What you need to know about application performance monitoring tools
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Riverbed Technology has enhanced its application performance monitoring platform with deeper visibility into end-user experience and transaction performance monitoring of native mobile applications. It also added a new analytics feature that speeds up root cause analysis of performance problems.
The new mobile and analytics features have been added to SteelCentral AppInternals 9.0, formerly known as OPNET AppInternals Xpert. Riverbed recently renamed most of its products, including its Cascade performance management portfolio, which is now called SteelCentral.
Riverbed's application performance management (APM) platform previously could show only what mobile devices were on the network. Now it can identify which applications Android and IOS devices are using and present application performance and end-user experience information. Riverbed is also enhancing AppInternals with its HDAnalytics capability, a data transaction capture technology that can store entire transactions within the newly expanded AppInternals big data repository for root cause analysis.
Riverbed APM: Increased insight in mobile environments, with more data
As organizations invest heavily in mobile applications and move towards "mobile first" strategies, visibility into mobile application performance is essential, said Jonah Kowall, research vice president of IT operations management at Stamford, Connecticut-based Gartner Inc.
"From anywhere [a user] might be accessing the network, we can show IT how the user's satisfaction is within the application," said Tom Fisher, senior manager of product marketing for Riverbed.
Enterprises who offer mobile applications to customers often don't receive performance complaints from users. Those users typically download another app that does the same thing, said Bob Laliberte, senior analyst at Milford, Massachusetts-based Enterprise Strategy Group Inc.
"Riverbed is giving organizations the ability to monitor that mobile environment and give them a chance to optimize it, if need be, so they won't lose customers."
Riverbed wants to provide deeper visibility by monitoring all transactions at a more granular level, Fisher said. "Enterprises have to know if their users are satisfied … but with a lot of different servers, virtual machines and networks all over the place, it's become much more difficult to find where the problem is."
The new HDAnalytics capability captures all descriptive data for every transaction, instead of just a snapshot of transactions that many APM tools collect. Having access to more data will allow application development teams to troubleshoot and solve problems without having to recreate the issue, Riverbed’s Fisher said.
While collecting more information is good for IT, HDAnalytics can also zero in on the root cause of a problem by identifying the transaction linked to an issue. The new analytics capability can also help IT save time by identifying multiple problems at the same time, Fisher said. "It's often not just one issue," he said.
It's not just about having the ability to collect more data. Having contextual data is crucial so support teams can see the granular details and understand the entire transaction, from end-to-end, Laliberte said.
Riverbed SteelCentral: An important piece of the rebranded Riverbed APM portfolio
In an effort to consolidate product branding and make product names more descriptive of their functions, Riverbed has associated all of its brands with its flagship SteelHead WAN optimization controller. In addition to changing Riverbed Cascade to SteelCentral, the Stingray virtual application delivery controller product is now SteelApp; Riverbed Granite for remote branch office optimization is now SteelFusion; and the Whitewater remote cloud storage appliance is now SteelStore. Riverbed also dropped the OPNET brand for AppInternals and pulled it into the SteelCentral brand.
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SteelCentral AppInternals 9.0 was released as part of Riverbed's effort to provide integration between performance management tools across its application performance portfolio. Enterprises have traditionally had to use point solutions in the past to monitor end-user performance, network performance, or applications and services separately, which has created a siloed effect within the IT department, said Nik Koutsoukos, senior director of product marketing for Riverbed's SteelCentral line. "Because IT didn't have cross-domain visibility, they really had a hard time getting to the problem," he said. "In order to provide performance optimization within any enterprise, you need visibility into the network, application, and the end-user experience."
Riverbed's new platform approach to performance management allows enterprises to use pieces of its platform, or all network and application performance monitoring and optimization tools together for a more centralized view of their environment, Koutsoukos said.
"You don't have to employ the entire suite to monitor your applications -- you can start with one product, like a network, packet or application monitoring tool in a modular fashion," he said. "But environments aren't linear anymore. The entire suite gives [businesses] that cross-domain visibility they need to monitor the entire application in its ecosystem."