computing. It's all about providing availability, performance, and automation.

APM enhances the performance of enterprise IT infrastructure to support business. It's the business that drives the application and the network; today, there is no business without applications. In many cases, the application is the business.

The performance of the application in any business is crucial. That's why Veritas is now focussing on helping businesses run its applications faster. Veritas is helping companies co-relate the problem with the resolution.

What are the performance issues with applications? Why do these arise?

It's because of the complexity of the infrastructure. When you build a multi-vendor environment of hardware and software, each focuses on their own interest. But none of them deals with the total integration of all the products.

One application vendor couldn't care more about the performance of another application (from another vendor), within the same environment.

So it's the lack of relationship among vendors—each one of them has its complex infrastructure in servers, storage, databases etc.

A transaction will have to pass through different tiers: the Web server, the J2EE server, the application server, database server. An application goes over different tiers—the more tiers people have, the more tears they shed!

We can help businesses that have application problems, by measuring performance, and providing the management—the ability to react and take action with the information.

The key word here is management, because there are many tools that the customer already has that provide him with information.

What kind of APM solution does Veritas have and how does it help in improving application performance?

We have an APM product called Veritas i3 Application Performance Management. It has three modules: Inform, Insight, and Indepth. Regardless of the type of application, it will look across all tiers. Insight measures the response time of these applications, and understands the real end-to-end user experience. It will co-relate the performance activity from user to storage (we call it from URL to SQL). It will isolate the performance problems by tier. Indepth collects performance data with minimal overhead.

It enables management, regular analysis, and reporting. It provides benefits all the way from service levels to recommendations, to performance reporting.

Our APM product can improve the performance of applications and databases by continuously monitoring for performance problems. When a bottleneck is detected, it will quickly diagnose the problem and offer advice on how to resolve it.

This product comes from Precise Software Solutions, which was acquired by Veritas on June 30, 2003.

What are the business drivers for this product?

I'd say the main one is business productivity. Many companies are doing server consolidation to reduce cost. There are a lot of upgrades being done. There are many Web-based applications being developed. There are SLAs, and above all, there are issues with quality.

Which verticals can benefit from APM?

The BFSI sector will certainly benefit; so will the telecom firms that make heavy use of billing applications. We also see potential in the manufacturing sector (with ERP and CRM applications). Others are government and hospitality.

In India I see companies more interested in application performance rather than take the 'stove pipe' approach.

I also saw many Indian companies using Web-based applications. So their IT infrastructure is changing.

How does your APM product compare with that of your closest competitors?

Any company that claims to be in this area has to look all the way from the application transaction point of view, all the way, across all tiers. One competitor's ‘APM product’ is really a network management solution.

They don't see any of the components of the application, such as the Java tier, such as the database tier, and the storage tier. They see the application on top of the network, but that's it. The network is only one component of their entire infrastructure.

So any company that doesn't have the ability to measure, Web server, Java server, database, storage—cannot call themselves an Application Performance Manag-ement vendor. Instead, they can brand their products as network monitoring applications, database monitoring, etc. What they really provide is system-based metrics and monitoring.

Comment on the integration of Veritas i3 with a network management solution.

It connects seamlessly to HP OpenView, Tivoli, and CA Unicenter. We worked closely with these vendors during the development.

Brian Pereira can be reached at brianp@networkmagazineindia.com

 
     
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