OK, OK — I winced at this week’s forward-looking piece by SearchCIO.com News Director Christina Torode about mobile being the new black. Those of us who are still trying to figure out cloud computing solutions are distressed that the cloud has been replaced already by the next topic du jour.
Doesn’t it seem like time is moving faster than before? This conflux of smartphones, tablets and the Internet — along with a general migration to laptops, which now constitute nearly half of enterprise endpoints, according to the Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass. — is demanding IT’s attention.
But wait — aren’t they all cloud computing solutions? Well, they would be if they were all connected. And that’s what’s so interesting about a spate of announcements this week surrounding application performance management (APM) — or transaction performance monitoring (TPM) — or rather, business transaction management (BTM). The acronyms are beginning to blur into an alphabet soup of end-to-end monitoring, inside and outside the corporate firewall.
Call them cloud computing solutions or not, the number virtually skyrocketed this week of software programs that promise end-to-end discovery of application performance problems originating from the cloud to the data center. There was the announcement of “Compuware Corp.’s Gomez First Mile to Last Mile, which allows organizations “whose businesses depend on Web applications to quickly assess the business impact of a problem and instantly determine whether the cause of the problem resides in the data center, on the Internet, with a third-party provider, or with the user’s browser or device.” Gomez, you may recall, is the granddaddy of APM.
The Compuware announcement followed Microsoft Corp.’s recent purchase of APM vendor Avicode Inc.; Precise Software Solutions Inc.’s announcement of “Precise for Cloud at VMworld 2010; Veeam Software Corp.’s Veeam Monitor, which supports troubleshooting, issue resolution, trend reporting and capacity planning; Quest Software Inc.’s Vizioncore’s placement in Gartner Inc.’s Magic Quadrant for application performance monitoring; and a new release of LogMeIn Central from LogMeIn Inc., a Web-based management console that introduces — what else? — end-to-end reporting.
It was truly a week for CIOs to savor, because, with all the promises of virtualization and cloud computing solutions, the new paradigms have produced a virtual fog for IT. Yes, there has been faith that all is working well behind the fog, but really, it has been difficult (at best) to locate the source of the problems that cause latency. More than one of the CIOs I had the good fortune to speak with this week described the troubleshooting process in 2010 as “finding a needle in the haystack.” Is it in your data center? Is it on the Internet? Is it with your cloud provider?
Clearly, IT has a life-changing trend on its hands, with APM programs that discover problems in minutes that might have taken weeks to find before. “The ability to see thousands of transactions and still drill down to the atomic level is critical,” said Phil West, CIO of Gainsco Inc., an automobile insurance company headquartered in Dallas. “It changes from being reactionary to being able to provide more value-added services,” he said. “Fixing things that are broken adds no value to anyone.”
Mobile? That’s just one part of the picture.