APM as a recipe for success - the signature dishThe key to mastering any recipe is finding the perfect balance of ingredients. English poet William Cowper wrote in his 1785 compilation, The Task, “Variety’s the spice of life, that gives it all its flavor.” It’s a poetic sentiment that needs to come with a caveat: too much spice overwhelms the dish.  

What a great analogy for the information technology profession! The right combination of ingredients—systems, tools, applications, devices and software to manage it all — should come together to create a successful operational environment that effectively supports target business outcomes.

If you manage middleware technologies, you know how this notion of variety is true. Multiple middleware tools are typically requisite for proper message and transaction routing.  And quite frequently we see this in the form of WebSphere MQ, DataPower and TIBCO RV.  Each has its own separate set of management tools but, unfortunately the cohesive overall view is missing.   If you are just responsible for one of these technologies, this is probably not an issue.  However, if you are responsible for the success of the application that traverses these disparate technologies it is a big issue.

Could this be a case of too much variety—too much spice?  In that case the cook needs to add an additional ingredient to restore balance to the taste.   Application performance monitoring (APM) is one of these ingredients. It’s a critical element, and many IT shops already have dedicated tools in place to monitor their middleware products. However, mastering the recipe means finding a balance, and most are struggling to do this across when they have inherited multiple technology-specific monitoring and management tools.

Does this sound familiar? Do you have numerous tools to monitor your applications and the middleware interconnecting them – each with their own “opinion” on what is going on?  Think about how this affects the overall business outcome. More time is spent trying to manage the tools rather than the outcome.  I guess you could call this mess of ingredients a “stew”.  But, remember a stew has an additional meaning according to dictionary.com: “a state of agitation, uneasiness or worry”…not the flavor you were looking for.

The point is that variety should not over complicate the “recipe.” A variety of applications is necessary – multitudes of dedicated technology specific tools are not.

In April we launched the industry’s first unified platform to manage multiple middleware technologies with this in mind. Our goal was to simplify the task of monitoring and managing application performance, and in doing so enhance the overall process, environment and business outcomes.

Our advice? Stick with a recipe that works.