Gartner on Application Uptime & Availability

December 14 2010

Attendees of the 2010 Gartner Data Center Conference exhibited a lot of interest around Application Performance Management, as evidenced by the packed room where Gartner analyst Donna Scott discussed application availability in her session “Uptime All the Time.”

Her opening comments, in which she explained how to justify the business case for ensuring app performance, mirrored almost word-for-word what AppDynamics tells our own clients:

  • Figure out your SLAs
  • Determine the cost to your business when SLAs are violated in terms of lost revenue, brand antipathy, and even the loss of customer lifetime revenue
  • Show these figures to the Line of Business people

Scott pointed out that the apps that are truly deemed mission-critical should be the ones receiving the investment—so if 20% of a company’s apps are mission-critical, it wouldn’t be out of line for that small percentage to  receive as much as 80% of the total app performance budget.

Many audience members had a considerably higher percentage of mission-critical apps, however. Gartner likes to engage its audiences through interactive polling, and it was interesting to see that 19% of session attendees had more than 50% of their apps deemed as “mission critical”—that is, the business suffers a tangible loss if those apps aren’t available or show poor performance.

Scott also revealed some numbers around what Gartner considers to be Best-in-Class for app performance, measured in terms of downtime:

  • Very Good – Less than 61 hours of unplanned downtime a year/200 hours planned
  • Outstanding: Less than 26 hours a year/50 hours planned
  • Best in Class: Less than 5 hours a year/12 hours planned

Only 2% of the audience indicated that they fell within the “Best in Class” category!

Scott mentioned that many times it’s “people and processes” that bring down the app as opposed to simply technology, and this theme was also suggested by analyst Will Cappelli in his talk on “Monitoring Fifth-Generation Applications.”  His point was that you can’t do effective infrastructure performance without incorporating aspects of the app monitoring discipline into one’s bag of tricks—but at the same time, application developers will need to become more attuned to the effect of their applications upon the infrastructure.   The app and infrastructure groups will need to become more and more aligned in order to handle the complexities of application performance in new (distributed, virtual, and cloud) environments; faced with increased plasticity and a malleability of infrastructure, ops will inevitably become more “app ware” and developers will become more “infrastructure aware.”

AppDynamics will soon be presenting the results of our 2011 Application Performance Management survey, and our findings echo several of these insights.  We found that more and more apps are being deemed as “mission critical,” but that performance problems continue to plague them—largely as the result of increasingly complex environments.  At the same time, we found that organizations are not just paying lip service to the idea of App and Ops people working together, but are actively making changes to their reporting structures in order to align the two teams.

We look forward to sharing the full results of our survey soon!

Sandy Mappic

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