Application Performance Management 

APM welcomes you to the DevOps hotel

Without a history of APM readily available, what the hospitality industry can teach us about how APM makes your organization’s stay in DevOps more comfortable.

A recent visit to Wikipedia’s page on Application Performance Management (APM) was disappointing. It featured a boxes-in-boxes diagram so often used for enterprise software illustrations. The nineteen citations go back to the “early” date of 2010. There is no mention of the history of APM.

Despite this, we can learn a lot about APM from other industries, such as hospitality. Like our online apps, hotels are open 24-7, 365 days a year. While customers must check in and out within windows, “transactions” are otherwise supposed to be quick and asynchronous. If a hotelier is blocked for too long handling a single customer, the overall responsiveness of the hotel can suffer, especially if it’s “single threaded”.

So how do hotels train themselves and equip their staff to provide top quality customer experience?

Hospitality now versus then

In 1846, central heating was introduced to hotels and a string of innovations we now take for granted followed: elevators, electric lighting, in-room telephones and free television. Around the time of free television, innovation began to center around high technology: electronic point-of-sale, in-room checkout, Internet reservations and Wi-Fi.

Joseph Longo, a winning hotelier, dictated that all guests feel welcome, by providing them with, “the basics of hospitality: a comfortable room, exceptional food and friendly staff to serve them.” No mention of technology here.

And yet, it is critical to Longo’s recipe. Computers have changed the way we live and our notion of comfort has changed with it. Hospitality used to mean a warm smile from helpful staff. Now, a guest would gladly just walk into the hotel, head to her room, and let their pre-assigned door scan a barcode off her phone. No Internet? Close the hotel!

Technology is not an end to the hotel industry, and may not be an end to any industry save the technology industry itself.

APM is here to comfort DevOps

Almost every APM product on the market is designed and engineered to make the life of the “hotel staff” [IT and DevOps] more efficient. This may initially be the right move while the technology is proving itself out, but eventually the winning products are those that fulfill Longo’s prime directive: making the guests comfortable. How can APM help do this?

Soon, the APM community will stop its primitive quest for more information. It will shift its focus from metric malaise to comprehensive characterization of the entire end user experience. Call it the “hero’s journey” of Internet end users – it takes a path into the abyss, and on to transformation. (To be continued?)


David B. Martin is a product manager with the Enterprise Management BU at CA Technologies…

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