Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Mehdi Daoudi, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: @DXWorldExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, @CloudExpo

@DXWorldExpo: Blog Feed Post

A New Breed of Actionable Analytics

Being smart about your monitoring data collection allows you to isolate and resolve problems much faster

Data is dumb but we can't seem to get enough of it these days. An entire industry has evolved to make sense of the massive amounts of data being generated every day. Massive data collection by itself does not guarantee the context required to solve business and IT problems... If we are smart about data, however, it will lead us in the right direction.

Today's businesses are defined by the software they run on, enabling them to innovate and create new services faster. Apple re-invented the music industry through software; Netflix changed the way we consume movies through software; grocery shopping, taxi-hire, parcel-logistics, car rental, travel booking... these are all industries that have been completely disrupted by software.

As more and more organisations depend upon the software they run on, the consumer demand for superior services, faster innovation, and improved performance continues to accelerate. As a result the software required to compete in this unforgiving market only continues to increase in its complexity.

It was only a few short years ago that when I wanted to book my family vacation, we all made the trip down to the local travel agent and sat around a desk while the agent tapped away on her green-screen searching for available flights and hotels. The process of booking our hotels has obviously changed dramatically, and so have the applications that support the process.

For example, below is a screen shot of the Business Transaction flow through a global travel site when a user makes a simple search for a hotel. All the user does is select a destination, some dates and maybe one or two preferences, but the resultant transaction kicks off more than 200 service requests before the results are returned to the user they can make their selection of preferred hotel.

Hotel Search

This rise in application complexity often means we generate increasingly more structured and unstructured data from our applications such as log files, email, alerts, infrastructure stats, network stats etc. Close to 200 billion emails will be sent in 2014, I wonder how many of those emails are false alerts from monitoring tools?

Keep nothing?

I have been helping companies build monitoring strategies for nearly a decade, and the problem I used to regularly face was dealing with organisations that just didn't have enough data. IT departments didn't have the required information to be able to quickly diagnose and remediate problems when they occurred.

Keep everything?

As organisations continue to have a greater dependency on the software they run on and application complexity continues to increase, there is a danger we swing the other way by collecting and storing too much data to be able to make sense of it in a timely manner. My colleague Jim Hirschauer often refers to this as the "home hoarders effect" drawing parallels with people who simply never throw anything out from their homes. The bigger the piles get the harder it is to find what you need, and at some point that pile is going to topple over.

Keep what you need

There are lots of good reasons to keep data, but "just in-case we need it" is not a good reason. It is important to think about why the data is being captured and stored and how it will help solve problems in the future. By keeping the relevant data and throwing away the clutter, you become more efficient and effective in troubleshooting and resolving problems.

But data alone isn't good enough to solve your business and IT problems. Data in and of itself is one-dimensional and dumb. Data doesn't tell you when there are problems, it doesn't tell you when business is going well, it doesn't tell you anything meaningful without some help and a lot more context. Let's explore an example to illustrate my point.

Let's say we have a couple of data points about a person. The data points are...

Heart Rate = 150 bpm

Blood Pressure = 200 over 100

Now tell me, is this person performing well? With these data points we have no idea. We need more data. The table below shows a list of some possible data points we can collect.

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 10.42.29 PM.png

Notice the last attribute in the table. The activity provides us with the context we need to focus on the proper data points to figure out if the person is performing well or not. Here are some more relevant data points...

Distance Run = 100 meters

Time = 9.58s

Now can we determine if the person is performing well or not? I'm not much of a track and field aficionado so I have no idea if this is a good performance or not. I need point of comparison to determine if 9.58 seconds in the 100-meter dash is good. So here is our baseline for comparison sake...

100-Meter World Record Time = 9.69s

Well it looks like the person was performing really well. They set a world record in the 100-meter dash. All of the data points individually didn't tell us anything. We required correlation (context) and analytics (comparison to baseline) in order to turn data into information. I like to refer to this concept as creating Smart Data.

Smart Data Defined

Smart Data is actionable, intelligent, information.

Smart Data is created by performing correlation and analytics on data sets. AppDynamics correlates end user business transaction details with completion status (success, error, exception), response times, and all other data points measured at any given time. It automatically analyzes the entire data set to provide information from which to draw conclusions and take the appropriate action. This information is called Smart Data.

Being smart about your monitoring data collection allows you to isolate and resolve problems much faster, and with a much lower cost of ownership and overhead.

