Application performance management (APM) is starting to be employed more widely as more organizations embrace digital business transformation. As the number of digital business processes spanning multiple applications increases, so does the need to understand what’s occurring inside both greenfield and legacy applications. In fact, at the heart of many of those digital business processes are enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) applications from SAP. To make it possible to gain insights into those applications AppDynamics, a unit of Cisco Systems, announced today it is making available AppDynamics for SAP.
Jonah Kowall, vice president of market development and insights at AppDynamics, said his company is now able to support ABAP, the proprietary language SAP developed to build its applications. That language also has been employed extensively by IT organizations to customize those applications.
SAP currently is trying to transition its customers to building custom applications on a cloud framework based on the Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment. Most of those applications are be written in Java or the new Jakarta platform that replaces Java. SAP has also provided a software development kit and application programming interfaces (APIs) for tapping into S/4 HANA ERP applications.
But there is a massive installed based of ABAP applications running in enterprise IT environments. Much of that code is now being integrated with other applications as part of a larger digital business transformation initiative.
Kowall said those extensions are now driving organizations to apply an agent for the AppDynamics APM to custom applications written in ABAP. Historically, enterprise IT organizations only applied APM to their most critical applications. But as organizations move to digitize business processes, they now need to able to track transactions spanning multiple applications. Given the reliance many organizations have on SAP applications, it’s inevitable those transactions will involve SAP applications that were customized using ABAP.
In addition, Kowall noted that being able to discover precisely where those custom applications are involved in any transaction is pivotal when it comes to upgrading to the SAP S/4 HANA applications, which are based on the SAP in-memory database, or lifting and shifting a legacy SAP application into the cloud.
Kowall said organizations that have used ABAP to customize SAP applications now will have visibility down to the code level, including queries being made to the underlying database. From a DevOps perspective, that capability will go a long way to breaking down yet another silo in the enterprise. AppDynamics expects the first order of business for many organizations will be simply to create a performance baseline for their ABAP applications, which in many cases are likely to be an eye-opening experience, he said.
The focus on digital business transformation is likely to spur adoption of DevOps processes over a much broader swath of the enterprise. Rather than simply apply DevOps processes to new applications, many organizations soon will extend DevOps into the realm of legacy application environments as well. That may take some time to play out, given the scope of the cultural changes involved. But at this point, those changes are now all but inevitable.