With Halloween here already, IT should be ever more vigilant in quashing “zombie applications” that lurk within the infrastructure, just waiting to wreak financial havoc on the enterprise. Thousands of abandoned or rarely used applications cost organizations millions of dollars every year according to recent survey results. Without thorough monitoring of these “walking dead” applications, millions more dollars in operating costs are at risk, along with overall IT performance. More than half of the respondents to the survey, conducted by research firm Harris Interactive, believed these zombies were gobbling up resources like kids on a Halloween blitzkrieg.
So, to make sure this time of “trick or treat” is more of the latter and less of the former, Quest offers the following five tips for how an application performance monitoring (APM) solution can root out zombie apps and bring your infrastructure back to life.
1) Focus on what’s important.
- The Trick: There’s a storm of noise with applications, and the din intensifies when there are performance issues (e.g., your monitors may generate a large number of alerts in no particular order that indicate any number of problems, but seeing the true root cause of the issue is difficult).
- The Treat: Using an APM solution, IT can see all alarms correlated within the context of associated applications, users and transactions, and it can quickly spot the root cause of an application performance issue instead of spending a lot of unnecessary time resolving “symptoms” or peripheral issues.
2) Make sense of the complexity.
- The Trick: As enterprises grow, so do the number and complexity of their applications. Many IT departments are at the mercy of independent, seemingly unrelated alerts to make them aware of performance issues across their environments. These alerts can be overwhelming and contradictory, with disparate teams dealing with each separate alert. The database team deals with database-related alerts, and the network team with network-based alerts, but nobody is looking for trends or cross-function relationships between any of the alerts, making resolution much more difficult.
- The Treat: IT needs to look at alerts in a different way to avoid traditional first-in-first-out processing by multiple individual technology-silo teams who have no way to understand which individual alerts are associated with what business impact or priority. An APM solution provides a more accurate picture of the complete problem and its severity, as well as the issues that need to be resolved and in what order.
3) Cut through the complaints.
- The Trick: Any time there’s a performance issue, IT is inundated with complaints. To further complicate things, stakeholders sometimes provide inaccurate information, which results in an incomplete and inaccurate picture of the performance issue.
- The Treat: IT can proactively identify these issues before the barrage of angry phone calls by using tools that quantify performance issues with actual facts. It can then see exactly what users are seeing in real time, with full correlation to what is happening in the associated applications and infrastructure.
4) See it from the user’s point of view.
- The Trick: As applications become more complex and users become increasingly savvy in how they use these applications, expectations regarding application performance increase.
- The Treat: Developers and IT often don’t adopt a user’s perspective when pinpointing application problems, even though this can be the fastest path to resolution. An intuitive APM solution will help you see exactly what your application users see, so you can resolve problems faster.
5) Keep up with the pace of change.
- The Trick: To meet or exceed users’ expectations, apps must be upgraded more regularly than ever. This constant cycle demands new ways of looking at application development, deployment and day-to-day management—including formal agile development and DevOps disciplines, in which APM plays a critical central role.
- The Treat: As enterprises embrace the fact that their critical apps must be constantly updated, they must ensure that the updates perform optimally. APM enables IT to continually monitor performance from development and test cycles all the way through production, minimizing the number of post-deployment performance “surprises.”
So, the ultimate treat? Exterminate “zombie apps” with APM and stop the drain on financial resources and overall IT performance. The enterprise—and your infrastructure—will be glad you did.
Leading article photo courtesy of Kevin Severud
About the Author
John Newsom is vice president and general manager of the Application Performance Monitoring business unit at Quest Software (now a part of Dell). He has global responsibility for the business unit, including product management, R&D, marketing, sales, professional services and technical support. John drives both the vision/roadmap, as well as the execution toward that vision for Quest’s application performance monitoring solutions.