I have recently been working with a company to replace their legacy monitoring tool with AppDynamics. The environment they are monitoring is a good size, consisting of about 1,200 servers and their main application processes approximately 300,000 transactions per minute. They invested in a monitoring tool to help manage the performance of their applications which captured and stored all the data they could "just in-case" it was needed. Unfortunately this approach required an additional 92 servers to be provisioned for the monitoring tool itself, which consumed approximately 80TB of data storage per year. The increasing investments this customer needed to make in hardware, storage, people, and maintenance was too much to manage for them and they decided to look for a different approach.

AppDynamics "smart data" approach to analytics means this particular customer now only requires two reporting servers and the storage requirements were reduced to just 1TB per year. Collecting only the data required to make smart decisions gave them both a 98% reduction in hardware costs and  more effective analytics in the process.

Adding business context

Smart data is not just about resolving problems faster though. In October last year we introduced Real-time Business Metrics and described how AppDynamics customers can use Real-time Business Metrics to extract and present business metrics directly from within their applications. These business metrics provide business context enabling customers to turn smart data into actionable information. Our customers, for example, can see the exact revenue impact of performance problems, the end user experience during an app upgrade, or the real-time impact of marketing campaigns. Smart analytics not only clearly show the business benefits of making immediate improvements, they help direct where limited resources should be invested for further business and application improvement going forward.

AppDynamics is focused on delivering actionable intelligence to sell problems for IT operations and development teams as well as business owners. To learn more about Real-time Business Metrics read here.

The post A New Breed of Actionable Analytics written by appeared first on Application Performance Monitoring Blog from AppDynamics.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By AppDynamics Blog

In high-production environments where release cycles are measured in hours or minutes — not days or weeks — there's little room for mistakes and no room for confusion. Everyone has to understand what's happening, in real time, and have the means to do whatever is necessary to keep applications up and running optimally.

DevOps is a high-stakes world, but done well, it delivers the agility and performance to significantly impact business competitiveness.

Microservices Articles
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
Containers and Kubernetes allow for code portability across on-premise VMs, bare metal, or multiple cloud provider environments. Yet, despite this portability promise, developers may include configuration and application definitions that constrain or even eliminate application portability. In this session we'll describe best practices for "configuration as code" in a Kubernetes environment. We will demonstrate how a properly constructed containerized app can be deployed to both Amazon and Azure ...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
The now mainstream platform changes stemming from the first Internet boom brought many changes but didn’t really change the basic relationship between servers and the applications running on them. In fact, that was sort of the point. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Gordon Haff, senior cloud strategy marketing and evangelism manager at Red Hat, will discuss how today’s workloads require a new model and a new platform for development and execution. The platform must handle a wide range of rec...
"DivvyCloud as a company set out to help customers automate solutions to the most common cloud problems," noted Jeremy Snyder, VP of Business Development at DivvyCloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"Outscale was founded in 2010, is based in France, is a strategic partner to Dassault Systémes and has done quite a bit of work with divisions of Dassault," explained Jackie Funk, Digital Marketing exec at Outscale, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Adding public cloud resources to an existing application can be a daunting process. The tools that you currently use to manage the software and hardware outside the cloud aren’t always the best tools to efficiently grow into the cloud. All of the major configuration management tools have cloud orchestration plugins that can be leveraged, but there are also cloud-native tools that can dramatically improve the efficiency of managing your application lifecycle. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, ...
Containers, microservices and DevOps are all the rage lately. You can read about how great they are and how they’ll change your life and the industry everywhere. So naturally when we started a new company and were deciding how to architect our app, we went with microservices, containers and DevOps. About now you’re expecting a story of how everything went so smoothly, we’re now pushing out code ten times a day, but the reality is quite different.
Gone are the days when application development was the daunting task of the highly skilled developers backed with strong IT skills, low code application development has democratized app development and empowered a new generation of citizen developers. There was a time when app development was in the domain of people with complex coding and technical skills. We called these people by various names like programmers, coders, techies, and they usually worked in a world oblivious of the everyday pri...
Using new techniques of information modeling, indexing, and processing, new cloud-based systems can support cloud-based workloads previously not possible for high-throughput insurance, banking, and case-based applications. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, John Newton, CTO, Founder and Chairman of Alfresco, described how to scale cloud-based content management repositories to store, manage, and retrieve billions of documents and related information with fast and linear scalability. He addres...