Hey MSPs … Don’t get lost in the clouds, differentiate with APMaaS!

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If you already know what APMaaS is then feel free to skip to the next paragraph. For the rest of you, APMaaS is Application Performance Management as a Service. It is an offering that provides end user experience monitoring, application component discovery, transaction mapping and tracking, deep application diagnostics, and analytics all working together to identify the root cause of application performance and stability issues. Now that you know what it is let’s talk about why you should offer APMaaS to your customers.


MSP APMaaSEveryday life as a Managed Service Provider (or Cloud Provider or Managed Hosting Provider) can be tough. I used to work for a large financial services company in their Managed Services organization. Our group was tasked with creating valuable IT services that we had to market to the rest of the enterprise. There was NO upper management directive to use our services, NO guidance on what services to create and offer, NO outside assistance in any way. In essence we were a small business operating within a large enterprise left to live or die on our own.

Our main competition within the company was the traditional enterprise IT organization. This type of organization is almost always a lumbering beast over-encumbered with processes designed to handle every oddball situation that may arise. They also provide many valuable services so there was definitely direct competition for the same business. We had two key elements driving our decisions.

  1. Show meaningful differentiation (innovation) to prospective customers between the Enterprise IT offerings and our own.
  2. Build a reputation for providing amazing service by showing that our hosted applications were more stable and better performing than those in the rest of the enterprise.

This was the way we would survive and thrive. And it worked!!!

The World As We Know It

The same concepts hold true for the slew of MSPs that exist in todays marketplace except the competition is much stiffer. Get online and search for “Managed Application Hosting” and you’ll see a ton of providers in the search results. So how does one MSP differentiate themselves from the rest? Let’s think about it from the perspective of the customer. If I have a revenue generating application I need the following:

  1. My app must respond as fast as possible without throwing errors
  2. always be available
  3. and have the ability to handle spikes in traffic (holiday shopping, special events, etc…) without slowing down or crashing.

This is exactly what Application Performance Management (APM) with workflow automation enables, but here is where it gets interesting. Providing APM as a Service (APMaaS) is not a new concept. Many MSPs have tried it using “traditional” APM products and quickly realized that the cost of APM software and services far exceeded the amount most of the customers were willing to pay. We’ve heard directly from our current MSP partners that those traditional tools (the other guys) were too difficult to deploy (required knowledge of the application code to instrument), too hard to use (most people are not APM tooling experts), and that the vendors were too hard to work with (loading contracts with tons of services and not flexible enough with pricing models).

Exploiting APM

If you’re not familiar with how AppDynamics works please take a minute to watch this video as it will really help with the next part of our discussion.

Long, long, long, long, long ago people made fire by rubbing a couple of sticks together. To whomever invented the match, we are eternally grateful. Implementing APM shouldn’t be as difficult as rubbing sticks together to make fire. Here are the features of our “match”:

  • AppDynamics compared to other APM solutions.Core Platform
    • You can use our SaaS platform to collect data from the agents. This makes initial deployment fast and easy and means that your APM infrastructure is automatically managed and upgraded by us.
    • You can deploy a full APMaaS infrastructure within your own datacenter if you offer or require PCI, HIPAA, FISMA, etc… compliance.
  • Deployment
    • Our agents automatically discover your customers application components, business transactions, and application code. This means you spend much less time trying to instrument an application and have more time to focus on growing your business.
    • You get all of our application performance management (APM) features from one product instead of having to install a suite of tools. Less complexity and fewer monitoring components equals easy, fast deployment.
  • Usage
    • Traditional APM tools are notoriously difficult to use. You and your customers need to be able to solve problems in just a few clicks. That’s where AppDynamics shines. You can quickly show your customers that the performance bottleneck is not in your infrastructure but in their application code. (Watch this video to see how easy it is.)
    • Since our user interface was designed to be intuitive you won’t need to spend excessive time training your staff and customers to use it. Spend that valuable time working on your business.
  • Workflow Automation
    • AppDynamics has built in Workflow Automation. This means that you can dynamically respond to changing application conditions to meet the needs of the customer. Automatically spin up a new application instance when response time is too slow. Your customers will love you for it!
  • Business Considerations
    • We have flexible pricing options which are specially designed for MSPs. We know your business model and challenges are unique so we have multiple options available to suit your needs.
    • We don’t want to load up contracts with tons of services hours. That only drives up your costs and reduces your margin.

What we are trying to say here is that we really understand the MSP business. We provide a managed service of our own and know what it takes to run a successful and profitable APMaaS business. As an MSP you need to stand out from the crowd and offer innovative solutions to customer problems. We can help you do that. Contact us to find out more about the AppDynamics MSP program and stop rubbing sticks together.

Jim Hirschauer

Jim Hirschauer

Jim Hirschauer is a Technology Evangelist for AppDynamics. He has an extensive background working in highly available, business critical, large enterprise IT operations environments. Jim has been interested in application performance testing and monitoring since he was a Systems Administrator working in a retail bank. His passion for performance analysis led him down a path where he would design, implement and manage the cloud computing monitoring architecture for a top 10 investment bank. During his tenure at the investment bank, Jim created new processes and procedures that increased overall code release quality and dramatically improved end user experience.

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