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Visibility Solutions

Garland Technology is committed to educating the benefits of having a strong foundation of network visibility and access. By providing this insight we protect the security of data across your network and beyond.


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How to Improve Application Performance Monitoring

As an IT professional, you already know that IT downtime is expensive. It costs organizations, on average, $5,600 for every minute of downtime.

But we live in an on-demand world, where customers expect fast, consistent access to your company's digital services. While not as immediately costly, an IT slowdown can be just as disastrous for your business's bottom line as complete downtime.

In fact, even one second of delay can lead to 7% fewer conversions for businesses. Outside of its impact on customers, slow application performance can slow down your employees. When apps slow down, 73% of organizations report that their teams are less productive.

To keep your customers happy and your employees working, you need to ensure that your applications are performing optimally. To ensure speedy performance, you need to invest in application performance monitoring tools.

What is application performance monitoring (APM)?

Application performance monitoring helps measure the performance of your applications. When you experience slow run times or repeated application errors, you need a way to dig into performance data to see where the problem is.

That's where application performance monitor tools like Accedian and Riverbed joint solutions with Garland come in. They pull in performance data across all of your applications to help you gain visibility into your application environment as a whole.

Application performance monitoring falls under the umbrella of application performance management—which, goes by the same acronym of APM. The sole purpose of monitoring is collecting performance data to tell you what is happening with your applications. Managing your applications helps you understand why a problem is happening by pinpointing where and when an issue occurred.

You can think of monitoring like a doctor coming, taking your pulse, and saying, "Something seems off. Your heart rate is higher than it should be." Management is pulling in the rest of your medical history, analyzing it, and diagnosing the problem to help you manage your health in the future.

But just like a doctor in an exam room, you have to understand what "healthy" looks like in the first place. And the metrics provided by APM software can help you start to understand when your applications are performing well—and when they need a check-up.

What do APM solutions analyze?

APM tools collect and aggregate metrics related to app performance to help you gain visibility into your application environment. Some main metrics can include CPU usage, error rates, and response times.

Fortunately, for businesses, one of the most important metrics APM tools can monitor is your Application Performance Index (Apdex) score. For the purposes of this article, just know that your Apdex score is an indicator of user satisfaction with your app performance.

A perfect app score is 1. That means you won't lose users due to slow application performance. If your Apdex score dips below 0.85, which is the average app score, then you should dig into other application performance metrics to find the source of the problem.

Overall, all of the data collected by an APM tool helps you determine whether your applications are performing normally. When your metrics are off, an APM solution will alert you to the issue and help you locate the root cause.

Monitoring and understanding these metrics helps you:

  • Identify what the "normal" baseline performance for your applications looks like 
  • Collect and see all of your performance metrics in one place so you can see every data point in context with all other application performance data
  • Keep your applications running smoothly—and identify causes when something is wrong
  • Connect application performance to business performance with metrics like Apdex scores to measure customer satisfaction with your apps

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Why network teams use APM tools

Once you've taken application performance data out of its individual silos, it just makes sense to evaluate app performance with other important IT metrics such as network performance data.

Application performance and network performance are intertwined. Network downtime can lead to application downtime. And less-than-optimal application performance can translate to poor network performance.

Using tools that help you gain network visibility can help you understand how to fix network issues. Application monitoring data provides performance insight on the application level. Combining and comparing these two data sets gives you more diagnostic power.

Understanding how your network impacts your applications and vice versa helps you get to the root cause with either service. Diagnosing—or hopefully preventing—downtime at both the network and application levels helps you deliver the best possible service to your customers.

Improved APM visibility helps optimize your business's performance

Using a proper visibility fabric to access performance data will not only make it easier for your team to understand your application environment but can streamline network architecture. It will also help you gain better, more accurate information about performance, which will help your team resolve issues more quickly—or even prevent them from occurring entirely.  

Visibility Fabric

Ensuring your APMs get 100% full packet data is accomplished utilizing network TAPs instead of SPAN mirror ports. TAP visibility improves APM performance by not missing important information needed to fully analyze performance quality, as SPAN is known for dropped packets. For larger networks, combining packet brokers with TAPs to further optimize your traffic, allows you to take in more data from more network segments, which reduces network blindspots for better APM performance and analysis.

In the end, more data is more visibility. And better visibility gives your APM tools the way to better performance.

Looking to get more out of your existing APM tools, but not sure where to start?  Join us for a brief network Design-IT consultation or demo. No obligation - it’s what we love to do.

Network TAPS 101 Basics for IT Security engineers

Written by Neil Wilkins

Neil is a Systems Engineer at Garland Technology focusing on customer challenges with network visibility such as resilience, interoperability, and integration into data center topology. Wilkins is a seasoned network professional with 30 years of experience globally within the computing industry, in product marketing and technical support, for both the commercial and public sectors



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