by Jonah Kowall | April 25, 2013 | 3 Comments
I had the pleasure of attending CA World this week with a few of my colleagues. Colin Fletcher joined me, covering similar areas. Laurie Wurster also attended, she’s our go to person for market data and forecasting across the IT operations management market. I had meetings with many CA customers, partners, and CA staff members. The interactions were valuable, as were the sessions led by end users showing how they were applying the technologies. The analyst relations team at CA is a pleasure to work with, and we thank them for always being responsive, helpful, and forward thinking.
This was an important year for CA considering the immense redesign and redevelopment efforts they have undertaken through 2012 and 2013 within the availability and performance monitoring market. These technology changes included major refreshes and user interface (UI) redesigns on products such as the more converged IM 2.0 (merging together NetQOS products, replacing eHealth, and bundling Spectrum) offering, focused on network management. CA moved Nimsoft into a modern web based UI as well, merging together the service desk with the monitoring. During CA world there were major announcements on the release of Application Performance Monitoring (APM) 9.5 which includes the embedded Prelert engine (with a slick CA developed UI) for analytics, browser script injection technology, and some major changes to the agent preparing for new features down the line. Many of these changes make the product more competitive with other APM offerings, but also allow long time and happy CA APM customers to have the comforts they have grown accustomed to. Many of these features in this release are the first versions, and there will be major enhancements forthcoming. In fact they are encouraging customers to vote for features which will get the most attention, and using agile development processes (they still have some work to do here in order to become more rapid on releases). These changes are refreshing, and unexpected considering the past patterns, kudos.
CA also announced the acquisition of Nolio and Layer 7 during the Monday keynote, adding much needed DevOps capabilities.
With all of these changes within the products, CA has a new captain of the ship. in early January Michael Gregoire was appointed CEO, previously the CEO of Taleo (which Oracle bought for $1.9b in 2012). Michael expressed his strong inclinations towards SaaS delivery, and modernizing the way business is done at CA. With a refreshing and different viewpoint it will be interesting to watch and advise the team how to accomplish these goals. Michael was clear in his keynote getting and standardized and consolidated UI framework across the products is a key deliverable for him, which if done right will be positive for customers.
With the product innovation, and new core strategies around delivery of software, it will be interesting to see how much transparency is afforded to customers on the products and packaging. CA’s substantial mainframe buyers are averse to change, the changes occurring are likely focused on specific parts of the business. There will no doubt be impact to the the availability and performance monitoring portfolio.
Category: APM DevOps ECA IT Operations Monitoring NPM SaaS Trade Show Tags:
by Jonah Kowall | April 24, 2013 | 8 Comments
I get this question a lot from friends and vendors alike. There is an art to consuming massive amount of information, something analysts have to do often with materials generated from vendors, emails, magic quadrant and research responses (The 2013 APM magic quadrant is officially underway, we have 1200 pages of text responses let alone the supporting graphics. Average response is 96 pages with a high of 257 pages.).
Here are some pointers of how and what I read for news. I use the following great free tools feedly handles the main RSS and feed consumption. I categorize and read my articles in a very dense and small format, they have great apps for android and iOS devices both for tablet and phone form factors. The apps are great and easy to use.
The other tool which integrates with feedly is buffer, which is a great tool for posting interesting news to multiple social media platforms. I cross post to twitter and linkedin. The key with buffer is that you set intervals when it posts content (such as my news). This avoids you posting 10 articles at once and instead posts them over the day. The free version is limited to 10 items in the buffer, which isn’t ideal, but its workable.
Finally for social media I really like Hootsuite as my primary, and I use the falcon apps on my android devices (sorry I ditched Apple devices completely about 6 months ago).
If anyone has another method they use, or some other better tools please post comments or get a dialog going on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Category: Uncategorized Tags:
by Jonah Kowall | April 24, 2013 | 1 Comment
This blog post has nothing to do with my work at Gartner, aside from being helpful when doing my work. Since my social media and blog presence is tied to my work, I figured I would exercise dome creative leeway with this post.
Music is a key element of motivation, emotion, and drive. It’s also a great release to see these talented artists perform. While I have a diverse taste in music, a lot of what I like is classic, be it rock, jazz, or other genres. The problem is that there is not anymore music being made by these bands and artists who have since passed on, or retired.
Being someone who does like new and innovative, tech, music, or pretty much anything in life I have to find my outlet for new music in electronica, where there are artists making a lot of new music, and DJs filtering this massive output of music and turning it into sets which can be enjoyed via mixes. Similar to what you hear at nightclubs, they are good music to work to as well. These are a massive number of genres, many of which I enjoy, but I tend to focus more on house and techno more so than other genres, hence my 20 DJ list has some bias.
