Why Today's APM Solutions Aren't Optimized for DevOps
July 21, 2014

Denis Goodwin
SmartBear

In my previous blog, Two APM Takeaways from Velocity Santa Clara 2014, I talked about fragmentation of solutions as a major trend in the APM space. Most vendors are providing a singular solution for some part of performance management, but yet, very few are able to provide a unified solution. In this post I want to extend this discussion to focus on what this means for DevOps.

I believe the lack of solution unification is an epidemic in the tech industry. Something that particularly stands out is that while more and more organizations are beginning to adopt the DevOps model by embracing continuous integration and collaboration, when it comes to the APM market serving these folks, some fundamental ideals of DevOps are thrown out the window — namely, the efficiency and collaboration aspects.

The Fragmentation of Tools is the Fragmentation of Teams

In the ever expanding vortex of value propositions and fragmented solutions that make up the APM market today, simplicity is getting lost. Everyone is so busy fighting to get or stay in the picture that they forget to take a step back to look at the big picture, and realize that all we are doing is collectively building an incomplete solution model. If it feels as though you are trying to integrate solutions that never were meant to integrate in the first place, it's because they weren't. And if the tools are disconnected, the teams that use them are much more likely to be disconnected as well. Or at least, not as connected as they could be.

When something breaks or a bug makes it into production, development and operations like to play hot potato with the blame — until everyone eventually tires and points their fingers at whichever one of their tools is most suspect for having failed them this time. However, the issue is often not the tool's fault either — the fault is shared by the assembly of tools that are collectively failing to support and encourage developers and operations to work together and collaborate.

Wait, Isn't DevOps About Efficiency?

It's natural to fix something after it breaks, but we are often not as good as we want to be at setting up prevention mechanisms to stop the issues from ever happening in the first place — perhaps if this weren't the case, APM vendors would have been building unified solutions from day one. This leads to businesses buying new tools for each part of a larger mission in order to alleviate some previous mishap and prevent it from happening again. The worst part is that by doing so you often can end up creating a much larger problem for yourself in the long term, as a result of opting for the quick fix in order to step around a small one in the short term.

Businesses are using an arsenal of tools that integrate (or don't integrate) with each other in attempt to assemble a complete APM solution. And then you have a whole other assorted toolbox for things like code review, functional testing, API testing and load testing for maintaining quality and superior user experience while continuously delivering applications. While these different solutions may be used by different functions, they are still all part of a single process. The more these silos are broken down in the future the more fluent and efficient that process will be.

Unified APM = DevOps

Perhaps the best approach is not about finding and filling the gaps with more and more tools as problems arise, and instead starting from square one with a single, unified platform for DevOps — one which fully supports collaboration between dev and ops, and enables ultimate efficiency by eliminating the need for added complexity and integrations.

The idea of eliminating the amount of time and energy spent evaluating, integrating and implementing all of these different tools makes the idea of unification worthwhile in itself, but of course this would only be the tip of the iceberg in terms of value.

In order to fully embrace the culture of DevOps and continuous integration, the tools that teams use need to support their fundamental principles and not dangle one leg over the fence. The days of patching a different piece of software onto every different part of the process are numbered.

Denis Goodwin is Director of Product Management, APM, AlertSite UXM, SmartBear Software.

The Latest

June 20, 2018

The larger the company size, the higher the proportion of low IT performers, according to the State of DevOps: Market Segmentation Report from Puppet, based on the 2017 State of DevOps Survey data ...

June 18, 2018

An overwhelming 83 percent of respondents have concerns about deploying traditional firewalls in the cloud, according to Firewalls and the Cloud, a survey conducted by Barracuda Networks...

June 14, 2018

Despite the vast majority of cloud management decision-makers believing that DevOps and microservice enablement are important, very few believe that their organizations are capable of delivering them today — a gap that is costing the average enterprise $34 million per year, according to new report from the Ponemon Institute ...

June 12, 2018

Dev teams are doing their best to give the customers what they want, but oftentimes find themselves in between a rock and a hard place. Teams are struggling to get up to speed with new tools that are meant to make their lives easier and more realistic to hit deadlines. With spring cleaning season upon us, take time this season to tune up agile processes and continue the work of advancing the shift towards DevOps ...

June 11, 2018

The ability to create a culture of DevOps is critical to any organization's ability to deliver applications and services at a high rate of speed, but can we clearly and concisely answer the question: What exactly is DevOps? Despite the best intentions, some large companies are struggling to understand what DevOps actually is, and what it takes to fully implement its concepts and reap its benefits ...

June 07, 2018

The Twelve-Factor App is a methodology that offers a 12-step best practice approach for developers to apply when building software-as-a-service apps that are both scalable and maintainable in a DevOps world. As software continues to be written and deployed at a faster rate and in the cloud, development teams are finding there is more room for failure and vulnerabilities. This blog series will discuss how to build a Twelve-Factor app securely ...

June 05, 2018

Everyone understands the importance of code quality for applications, particularly when DevOps results in releases becoming faster and faster, reducing the room for error. The same issues increasingly apply to databases, which are a vital part of DevOps workflows. Fail to integrate the database into DevOps and you'll face bottlenecks that slow down your processes and undermine your efforts ...

June 04, 2018

DevOps and security traditionally have been siloed functions and security is often seen as a policing function by DevOps team members. However, more mature business leaders are trying to bridge the gap between the two functions to achieve business excellence. This theme was evident from our recent survey where 39% of respondents cited that DevOps and development teams care greatly about their cybersecurity posture, showing that the silo between security/IT and development teams is diminishing ...

May 31, 2018

DEVOPSdigest asked experts from across the IT industry for their opinions on the top tools to support DevSecOps. Part 5, the last installment, offers some final thoughts about "tools" that are not necessarily technology ...

May 29, 2018

DEVOPSdigest asked experts from across the IT industry for their opinions on the top tools to support DevSecOps. Part 4 covers code and data ...

Share this