This is an extract from my recent post on APMDigest. Please click here to read it in its entirety.
It is easy to feel that so called “second generation” Application Performance Management (APM) tooling rules the world.
And for good reason, many would argue – certainly the positive disruptive effects of support for highly distributed / Service Orientated architectures, and the requirements of many fast moving businesses to support a plethora of different technologies are a powerful dynamic. That leaves aside the undoubted advantages of comprehensive traffic screening (as opposed to “hard” sampling), ease of installation and commissioning (relative in some cases), user accessibility, flexible reporting and tighter productive association between IT and business – in short, empowering the DevOps and PerfOps revolution.
So, modern APM is certainly well attuned to the requirements of current business. What’s not to like?
Could these technologies have an Achilles heel? Certainly, they are generally strong on lists of customer logos, but tight lipped when it comes to detailed high volume case studies.
Hundreds or thousands of JVMs and moderately high transaction volumes are all very well (and well attested), but how do these technologies stack up for the high end enterprise? What other options might exist?
It could be argued that an organization with tens of thousands of JVMs and millions of metrics has a fundamentally different issue than those closer to the base of the pyramid. Certainly these organizations are fewer in number, but that is scant comfort for those with the responsibility of managing their application delivery. Whether in banking/financial trading, FMCG or elsewhere, the issue of effectively analyzing daily transaction flows at high scale is real. The situation is exacerbated at peak – one large UK gaming company generates 20-30,000 events per second during a normal daily peak. During the popular Grand National race meeting, traffic increases 5-10 times – creating the need to transfer several terabytes a day into an APM data store.
The question is: which if any of the APM tools can even come close to these sorts of volumes?
It is certainly possible to instrument these organizations with second generation APM – but what snares lie in wait for the unwary, and what compromises will have to be made?