Cloud, BYOD, Agile trends adding news layers of complexity to app development and IT management
CA Technologies aims to simplify all this with a host of products to make life easier
THE enterprise IT world today is more applications-centric, driven by the adoption of cloud, BYOD (bring our own device) and mobility – which bring with them new layers of complexity and new headaches for the IT department.
CA Technologies hopes to simplify the management of this complex world and relieve part of the headache at least with its Application Performance Management (APM) suite and related management products.
The Islandia, New York-based Fortune 500 company is in fact minting business off the above technology trends. “The APM business is one of the fastest growing businesses for CA,” said Stephen Miles (pic above, left), vice president of service assurance, Asia Pacific and Japan, CA Technologies. “We’ve had a huge boom, especially in South-East Asia.”
“This currently happens to be one of CA’s largest business franchises, and one that we’re continuing to make investments in – it remains front and centre of our business,” he added at a recent interview with Digital News Asia (DNA).
In terms of uptake in the region, Miles declined to give actual numbers, but said that the company’s APM business in Asia Pacific was growing at around three times the market rate. The worldwide APM market is estimated to be worth US$2.2 billion according to the company’s estimate.
“We see a concurrency of spending from different industries here [in South-East Asia], including the telecoms and in particular banking and finance industries, which are spending huge amounts of money,” he said.
Scott Williamson (pic above, right), senior director of product management at CA Technologies, said that what was spurring on APM adoption was the fact that so much business and customer satisfaction was being driven through the web and other online channels today. Businesses have to manage all this proactively.
“Our APM product helps customers manage the end-user experience of their online channels, and if there are issues, help them triage and troubleshoot them,” he said.
Williamson noted that today’s systems are very complex and distributed. “As the cloud proliferates, these systems are being distributed away from the data centre and unto the cloud, and it gets harder to manage,” he said. “Yet, it’s more critical to do so.”
He claimed that CA Technologies’ APM product line is the market leader and has been growing rapidly over the years, with a market share a little above 13% according to Gartner, as well as other market research firms.
CA Technologies acquired the technology in 2006 by buying a company called Wily Technology for US$375 million.
There are two ways in which its APM product works. “Our customers want to know how their endusers are experiencing their applications,” Williamson said.
For instance, when a user logs in to a bank, that bank would want to know if the login transaction went smoothly, and that its customer was also being served well as an enduser.
But the other way the APM product works is when things don’t go so well.
“When this happens, it’s often very difficult to figure out what the problem is, and you’ll have to use very expensive and specialised resources to diagnose those issues,” said Williamson. These could include database, mainframe, server, applications server and portal server, administrators.
“There are any number of technologies under the hood that are serving up those transactions to the enduser, and it is difficult, expensive and time-consuming to troubleshoot those problems,” he said.
“That’s what our product does: It lets you know if there is an enduser problem, and if there is, helps you triage it,” he claimed.
Fire-fighting IT on the run
Williamson said there have been quite a number of times in which customers faced a critical issue that could have been dogging their systems for days, weeks or even months, causing transaction performance issues.
“They reach a point of pain that they can no longer tolerate, and they’ll call us in,” he said. “We’ll drop our product in, and within 15 minutes they’ll troubleshoot the problem. That’s the type of manpower you can save.”
In many cases, such problems are technical issues, like a memory-leak problem caused by sloppy coding, or a database call that was misconfigured and which thus taxes database resources, which can be an expensive proposition.
“Those are technical examples of problems we can uncover, but there are problems that come from the complexity of today’s application environments,” said Williamson.
Noting that the applications lifecycle includes stages such as development, testing, staging and production, he said that the more proactive customers apply APM across the entire lifecycle.
“This is so when an application goes into production and if there is an issue, you can quickly identify the source and get it back to the development team, which can then solve it,” he added.
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