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Unified Monitoring: This Is What The Future Looks Like

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Seven years ago, when we founded this company, we had a vision of “one solution to rule them all” for software monitoring and application intelligence — one comprehensive platform that would capture user experience on any device, anywhere; trace business transaction performance across an entire application ecosystem; equip teams to quickly identify and resolve issues; correlate application data with business outcomes (at last!); and do it all through a single intuitive, unified interface that would help run and grow the business.

With AppDynamics Unified Monitoring, introduced with our Summer ’15 Release, that vision comes to life, now.

Now, one single solution traces business transactions from the end user all the way through the backend, including everything in between, whether it’s servers, databases, third-party API calls, Docker containers, whatever, and pinpoints the source of application issues in real time, at the code level. So teams can act quickly to resolve issues before they impact the user and the business.

“One solution to rule them all”

Recent research from EMA says that 65 percent of enterprises employ 10 or more individual monitoring tools to keep tabs on the health of their applications and associated infrastructure. With so many tools, how do you know where to look first? How do you connect the dots to know which issues are impacting application performance, and which are not? Few things perform at 100 percent, 100 percent of the time. So how do you know if it’s that minor degradation in database performance that’s slowing down your checkout process and spiking user abandonment? Or is it a server hiccup? Or a slow SQL query? (This might be why it takes 77 percent of enterprises more than five people-hours to fix the average performance issue, according to the same EMA study.)

Some enterprise IT departments try to duct-tape their siloed tools together to create some kind of broader vision, but it’s impossible to avoid the blind spots and limitations of each, and hard to get a single, accurate picture of everything that’s impacting your application. We call this “Frankenmonitoring,” because it’s a stitched-together ‘bottoms up’ monster of a monitoring solution. A certain private equity merger in the APM market announced last week comes to mind. That approach of cobbling together disparate tools and technologies is the exact opposite of our elegant top down Unified Monitoring solution which leverages a single integrated code base to tag and follow the business transaction to ensure and optimize customer experience.

At AppDynamics, we recognized from the beginning that the only way to create a truly unified monitoring solution was to build it from the ground up. And that’s exactly what we did, to provide comprehensive, end-to-end, application-centric monitoring in context of business transactions.

Why the business transaction matters

If you’re at all familiar with AppDynamics, you know we spend a lot of time talking, writing and generally waxing poetic about business transactions. We do that with good reason, because we believe it’s the heart of the most effective monitoring strategies, and it’s central to our Unified Monitoring solution.

Think about it. You’re not really monitoring code, or infrastructure, or even users. What would that tell you? Monitoring these elements in isolation will not provide you with the insights that you need to know  you’re successfully serving the user and generating positive results for your bottom line.

The user is only interested in the experience and performance of the the transaction they’re trying to complete, whether it’s a simple status update or a multi-step e-commerce interaction. Therefore what IT operations should focus on is the how the application and its supporting infrastructure — servers, databases, containers, microservices, etc. — handles the transaction. Because what matters most to the enterprise is to provide great customer experience and enable customers to successfully execute transactions. Because successful transactions are money in the bank.

And from a practical standpoint, transactions are the one thing that encompass the entire infrastructure, and so are the bellwethers for performance of everything. So when your monitoring focuses on business transactions, you can quickly identify and resolve the issues that impact users and the business, wherever they occur.

Welcome to the future of monitoring

AppDynamics Unified Monitoring is the industry’s first application-centric, integrated monitoring platform that traces every transaction, both synchronous and asynchronous, from end user through the entire application environment. It’s built to work as one solution, with one UI, one data platform, one installation.

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What exactly does it monitor? Pretty much everything that impacts business transactions: Applications and browsers, code, databases, servers, VMs, containers, storage, the network, third-party services/APIs, logs. As part of our Unified Monitoring solution, we’ve added Browser Synthetic Monitoring (beta); introduced enhanced and more powerful Server Monitoring (beta); and added support for Python applications, Apache Web Servers, and single-page Angular.js applications. Amazon Web Services and Docker containers are supported. And of course, we’ve tweaked and enhanced various functionality throughout the platform.

Role-relevant views.

While the great strength of Unified Monitoring is its comprehensive view of applications and their transactions, no matter how widely distributed or complex, it also provides situationally aware views and reports. Application support teams can get a consolidated view of potential problems, which they can use to forward the issue to the right experts. And specialists can see and get detailed data on whatever links in the chain are their responsibility — the database team can drill into detailed database stats, for example, in addition to having the big-picture ecosystem view. And finally, teams can come together in a Virtual War Room when needed for coordinated crisis management or ongoing performance optimization.

And it’s easy!

You have flexible deployment options with Unified Monitoring: on-premises, SaaS, or hybrid. There’s just one installation, with minimal manual configuration. Unified Monitoring auto-discovers and maps complex transaction flows, and automatically updates when there are changes. It automatically, dynamically determines performance baselines, and uses them as a basis for reporting. And it consumes less than two percent overhead, so it’s production-ready out of the box.

The days of toolkits heavy with single-purpose, siloed tools are fast coming to an end. AppDynamics Unified Monitoring is here to accelerate their demise, with a comprehensive solution that provides a single, unified, end-to-end view of what matters most: the success of business transactions, resulting in satisfied users and positive business outcomes.

The post Unified Monitoring: This Is What The Future Looks Like appeared first on Application Performance Monitoring Blog | AppDynamics.

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