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Forecast for cloud-based digital performance management tools is sunny

Getting biz to work with dev and ops is the best way for IT to understand how its choices directly impact business outcomes. Here are the vendors with the tools to do it.

Everyone wants their business's executives to have the right information at the right time to make the right decisions. To do this, vendors are evolving their DevOps products, heretofore chiefly concerned with dev creating efficient code and ops striving to improve IT performance and availability. The result, called BizDevOps, is being enabled by a new generation of application performance monitoring tools, many of which are also going by a new name: digital performance management. By any name, their aim is to understand the impact of application performance on revenue generation and business decision-making, blending that into traditional DevOps.

Here is a brief look at several products operating in the BizDevOps and application performance monitoring space. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but can serve as your launch point for further research. Pricing is not quoted here, as it varies widely among the products cited, and is further influenced by infrastructure individuality and the breadth of the user base. Digital performance management products are listed alphabetically by vendor.

AppDynamics

Announced on Nov. 10, 2016, Business iQ is AppDynamics' newest product, intended to deliver real-time business monitoring for enterprises embarking on or in the midst of a digital transformation. For CIOs, it aims to transition IT from merely servicing the business to driving it, with a goal of reducing the "mean time to business awareness."

With businesses deploying or subscribing to more apps that span multiple public, private and hybrid clouds, Business iQ looks to make the enterprise more agile by targeting the absence of a common language between business executives and IT departments.

AppNeta

AppNeta argues that distributed multicloud enterprise IT can jeopardize revenue and employee productivity. To gain the upper hand, the company offers a software as a service (SaaS) product implemented as three modules: AppView, to monitor web app end-user experiences; FlowView, to understand application traffic patterns and bandwidth consumption; and PathView, to proactively monitor the entire system's path from the user to the application.

In July 2016, AppNeta enhanced its support for .NET and Node.js v6 applications through new instrumentation and a custom API.

Datadog

The Datadog SaaS cloud monitoring platform, designed to present a unified, full stack view of data from servers, databases, tools and services, was enhanced in September 2016 with the launch of new application performance monitoring (APM) functionality aimed at helping DevOps teams identify code-level issues in applications that rely on hybrid clouds, microservices or containers. Key features for digital performance management (DPM) include automatic, end-to-end, individual request tracing across hosts and services; code path identification; built-in collaboration between dev, ops and biz teams; and machine learning based on anomaly detection.

Just one month earlier, Datadog announced integration with Amazon Web Services Lambda, as well as support for serverless architectures. It already supports a long list of AWS services, including Elastic Beanstalk, Elastic Compute 2, Elastic Load Balancing and Elastic MapReduce.

Dynatrace

Acquired in 2011 by Compuware -- only to grow tenfold and be spun off three years later -- Dynatrace's technology performs full stack, end-to-end monitoring to help enterprises ensure that their cloud, mobile and web-based applications are performing optimally. Business transactions and applications are auto-discovered and assembled into paths that track individual user journeys down to the code-level execution detail. The idea is to enable dev and ops to tune performance. Artificial intelligence algorithms provide business and operational analytics.

In October 2016, Dynatrace launched an enterprise-class monitoring solution for managing the performance of applications running in OpenStack environments. Dynatrace is available as either an on-premises or SaaS implementation, with perpetual and annual licensing options.

"If we can get all of the people working and talking together, we can deliver the right thing to the end user," said Andreas Grabner, technology strategist at Dynatrace. "If you're going to be successful, you have to include everyone."

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Hewlett Packard Enterprise enables BizDevOps via HPE AppPulse Mobile. The product tracks real-time user experiences with mobile applications with the goal of helping companies to better understand user behaviors and performance issues. The data is fed back to business teams, developers and operations personnel through a dashboard in real time. BizDevOps teams can leverage these insights to prioritize backlogs and deploy improvements where they matter most. It also enables these collaborative teams to innovate mobile applications based on the implied wants and needs of end users.

"You want to be able to push through the fix at the source, immediately, and not have to go back and forth," said Ashish Kuthiala, senior director of marketing and strategy for DevOps at HPE. "But it's hard for organizations to get there."

