In this article

By Mike Cervasio and  Ben Haddox

IT leaders have been experiencing the benefits of application performance monitoring (APM) solutions for several decades now. These solutions have allowed leaders to address performance issues faster and optimize investments in network and data center infrastructure. 

But APM solutions have been missing a key component of the modern IT stack: cloud computing.

An escalating shift to cloud-native architectures is forcing an evolution in APM. As more applications rely on a greater number of cloud operating models and service integrations, traditional means of mapping application performance can have trouble scaling.

Recognizing the need for a better approach, AppDynamics launched AppDynamics Cloud earlier this year at Cisco Live

What is AppDynamics Cloud?

AppDynamics Cloud is a cloud-native observability platform. Traditional APM solutions tend to view applications through a tier and node lens. This approach has worked for conventional applications when associating traditional supporting infrastructure, like virtual machines and CPUs; however, it can quickly break down when applied to modern applications.

Unlike applications running on premises, cloud-native applications rely on a complex mix of cloud infrastructure, microservices and containers. Additionally, these cloud components often support multiple applications and are constantly spinning up and down, further muddying a complete picture of performance. 

AppDynamics Cloud takes a meta-data approach that surfaces all cloud environments supporting an application, mapping processes running in the cloud to the underlying infrastructure and services that support them.

Optimizing cloud services 

AppDynamics Cloud allows infrastructure and operations leaders to assess how applications will perform when certain components are placed in different public clouds. Tweaks to where components reside can be quite revealing. 

For example, IT leaders might find they are paying sizeable amounts of money for cloud services that are only supporting one application, whereas if they moved clouds, that same investment in services could support multiple applications.

Or it could be the case that leaders find that an increasing number of their applications require one cloud service. In that case, they may want to spin up a duplicate version of that service and load balance across it so applications can run more efficiently. 

Infrastructure and operations organizations are beginning to make these iterative improvements on an application-by-application basis. However, as microservices and containers become developer mainstays, we see APM becoming a strategically important piece to consider when discussing cloud investments. 

OpenTelemetry gains momentum 

All of these cloud connections and insights are possible thanks to continuous data integrations with OpenTelemetry™ standards. While OpenTelemetry has been around for a while, modern application architectures are helping it gain momentum inside large organizations. 

Traditionally, gathering application performance metrics required installing an agent on an application's supporting infrastructure. With applications now leveraging multiple cloud services and platform as a service, it has become inefficient to install an agent on every supporting service. 

Luckily, IT staff can inject OpenTelemetry into the application's code. Think of this as a little software development kit (SDK). With this approach, it only takes one agent collector sitting in an environment to capture a host of data. 

For example, if you have an application with 100 different nodes, instead of putting an agent on each node, two or three collectors can capture telemetry data for the entire application.

As vendors move to an OpenTelemetry standard, so too will enterprises. 

The bigger AIOps story

APM solutions are at the heart of AIOps, the vision of pulling huge amounts of data from the full IT stack to get an actionable picture of operational health

So where does AppDynamics Cloud fit in?

To answer this, it's important to understand a major tenant of AIOps: full-stack observability. Rather than focusing on siloed technology domains, full-stack observability looks at data correlated throughout the entire IT stack. 

Luckily, there's an easy acronym to remember its key components: BASICC. It stands for business, application, security, infrastructure and cloud connectivity. True AIOps requires pulling data from each category. 

In the past, APM solutions were able to help deliver intelligence from business, application, security and infrastructure; however, such solutions couldn't pull in data related to cloud connectivity. 

By rounding out BASICC, AppDynamics Cloud is raising the bar for observability — a move that will be key in pushing AIOps forward. 

Similarly, there's another acronym at the heart of AIOps: MELT, short for metric, event, log and trace data. With complete observability information from MELT, organizations can feed the data into their AIOps platform to correlate and surface events without requiring manual labor and intervention. 

AppDynamics Cloud specifically helps with trace data, the live network interdependencies that help IT operators locate where an identified problem is.

Continuing the journey

Of course, AppDynamics Cloud, or any other APM solution, is only one part of the multi-layered journey to AIOps. 

WWT and AppDynamics can help you sort through your organization's unique challenges related to AIOps transformation and performance monitoring. 

Specifically, we'll work with you on infrastructure monitoring, application performance management (including cloud workloads), IT operations center capabilities and operational requirements, IT service management integrations, automation and orchestration, and reporting and dashboards. 

Benefit from unparalleled levels of visibility across your cloud-native architectures. 

Grow your AIOps capability.  SCHEDULE A WORKSHOP