How to Drive Value and Maximize ROI with APM

by October 24, 2017

A New Model for Application Monitoring

Over the past few months I’ve been working with a number of customers educating and training them on some of the new capabilities introduced in CA Application Performance Management 10.5. CA APM 10.5 is a complete makeover and paradigm shift on how we approach application monitoring. It introduced new features and concepts like Attributes, Experience View, Universes, Analysis Notebook, Assisted Triage etc.

These new capabilities provide enormous flexibility by allowing users to slice and dice the data in ways unseen before. Attributes and Perspectives allow users to organize views with just a few clicks similar to that of an excel pivot table. Experience Cards provide a view into your customers experience and Analysis Notebook and Assisted Triage provide any easy troubleshoot and root cause mechanism.

There are a lot of new concepts introduced in APM 10.5 so before we dive in and explore best practices to operationalize an APM environment, let us understand at a high level the reason behind the design choices and the new concepts.

User Experience, Data Manageability and Relevancy

At the heart of our CA APM 10.5 design was a burning desire to answer a very important question, “how is my end user experience?” – is it good? And if not, what is the root cause of the issue?

Experience View or Experience Cards, provides a window into your end user experience. It’s a card view that lays out key metrics related to end user business transactions and allows users to drill down into the Analysis Notebook, which is like a single pane of glass with all the relevant information presented in one screen. For example, it provides an in-context business transaction flow map set to the appropriate time window of the problem, shows all the key blame point metrics, infra metrics and more importantly their trend along with problems and anomalies coming from Assisted Triage.

Assisted Triage is our analytics engine that looks at all the events coming in and processes them into actionable cause/effect items that’s easy to understand. The Analysis Notebook then provides a single stop for root cause analysis.

Finally, Universes provides data manageability and relevance. Imagine your monitoring team requires access by individual applications or say set of tier 1 apps etc. Universes allows data and access control management so your team sees only what is relevant and important to them. Furthermore, the data can be arranged into any view with the help of attributes and perspectives, so you can layer your data by application, host etc.

Now Let’s Talk Some Best Practices

Now that we have a better understanding of the new features in CA APM 10.5, let’s list out some best practices to quickly maximize the value. As mentioned CA APM 10.5 provides users with lot of flexibility and ability to slice and dice data, the best way to do this is through creating Universes and Experience Cards.

Let’s look at each of these items in more detail.

Creating Universes

Universes provides data isolation, manageability and relevancy – reducing complexity by allowing users to see only what is relevant to them. There are number of ways one can create a universe.

When I engage with a customer on 10.5 adoption I start with the two most important questions:

  • How is your data organized today and how is it being used?
  • Who has access to what kind of data?

The two questions above help me understand how a team looking at the data, what they do with it and how they’re organized.

Below are a few ways Universes can be created:

  • Based on the existing configuration in domains.xml – assign users accordingly
  • By application – assign folks responsible for those apps as users of their respective Universes
  • By attributes – Sometimes you may also want to create new attributes and filter based on those attributes in your universe creation. i.e. For one customer, the attribute was called project code which was multiple apps grouped together.

Building Experience Cards

Now that we have created the Universes and assigned users, the next step is to leverage Experience View gain insight into end user experience and triage issues.

When it comes to creating Experience Cards, I usually recommend creating cards based on application with business transaction as the second layer. This will clearly show which application has an issue and which business transactions are impacted. From there one can drill down to the Analysis Notebook, which shows a map filtered based on the business transaction and relevant time period.

Start Seeing Value Today

By leveraging these two features in CA APM 10.5 – you’ll be able to derive value out of the tool quickly.

APM 10.5 provides you with lots of flexibility to manage complex monitoring environments and quickly find the root cause of problems. At the same time, it delivers new powerful and intuitive techniques that can quickly be leveraged to maximize app performance. Once these concepts are applied and become repeatable best practices, the potency of CA APM as an essential application monitoring solution increases tremendously.

 

To learn more about the ROI potential of CA APM, check out our Estimated Benefits Calculator.