Choosing the Right APM Vendor(s) for Your Cloud Environment

Who measures performance where and why it matters

As is the fashion, application performance management vendors are now speaking "cloud". But each tool is unique, and it is challenging to see the big picture of how the current crop of APM tools fits into the often complex cloud environment. So, to identify the right application performance measurement toolkit for different situations, we have taken a stab at placing APM vendor tools into the cloud services "geography" framework we introduced in our last posting. The APM cloud framework (see below) shows where to measure application performance based on whether your cloud service(s) are at the back end and/or at the front end of your application delivery system. We trust our readers to tell us if we got it right.

NetForecast APM Framework for Cloud Environments

APM Tools for User-facing Cloud Services

When you use cloud services to augment what is directly shown to the users, such as a CDN that helps distribute your content, or a third party that delivers content directly to your users, your primary point of measurement needs to be at the end user. To measure the end-user experience, you must instrument the actual user performing real transactions, as do the offerings in list A below, and/or you must deploy a device that serves as a user surrogate to create synthetic transactions simulating the user as do the tools in list B.

A) Tools for Measuring at the User

  • New Relic
  • CompuWare dynaTrace
  • CA Wily Customer Experience Manager
  • Aternity Frontline Performance Intelligence
  • Apica Watch

B) Tools for Measuring at a User-surrogate Device

  • CompuWare Gomez
  • Keynote
  • AlertSite (SmartBear Software)
  • CA Wily Customer Experience Manager
  • OPNET AppResponse Xpert
  • HP Business Process Monitor (PBM)
  • Apica WebPerformance

APM Tools for Backend-facing Cloud Services

When you use cloud computing to expand or replace your backend servers, your primary measurement point is where the traffic goes to/from the cloud service at your data center. This measurement can be done using probes in the data center, or by instrumenting the last server in the data center before the transaction leaves to the cloud. There is an impressive array of tools designed for this purpose, as list C below illustrates.

C) Tools for Measuring at Your Data Center

  • Quest Software Foglight
  • CA Wily Introscope
  • CA NetQoS
  • NetScout nGenius
  • NetIQ AppManager
  • Riverbed Cascade
  • IBM Tivoli
  • HP Real User Monitor (RUM)
  • AppDynamics
  • Precise Transaction Performance Management
  • Visual Network Systems Visual Performance Manager
  • ASG Software Application Portfolio Analysis
  • BMC End User Experience Management

APM Tools for All-Cloud Services

If you have a cloud in both directions and rent your server at a hosting facility, the primary place to instrument is the server. Very smart server instrumentation with a desktop component is the only way to get a complete picture. Here is where life gets interesting. Although the software-based solutions in list C can be modified to run on virtual machines, the lineup of tools to meet this need is not yet well enough developed for us to populate list D below. Which tools, if any, can effectively fill this APM gap today? We ask APM vendors to pipe up and help us flesh out the list.

D) Tools for Measuring at the Cloud Server

  • ???

We rely on all our readers to tell us if we are on the mark, off the mark, or off the wall in our conclusions. What do you think?

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.