Written by Ennio Carboni, President of the Network Management Division of Ipswitch, Inc.
When you evaluate application performance monitoring solutions, comparing capabilities is one key part of the assessment. But it can be misleading. Many application performance monitoring solutions include features that, while interesting, are not critical to you. Sometimes the feature-rich solutions are more costly, complex, and difficult to implement than you want. But sometimes more affordable products include features that aren't high priority to you. The cost isn't itself the determinant of whether products have more features than you need; it's more a question of how closely each solution fits your purpose.
Before you assess specific capabilities in solutions you are evaluating, it's important to clarify and prioritize your goals:
|Ensuring the availability and performance of critical applications|
|Gain visibility over the entire IT service that supports an application|
|Reducing user complaints|
|Improving MTTR time|
|Improving reporting (out of the box and customizable)|
|Eliminating alert overload and time spent unnecessarily on low-priority issues|
|Meeting SLA goals|
|Controlling IT costs|
Once you identify your highest priorities, the next step is to map them to specific product capabilities. For example, if improving your MTTR time is a top priority, you should look for monitoring products with strong capabilities for:
- Monitoring, alerting and reporting on an application's entire IT service by consolidating monitoring and alert filtering so all possible causes are known
- Allowing you to define critical application dependencies so you can find the root cause quickly
- Presenting one unified dashboard so you can see problems quickly and drill down to the root cause
- Letting you customize automated actions in response to specific conditions so issues can be detected and repairs made without delay
- Providing out-of-the-box reports so you can easily track metrics such as MTTR rates over time
If you also give a high priority to reducing user complaints, you'd need the first four of the above capabilities plus end user monitoring to alert and report on the effect of web application performance on user experience.
This exercise of documenting your prioritized goals and mapping them to product capabilities puts you in a better position to select a solution that will not disappoint.