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Application Performance Monitoring (APM) has been my life and world for almost a decade. I used APM as a developer, sold it as a sales engineer, built it as a product manager and now I’m evangelizing it as a superhero. In that time, I’ve seen APM evolve from being a pure JavaEE monitoring tool in 2002 that a few developers might use, to a full blown IT monitoring platform in 2012 that aligns development, operations and the business.

Today, the APM market has advanced tenfold, with the help from analysts like Gartner, who research APM, and literally take hundreds of inquiry calls a year from buyers. As industry and technology trends evolve like SOA, Agile, web 2.0, cloud computing, devops and big data, so do the market requirements for APM.  For APM to deliver the promised benefits, it must enable users to monitor and manage modern applications. If modern buyers commonly require X, Y and Z from APM, then APM vendors must offer X, Y and Z to be considered relevant in the market, and so they’re recognized by analyst research and reports such as the Gartner Magic Quadrant.

For example, let’s take a look at the inclusion criteria changes from 2011 and 2012 for a vendor to be included in the Gartner Application Performance Monitoring Magic Quadrant:



Raising the APM bar:

The rational for Gartner’s change to their 2012 APM MQ inclusion criteria is available here. Thru client inquiries, Gartner has experienced more demand for APM across multiple buying centers. This now means a vendor must provide a broader set of APM functionality than ever before, supporting all five dimensions of APM rather than just a few.

Other new inclusion criteria I liked was that APM vendors must now provide Java or .NET code instrumentation in production, offer part or the entire solution as-a-service, and that customer references must now monitor over 200 application server instances in production. These items pretty much hit the sweet spots of AppDynamics, in that we monitor some of the largest production Java and .NET applications in the world, and we’re the only vendor to offer all 5 dimensions of APM in a single product, which can be deployed both as on-premise or via SaaS. Our largest Java deployment is over 6,000 nodes and our largest .NET deployment is now over 5,000 nodes – this is how easy our APM solution is to deploy and scale.

The adopton of public cloud, combined with the facts that APM buyers are looking to simplify their APM purchases, implementations and maintenance means that AppDynamics is well positioned to capitalize on these opportunities.

Gartner asked some very smart questions in this MQ:

What I specifically like about this year’s Magic Quadrant is that the evaluation criteria that Gartner required was almost an exact match to what we’ve seen recently from really smart buyers. Here are a couple examples of smart criteria they set that we’d recommend all buyers ask when evaluating APM.

1) Gartner asked the vendors to provide the number of new customers added so far in 2012 as well as the number of customers added in 2011.  This was smart because it shows which vendors are being chosen most often with modern buyers vs vendors who may have accumulated hundreds of customers back in 2005 but aren’t being chosen by modern evaluators.

2) Gartner asked the vendors to provide at least 10 customer references who were deployed APM on a minimum of 200 nodes.  This was a good question because it shows whether the APM solution is proven to scale to monitor large, complex, high traffic production environments.  I would guess that several APM vendors struggled to come up with 10 references of that size who were willing to be interviewed by Gartner.

Love or Hate the Gartner Magic Quadrant, every vendor wants to be part of it, because everyone wants to be known as a leader in their field. To do this, vendors must meet or exceed Gartner’s inclusion criteria as well as their very detailed requirements matrix, which puts pressure on each vendor to constantly innovate, execute and demonstrate a compelling vision.

AppDynamics named Leader in 2012:

What I’ve witnessed at AppDynamics since I joined back in 2011 has been nothing short of amazing. We’ve kicked a lot of ass in the last year and have had a lot of fun doing it. You could say AppDynamics being positioned as a leader in the 2012 MQ was perhaps the recognition we deserved for breaking the rules of traditional APM. We believe our MQ position represents a clear validation of our technology, tremendous customer success and disruption in the marketplace. We’re enormously proud and privileged at AppDynamics to be recognised as a leader, but we know our job isn’t done yet. We want to make APM easy to deploy, easy to use and affordable for everyone. We do this and they’ll be more organisations in the world leveraging the benefits of APM than ever before, which translates to faster applications for everyone. Not a bad thing at all.

You can sign up for a free 30-day trial of AppDynamics Pro right here, and see for yourself why we’ve become a leader in just two years.

App Man.

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