APM: Help Overcome Custom Application Management Issues

Regardless of the economic climate, every business that deploys custom applications should assess their APM needs to protect their business

There are many use cases for custom applications, but only one reason why they are deployed: something standard will not suffice.

When we are launching a new type of digital business, or if the operations are far too complex for an existing business application, we need at least one custom application. Regardless of the business model, whether it’s a startup food delivery service, an online shopping app, or an app designed to manage a complex enterprise supply chain , we need custom applications. And this need is only accelerating over time, with the explosion of custom application deployment.

But managing custom apps comes with complications, even before the pandemic exacerbates those complications. Custom applications are written on the latest architectures. In the past, application code was monolithic, one-piece. Modern applications are built from dynamically linked services – a series of small nested parts – and each of these parts is responsible for far less than previous monolithic applications.

Unlike simple one-to-one relationships between applications and infrastructure, modern applications and their supporting environments exhibit layered and nuanced arrangements from an interaction perspective.

Modern applications (and their supporting infrastructure) never stop being dynamic. Services change and are constantly reconfigured. They are moved and redeployed like so many LEGO pieces under robotic control. Eventually, these operations add up to hundreds or thousands or even millions of separately executable pieces of code. And to be clear, the custom app continues to evolve long after it’s released into production. It is an eternal deployment.

It’s great when it works – quick to evaluate, easy to build and deploy. But it can be terrifying when something goes wrong due to the increased complexity, heterogeneity, and dynamism. And the whole operation should be handled by you, while you work from home.

2 scenarios caused by COVID-19

Custom applications generally need to be highly available. They must provide an engaging user experience, which results in end-to-end application performance, even when demand is unpredictable. The negative consequences of poor performance include loss of revenue, market share, customers, and damage to the company’s reputation in the market.

Several new scenarios are occurring as a result of the COVID-19 era.

Here are the two main ones:

COVID-19 accelerates unpredictable demand

From a performance perspective, the biggest challenge today is unpredictable demand. The unpredictable demand for transactional work from applications causes bottlenecks. Bottlenecks, in turn, lead to slowdowns or crashes.

Add to that, some applications that weren’t considered business critical before this crisis are now far more important than just a few months ago. Creators of software designed to help businesses keep going, such as video conferencing software, are in high demand. While it’s good to experience success, it’s also chaotic when the spike is unexpected.

Unpredictable demand causes slowdowns. It’s not easy to get the team together and understand why customers are reporting, “your website is slow” or “some things aren’t working.” Your remote web application support team (which may be your e-commerce support team for a revenue-generating site) has no idea how to start resolving these issues based on general descriptions of the problems.

Meanwhile, other apps that were once in demand, such as travel sites, are nearly idle. Staff at these companies are likely creating busy work wondering how long this new paradigm will last. Eventually, someone will have to cut costs.

COVID-19 makes you reduce your costs

The global economy has taken a huge hit. I’ve been around long enough to see this trend three times: When the economy crashes, companies cut costs — and they tend to do it with an ax, not a scalpel.

If you have a travel site, demand is down. How do you know where to cut costs? How can you identify exactly how much infrastructure resources are needed to meet the drop in demand? And can you safely recall subscriptions for cloud resources such as Amazon or Azure?

Manage the crisis with APM

To manage during these times, you need to measure what you need to manage. You need Application Performance Management (APM), a monitoring class focused on the performance of the application itself, the users of the application, and the full infrastructure stack supporting the application.

APM Monitors for the Unpredictable

APM focuses on application availability (is it up), performance (response time and latency), throughput (calls per second or transactions per second), and application transaction error rates. It does this with full consideration of all supporting infrastructures, whether on-premises, hybrid, or full public cloud.

If your site is “running slow”, you can use APM to find out if the problem affects everyone everywhere or only in specific geographies.

APM’s synthetic transaction verification allows you to examine the transactional performance and availability of your web applications from the perspective of web application users. APM’s code profiling and transaction tracing enables complete visibility into the performance of all elements of the application itself, the services that make it up, and how they interact to compete for infrastructure resources underlying. Finally, APM’s log management helps associate application and infrastructure events and issues with the end-to-end picture of application performance. Together, this provides a complete picture of performance and availability, from the end user down to all elements of the infrastructure, application and service, down to a specific line of code.

Stay profitable with APM

APM should not be expensive to acquire and maintain. It should not consume valuable development resources for its implementation and maintenance in production.

First-generation APM tools were expensive and difficult to use, requiring specific application developer expertise and involvement during application development. Thus, companies have reserved APM only for critical applications to reduce management complexity and the risks and costs associated with poor availability or performance. Luckily for businesses, most of these high-priced vendors have moved to modern architectures and are now pure SaaS.

The next generation APM is not difficult. Nor is it necessarily expensive. It also safeguards revenue by protecting and improving the company’s online business results, including online revenue, customer satisfaction, market share, and company reputation.

If you have a CI/CD process through which you are always pushing new releases into production, the APM tool should be able to help. It should be able to automatically adapt to new releases as they are rolled out, without the need for manual reconfiguration. If you’re using a canary or blue/green deployment process, the APM tool should also give you the crucial information you need to decide whether or not to continue with each release (or roll back).

And if demand is down for your site, APM can precisely identify the amount of infrastructure resources needed to support your reduced demand, allowing you to safely deprovision and save money by recalling subscriptions. cloud resources at Amazon or Azure. APM generates savings.

Get started with APM

Before deploying APM, take inventory of all your applications. In my experience, companies often divide their applications into two or maybe three tiers.

For entry-level applications, money is not an issue. They must instrument the application because it is their business. If you are a financial site where 85% of your income is associated with your online retirement information system, this is essential. You will instrument every aspect of this application. You do not have a choice.

Meanwhile, Tier 2 applications may have become critical due to the crisis. Or, these applications have not been instrumented due to APM’s reputation for cost and complexity. Now that its complexity and cost threshold has been significantly lowered, it’s time to instrument these applications.

There may be a whole new class of risk to your business model due to COVID, which makes today a great time to re-evaluate what is newly important to your business and what is not. .

We are at an inflection point, and every business that deploys custom applications must assess their APM needs to protect their business, whether it has been negatively or positively affected by this crisis. It’s time to instrument your applications and stop running blind.

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