Too many tools, not enough big picture: A case of Franken-monitoring

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Are you a victim of Franken-monitoring? Too many siloed monitoring tools making your head spin? Read More.

In recent interview, an IT operations director told us, “We frankly have too many tools, and many of them weren’t performing to our expectations.”

If you are an enterprise ops leader managing complex applications, chance are pretty high that you can relate to that statement.

At AppDynamics, we call this “Franken-monitoring,” a situation characterized by many, usually too many, siloed tools — for application, server, database, end-user client, etc. — that provide varying levels of disparate visibility into IT applications. The challenges with this approach are several-fold:

  • Tools have minimal integration or common context, which makes it near impossible to manage the application or its business transactions.
  • Tools are designed for subject-matter experts, so it’s hard to provide value to the ops team as a whole.
  • Tools have high total cost of ownership, since every tool has to be independently procured, installed and managed, and staff have to be trained in their use.

How rampant is this problem? To get some real data, we recently worked with a well-respected analyst firm, Enterprise Management Associates, to get to the bottom of this.

For this study, EMA analysts surveyed IT professionals from companies of all sizes across both North America and Europe. Potential respondents were filtered to include only those actively involved in enterprise application development/management/delivery at the executive, middle manager, or “hands on” line staff levels.

The respondent mix was approximately:

  • 1/3 Europe and 2/3 North America
  • 0% small, 55% mid-sized, and 25% large companies
  • 45% executives (director or above), 25% middle managers, 30% line staff

The results were nothing short of astounding!

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  • Over 65% of enterprises have more than 10 monitoring tools
  • 43% have over 25 monitoring tools.

Read the full report here.

Just about every user of monitoring tools complains about the challenges of having too many tools without any situational awareness. Current approaches to integrate these tools with solutions like MoM (manager of managers) or CMDB (configuration management database) have for the most part failed, because it is hard to stitch together these disparate solutions from different vendors.

Gartner recently did a survey that pointed exactly to this challenge. As shown in the chart below, the key reasons (besides price) for poor APM adoption were, indeed, the complexity of the tools and poor integration between tools.

Reasons Why APM Tools Are Not More Widely Used

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Source: Gartner Survey Analysis: End-User Experience Monitoring Is the Critical Dimension for Enterprise APM Consumers (June 2015)

These challenges are effectively addressed by our recently released Unified Monitoring solution — it solves the problems of siloed monitoring and glue-ware integration. AppDynamics Unified Monitoring is the industry-first, application-centric solution that traces and monitors transactions from the end user through the entire application and infrastructure environment, to help quickly and proactively solve performance issues and ensure excellent user experience.

Leading enterprises such as Paychex have adopted AppDynamics Unified Monitoring and eliminated siloed solutions. As Jason Briggs, monitoring engineering manager at Paychex, puts it, “AppDynamics replaced five tools we once used to try to troubleshoot application problems. Today, everyone goes to AppDynamics to quickly determine the root cause of the issue.”

Read the full EMA report on monitoring tools.

Kalyan Ramanathan

Kalyan Ramanathan

Kalyan Ramanathan is the VP of Product Marketing at AppDynamics, the leading Application Intelligence solution provider. Kalyan has over 20 years of experience in software and marketing. Prior to AppDynamics, Kalyan was the CMO at Crittercism, the first mobile app performance management vendor. Previously, Kalyan served as VP of Marketing at Electric Cloud, a DevOps automation leader and as Senior Director of product marketing at Opsware/HP, where he oversaw marketing efforts for the cloud and data center automation solutions. Kalyan has also led product management functions at Collation (acquired by IBM) and Portal Software (acquired by Oracle). Kalyan has an MBA from Stanford University.