1. Carl Cox
2. Pig and Dan
3. Chus and Cebalos (new entrant)
4. Doesm (new entrant)
6. X-press 2
7. Adam Beyer
8. Christian Smith
10. Stacey Pullen
12. Phunk Investigation
13. Layo and Bushwacka!
14. John Digweed
15. Joseph Capriati (new entrant)
16. Josh Wink
17. LTJ Bukem (little drum and bass for you all)
18. Michel De Hey
19. Richie Hawtin
20. Sander Klinenberg
You can find lots of these guys on mixcloud or soundcloud.
Category: Uncategorized Tags:
by Jonah Kowall | April 15, 2013 | 1 Comment
As the summer approaches for many of us, it’s important to stay cool. When looking for technologies it’s also important to investigate vendors who are taking a unique and innovative approach to some of the problems IT professionals face day to day. At Gartner we publish many cool vendor reports which get wrapped into a special report that publishes in May every year.
Last year we kicked off the APM Cool Vendors report, and we’ve published the second annual version:
We highlighted several vendors this year across the APM space including AppNeta, who offers both APM and NPM products as a service. Crittercism, who offers a SaaS based mobile APM solution (look for more mobile APM research to publish in the next 90 days). Extrahop networks offers a network packet based APM solution. Kataskopeo provides APM solutions for carriers and telco providers. Renesys is the final vendor covering performance not from an application perspective, but based on the delivery medium of the Internet.
Aside from the research I’m leading I also participated in several other cool vendor reports including the Cool Vendors in DevOps research published last week:
http://www.gartner.com/resId=2419215 (Sorry clients only)
We highlighted Boundary which is a product that straddles APM and NPM features, but is focused on those running rapid release infrastructure, normally associated with cloud deployments. My colleagues Ronni Colville and Colin Fletcher included Electric Cloud covering application release automation (ARA). Ronni and Jim Duggan covered Kubisys, which offers technology assisting with cloning production environments for testing purposes by using thin capture technology. Ronni also covered Salt Stack, which offers open source configuration management and deployment technology similar to products such as CFEngine, Chef, and Puppet.
The final Cool Vendors research I assisted with is in the unified communications Cool Vendor research, but we’ll have to wait a bit until that one publishes.
Please feel free to leave comments.
Category: APM DevOps IT Operations NPM Tags:
by Jonah Kowall | April 5, 2013 | 3 Comments
In my coverage area we’ve seen quite a few shakeups, there are some large ones currently in flight. Companies we cover in the infrastructure and operations management space including BMC, Compuware, and Dell are going through privatization right now. They are being driven by PE firms which are trying to make money by creating additional value. This could be making the right tactical investments, or splitting up the company info parts which could fetch more than selling the entire company.
Most of these larger technology firms innovate by acquisition, they are not agile enough to push a market forward themselves. The investment community does not tolerate investments which will not result in returns quickly. Companies which do take this risk are often hit with heavy sell offs, and a perceived decrease in shareholder value. The innovation happens by companies who take private funding away from the eye of the investor (Angel, VC typically) or the public and create tactical business models which often take losses in order to win out in the end. Private companies are able to make investments and grow in ways that are not profitable, investors of public companies would not let that happen.
I do like the aspects of transparency in public companies, but at the same time the general investment community changes their perception for many unrealistic reasons. I don’t think this will ever change, but it’s often not warranted. Food for thought:
- Will companies who are taken private learn to innovate or disrupt again?
- Will a private BMC, Dell, or Compuware be able to create compelling technology once they can invest away from the public eye?
- How much damage will be done if these companies are split?
These questions all remain, and I will revisit them as these transactions and product road maps transpire.
Category: IT Operations Monitoring Tags:
by Jonah Kowall | March 29, 2013 | 2 Comments
With covering so many markets within the availability and performance monitoring market I don’t spend nearly enough time writing about and discussing the network packet broker (NPB) market. This is a market once known as intelligent taps, matrix switches, span aggregators, and many other names. We gave the market a name which explains what they do when deployed as part of a network architecture to implement operations and security use cases.
After the extensive landscape we published in 2012, this year we just provided an update on some of the changes in this market. The chips most of these vendors use in their products are similar, the differentiation comes in the software. Regardless for most buyers these products are very similar aside from the form factor options. These are discussed in the research note.
