Application Delivery Infrastructure
Maybe you have a number of applications that run on disparate hardware platforms and are spread out over multiple data centers. Maybe some are more business critical than others. Maybe some are more reliable than others. From a high level, you don’t really know health of your services on a moment-to-moment or day-to-day basis.
When a problem occurs, you don’t always know where to look first, so you end up looking everywhere—pinging servers, diving into log files, packet captures, service checks, and page-load times, then moving on to the next step in what you think is the application-delivery chain.
Or maybe this isn’t you. Maybe you have a few of monitoring tools in place today, but they’re poorly integrated, don’t provide you with business context, aren’t comprehensive, and you really don’t use them until a customer alerts you to a problem.
Either way, what you need is proactive intelligence. You need to understand end-to-end performance and how to pre-empt problems before they become outages. You need to get ahead of capacity demands so you’re not caught off guard with last-minute changes and budget requests.
You need operational intelligence; you need total visibility.
Total Visibility Is a Three-legged Stool
The first leg is Machine Data—essentially logs. What are your computers saying to you? In most cases, your servers and applications will tell you when they’re having a problem. If you’re listening you can respond.
The second leg is Wire Data—the traffic on your network. By analyzing network packets for information about how different components of your application delivery chain are responding to each other, you get a non-biased, holistic view of how the application is behaving from the end-user perspective. You can also see how dependent elements respond to each other.
The third leg is Deep Application Visibility, often called byte-code instrumentation. This is the bread and butter of Application Performance Monitoring. APM allows you to instrument running code on each of your application servers. Most APM solutions support Java, .NET, and Node.js. Some also support Ruby, PHP, Python, and other modern application frameworks.
The end goal of Operational Intelligence is to gain the same level of visibility of your complex IT environment that a race-car driver has of their car, or an airplane pilot has of their flight systems.