We have the opportunity today to speak with David Mavashev, founder and CEO of Nastel Technologies, on his view of the APM (Application Performance Management) market.
David, do you think “APM” is a subject that’s clear for most IT professionals, or is there confusion in the marketplace?
When market analysts talk about APM solution providers, they usually refer to the word “application” in general terms. They’re principally interested in the impact of IT resources on the performance of “business applications”, regardless of the nature of the application. Most of the vendors that play in the APM market have very little knowledge of specific vertical applications. They mostly specialize in monitoring application servers, such as Java EE and .Net.
There are application management players with a strong domain expertise in specific vertical “business applications”. Those companies are not categorized as the APM vendors, but fall into the classification of vertical solution providers in specific applications such as trading, payment, order processing, etc. Of course, companies specialized in payment systems have limited expertise in trading applications, and vice versa. Market analysts have different classifications for those vendors. From time to time, these solution providers compete with the APM solution providers.
Today, most IT organizations are structured as business units: they have internal customers and SLA’s they must adhere to. In most enterprises, middleware groups provide shared services to business application units.
You’ve made a case that middleware management is a separate classification as well as being a part of the “APM/BTM” category. Can you tell us more about that?
Certainly. In the past, business applications were “monolithic”: they encapsulated business logic, program to program communication, data transformation etc. With the advent of distributed systems, the portions of application logic that were related to program to program communication or data transformation were isolated into separate, general purpose applications. For example, the term “middleware” is related to a set of technologies that include messaging infrastructure, Message Brokers, Business Process Management systems, Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), Publish/Subscribe engines, etc.
Middleware is constantly evolving and a new breed of technologies is popping up to address business requirements. IT organizations need to know more about the impact of these technologies on application performance and SLA’s. Middleware is complex; it’s a business process orchestration layer, recognized as the “central nervous system” of composite applications. Middleware is an integral part of most mission critical applications in Fortune 2000 companies. But middleware technology is a complex subject. For most IT professionals, middleware is a “black box” – some even say managing middleware is like brain surgery. Because of its complexity, very few APM vendors are specializing in the management of middleware.
Should middleware fall into the category of “Application Performance Management” or should it be treated as a separate market category?
The answer to this question, in my view, is both! Any performance issues related to middleware systems have direct impact on applications and availability of business processes. Companies that provide products for managing middleware should be categorized as APM vendors.
APM vendors that have rudimentary knowledge of middleware technologies usually have very limited visibility into middleware. The “best of breed” middleware management companies, like Nastel, have strong domain expertise and therefore can provide APM solutions that are pertinent for middleware groups as well as application groups. These vendors provide exceptional value both in middleware management and in APM situations where middleware is extensively used.
by David Mavashev and Scott Corrigan