IBM

IBM offers application performance management as a product portfolio that aims to provide visibility, control and automation of mission-critical applications. The premise is to pinpoint underlying performance woes through discovery, end-user experience, transaction tracking, enterprise diagnostics and Watson-based analytics.

IBM's philosophy is that development of an end-to-end application monitoring strategy is needed because poor user experience ultimately leads to lost revenue. The problem is that cloud, mobile and Agile have complicated the monitoring and management of applications, and monitoring them separately increases the likelihood of missing critical application issues.

Microsoft

Microsoft joined the performance monitoring fray in April 2015 with the launch of Application Insights, a platform, still in preview mode, in which developers can add instrumentation to monitor applications and gather information that can be used for iterative troubleshooting and optimization.

Part of Visual Studio, Application Insights includes instrumentation for .NET and supports the monitoring of web apps written in Java, Ruby, Python, PHP, Node.js and other languages. Application Insights performs root-cause analysis and supports web apps hosted on Azure, other clouds or on-premises.

Nastel Technologies

The Nastel AutoPilot platform, a family of targeted services, provides real-time, middleware-centric, end-to-end application monitoring with root-cause analysis that aims to reduce the frequency and duration of incidents. The platform is designed to scale, able to handle millions of events per second and serves up visualizations that stich messages and transactions into a comprehensible, end-to-end flow of the business.

In May 2016, Nastel added user monitoring and analytics with the goal of pinpointing the causes of poor app performance, which could hurt a business's reputation, and of speeding mean time to resolve.

In October, the company launched mobile-centric streaming analytics with forensic diagnostic tracking.

NetScout

Delivering a single view into the performance and health of servers, services, applications and networks, NetScout's nGeniusONE Business Assurance and IT Transformation products aim to meet the challenge posed by continually changing IT infrastructures and application architectures. Available tools target dependencies on existing services and applications for problem identification, root-cause analysis and problem resolution with an eye toward business continuity and impact.

New Relic

The New Relic Digital Intelligence Platform is a SaaS portfolio of tools for technology stack optimization, from infrastructure to browser and mobile apps. The Insights tool uses analytics and dashboards to visualize how software performance impacts business outcomes, while the APM tool helps developers achieve optimal app performance. Together, they offer in-depth information that encompasses application performance, customer experience and the business as a whole.

Quest Software

Spun out from Dell as an independent company on Nov. 1, 2016, Quest's Foglight application performance monitoring platform delivers digital performance management to ensure customer retention by reducing transaction abandonment. The result is intended to maximize revenue streams through performance optimization of web applications. User experience monitoring captures content and the performance of every user click, which is combined with analytics to support organizational decision-making and to resolve issues while maintaining business productivity.

Riverbed Technology

Riverbed updated its SteelCentral product in October 2016 to unify visibility across network, infrastructure and end-user domains in hybrid enterprises. The goal was to ensure that applications performed as expected, that data was always available and that performance issues could be detected and resolved before business performance was negatively impacted.

Riverbed enables hybrid enterprises to transform application performance into a competitive advantage by maximizing employee productivity and leveraging IT to create new forms of operational agility.

SOASTA

The Digital Performance Management Platform from SOASTA is based on the premise that system performance has a direct bearing on business outcomes, including system availability and customer conversion. The DPM Platform is composed of five constituent modules: CloudTest for load testing, mPulse for user monitoring, TouchTest for mobile performance and functional test automation, DataScience for performance analytics and SOASTA Digital Operations Center for presenting the various aspects of digital performance in a unified way, as well as installation and consulting services.

"Correlating what the value of performance is to my business online needs to be your whole game," explained Tom Lounibos, CEO of SOASTA. "So you've got to be able to provide root-cause analysis from the back end to the front end."

Joel Shore is a news writer for TechTarget's Business Applications and Architecture Media Group. Write to him at jshore@techtarget.com or follow @JshoreTT on Twitter.

Next Steps

Customer retention is not the same as value retention

Multicloud makes app performance optimization more difficult

Manage business outcome, not IT assets

This was last published in November 2016

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