Riverbed Technology has expanded its approach to unifying application performance management (APM) and user monitoring based on a new architecture for its SteelCentral platform, now capable of supporting tens of thousands of agents monitoring billions of transactions per day.
Nik Koutsoukos, vice president of product marketing and product management for Riverbed, said auto-tuning and data compression mechanisms combined with cluster architecture now makes it possible to analyze all the data in the enterprise to determine precisely where bottlenecks are adversely affecting user experience.
In contrast, rival APM offerings only sample transactions and sacrifice metadata as well as depth in terms of being able to delve into a complete stack of software and associated IT infrastructure, he said.
Koutsoukos noted the way APM is being applied will fundamentally change as organizations embrace digital processes. Most organizations today apply APM sparingly across a limited number of mission-critical applications. But as business processes become digitized, customer satisfaction increasingly will be determined by the quality of the application experience. That can’t be accurately determined without being able to leverage a set of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications capable of monitoring the entire IT environment, he said.
Riverbed, with this release of SteelCentral, is also adding analytics infused with artificial intelligence capabilities, as well as machine learning and predictive analytics to keep track of transaction trends over time. This release introduces a “Prism” report that analyzes longitudinally at the conversion funnel for a business transaction flow to visualize trends over time, spot issues and then resolve associated problems.
In addition, Riverbed is adding support for Riverbed Xirrus Wi-Fi access points, which the company acquired last year, to the SteelCentral platform.
Industry research suggest that only 5 percent of enterprise applications are actively monitored, Koutsoukos noted, but Riverbed is expecting that to change in a digital age where IT essentially has become the business. More senior business executives are soon going to be equating application performance with customer engagement and, by extension, opportunities to generate revenue.
Riverbed expects that monitoring all those distributed applications and associated IT infrastructure will be possible only by using a set of software-as-a-service applications, which Koutsoukos said in many cases will pay for itself by eliminating the need for various application and infrastructure monitoring tools in silos across the enterprise.
Given the relative light adoption of APM tools, the rise of digital business may provide an unexpected benefit for DevOps teams. As line-of-business managers demand more insight into the IT environment, the amount of metrics that should become available to DevOps teams should correspondingly increase. The challenge may lie in educating business managers why those metrics are relevant to them and then getting them to fund their acquisition.
In the meantime, DevOps teams should be prepared for a lot more questions relating to application performance coming from business managers. Not every one of those questions might be all that informed. But over time, an educated business executive always makes for the best DevOps customer.