Aside from the technology there have been several acquisitions, consolidation, and new entrants into this market in the past 12 months. The growth being reported by these vendors is still high, with custom hardware driven margins these are solid businesses. The issue is the future is murky, there are many disruptors beginning to take shape. These include the SDN vendors building tapping modules within their controllers and switching vendors building and introducing monitoring technology (such as Arista’s DANZ). These trends will continue, disrupting pure play NPB vendors, which today are driven by hardware and force them to either evolve (software, partnerships, or diversity in the offering) or be replaced.
These are some of the topics discussed in this research, along with summaries of the M&A activity, evolution in the technology and market.
Network Packet Brokers Enable Network Teams to Scale Operational and Security Use Cases – http://www.gartner.com/resId=2393916
Category: Uncategorized Tags:
by Jonah Kowall | March 28, 2013 | Submit a Comment
Over the past several months Vivek Bhalla and myself have been working on a set of research notes addressing the lifecycle of unified communications. We had hoped this would publish early last month, but alas it turned into quite a project (75 pages published). We get a lot of client inquiry around management of unified communications. This includes quality monitoring, troubleshooting, and a smaller number of network assessment questions to ensure the network is able to handle the new technologies.
This document is a guideline across all 5 research notes which were published in this series:
Know the Challenges of Voice, Video and Unified Communications for Network Management - http://www.gartner.com/resId=2382815
Often clients ignore the need to do assessments and find during roll out that the network is unable to handle the requirements, having to re-engineer the network and do assessments while deployment is in mid flight may be embarrassing, risky, and increases pressure on the team. I have spoken with several clients in the past few months who are in this precarious situation looking at high cost overruns within their UC projects. Use the guidelines in this note to understand if your network is ready to handle UC:
How to Determine Readiness for Voice, Video and Unified Communications - http://www.gartner.com/resId=2382115
The bulk of clients have deployments of VoIP, and have increased usage of centralized and distributed UC technologies (video, chat, screen sharing, collaboration, unified messaging). Most UC technologies are extremely sensitive to latency, congestion, or other network quality issues. This research provides best practices including investing in tools to solve issues, without overspending on monitoring and diagnostic technologies.
Use These Best Practices to Manage IP Voice, Video and Unified Communications Deployments - http://www.gartner.com/resId=2382216
Across the lifecycle there are a lot of vendor technologies, these vendor landscapes provide some information about the vendor’s approach, strengths, and cautions. The following vendors are highlighted in each vendor landscape:
Appneta, Codima, Empirix, IQ Services, Ixia, NetIQ, Spirent Communications:
CA Technologies, Cisco, Dell (Quest Software), EMC, Empirix, HP, Integrated Research, Ipswitch, Microsoft, NetEvidence, NetIQ, Servicepilot Technologies, SevOne, Solarwinds, and Zyrion:
Vendor Landscape for Postdeployment Health Monitoring of Unified Communications Components – http://www.gartner.com/resId=2382118
AppNeta, CA Technologies, Cisco, Compuware, Empirix, Fluke Networks, Infovista, Net Optics, Netscout Systems, NetSocket, Network Instruments, Niksun, Riverbed (OPNET Technologies), VOIPFuture, and WildPackets
Vendor Landscape for Postdeployment In-Depth and Packet-Level Monitoring of Unified Communications – http://www.gartner.com/resId=2382116
Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.
Category: IT Operations Monitoring NPM Tags:
by Jonah Kowall | March 14, 2013 | 6 Comments
Mobile APM is finally coming of age, current tooling allows for crash management, or synthetic transactions delivered via SaaS models. These are critical in determining application availability, but provide limited data when determining performance. Keynote Systems has made heavy investments moving from a traditional synthetic monitoring company to mobile making up over half of their revenue (as of Q4 2012), they are able to simulate mobile devices, and even test using real devices within their POPs. Compuware’s Gomez offering has technology emulating and using mobile browsers, along with many other vendors who have various synthetic testing capabilities.
IT Operations groups are still buying synthetic monitoring tools, but the market has remained flat for most vendors. This is due to the fact that there is a lack of detail mobile application operations teams need. Typically in most organization these mobile apps are offshoot projects which are often times managed by developers or an application support team within the business unit. In many organizations there is little to no formal operations or best practices around the mobile apps which are often developed by 3rd parties. The new breed of products must appeal to this new buyer, and ensure that developers are present to implement embedded mobile APM instrumentation.
True mobile APM technologies are embedded within native mobile applications, and instrument the code to provide not only mobile perspective, but many provide linkages into infrastructure and application delivery. In the past 2 weeks you have seen several announcements in this market moving it from a synthetic based market to really understanding mobile end user experience and usage details.
AppDynamics will be delivering (not available in general release today) a hybrid APM solution including on premise or SaaS delivery including mobile APM. This allows the solution to show a complete end to end picture from the device into the hosting infrastructure.
Crittercism was previously a crash detection tool, tracking crashes and app launches (look for more research covering them shortly). They are now monitoring the network from a mobile perspective and getting much deeper into the performance from a mobile perspective. Crittercism has a head start on this new market, since the SDK they use is embedded within thousands of native mobile applications today.
Finally yesterday we saw New Relic release their mobile APM offering, which similarly to AppDynamics links the mobile performance with infrastructure and application performance. New Relic is delivered via SaaS only, and has the largest APM as a service deployment footprint today, hence making it a natural path for customers who would like to add mobile capabilities.
Price points vary between the offerings, but normally are based on the number of active users (launching applications) in a given month. The price ranges quite a bit between solutions, and more analysis on the models will be performed in upcoming research in the Moible APM research I have planned for the coming months.
This will be a fun year, and a fun ride indeed, so hold on.
If you have questions feel free to reach out via email or @jkowall on twitter. Feel free to comment here
Category: APM IT Operations Mobile Tags:
by Jonah Kowall | February 22, 2013 | 30 Comments
We have published the inclusion criteria, and the detailed evaluation criteria here : http://www.gartner.com/resId=2328015
Clients only for this link to the published research on the criteria. All Magic Quadrants are open to all vendors who meet the inclusion criteria; if you represent a non-client vendor and think you belong in the MQ, feel free to contact me and I can send you the criteria. Please contact me via email or twitter @jkowall you have questions.
The evaluation criteria have been enhanced in terms of the detail we published this year to provide better visibility of how the products are graded.
The note outlines reduced interest and investment in synthetic end user experience monitoring tools, as real user monitoring tools continue to become more mainstream and well adopted. This is a trend which has happened over the last few years, but is increasing as the options and cost of real user monitoring has decreased dramatically. The one area this has not happened is mobile APM, where synthetic is the current state of the art. This will be changing throughout 2013, as this year real user and real device mobile APM is adopted by customers. This is a similar transition web applications have gone through over the past several years.
Some areas of note within the document is the increased importance of analytic technologies, these are not the tools which allow you to build reports and filter data, but actually analyze and provide suggestions and insight into what is being collected. In my discussions with vendors every company seems to do Cloud, Big Data Analytics, and SDN. These terms are washed out to the point of being meaningless without context. Please read Will Cappelli’s research and insight in analytics.
Category: Analytics APM Big Data Monitoring Tags:
by Jonah Kowall | February 22, 2013 | 124 Comments
Nagios is a great product, it’s free, you can’t beat that. The problem is that the level of usability and sophistication of the product is pretty much zero. Don’t expect any bells and whistles, or really any usability for that matter. The technology is rudimentary at best, but it can get the job done with the right skills on staff.
Many vendors have introduced products which make Nagios more usable, these improve the product itself, the supportability, and the fact that you can get support when things break. The problem is that the underpinning and ugliness still exist once you get through the layers intended to cover up the mess that Nagios is. There are still scripted “checks” which run to determine service health, the checks are normally challenging to manage, especially when some execute through the agent, while others do not. Other features added include better management, dash boarding, and other basic capabilities that you would expect out of the box with any monitoring product.
The problem with all of these approaches is that they don’t auto-configure themselves, they don’t detect application instances properly or consistently, and configuration of checks is painful. Most clients using Nagios will hear me tell them to ditch it, and go for a simple and inexpensive monitoring tool. I hear from many Gartner clients who decide to implement open source tools based on a talented engineer on the team, but when he leaves the company no one can figure out how to safely upgrade nagios or it’s associated components (This article goes through some of what is needed to manage Nagios : http://www.debianhelp.co.uk/nagiosinstall.htm)
The time and effort needed to manage this software is much better spent buying a simple monitoring tool to get the basics covered for infrastructure health. Once you lick the easy stuff, infrastructure health monitoring, you can start focusing on the harder problems. Application performance monitoring (APM) tools are where most interest is since they facilitate end user experience monitoring, in depth troubleshooting capabilities, and provide much greater business value to the non-technical users.
[EDIT : 11/12/13]
Other Nagios related blog posts:
Probably a better way to do similar types of monitoring, from a wider perspective:
Category: IT Operations Monitoring Tags: