The growing importance of reliable applications in the enterprise has opened a lucrative market opportunity for APM (application performance management) vendors, some of which have taken full advantage lately.
Two application performance vendors recently released gaudy, yet vague, growth numbers for 2011. AppDynamics claimed 400 percent growth in customer bookings, while rival BlueStripe boasted a 700 percent jump in revenues. And even though neither has released more detailed data behind these figures, analysts in the industry do not believe they are exaggerating, especially when considering the ongoing trends in the market.
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SURVEY SAYS: Bad alignments hamper app management
"With private companies, there is no way to know revenue numbers other than what they tell you," Julie Craig, research director for application management at Enterprise Management Associates, says. "However, many of the APM vendors I have spoken to recently do report triple-digit year-over-year growth, particularly this year. Budgets are freeing up somewhat, and part of the growth is a result of pent up demand. APM solutions are very hot right now."
Vic Nyman, co-founder and COO of BlueStripe, says his company, which he claims was in the "high-seven figures" for revenues in 2011 and will reach eight figures this year, has taken advantage of a market in which competitors have fallen flat.
Even as the CEO of a competitor himself, AppDynamics' Jyonti Bansal agrees with Nyman's assessment of the competitive landscape for APM tools. That's because many vendors trying to get in on the growing wave of customers in this space have marketed their broader network monitoring tools as those for APM, Bansal says. Customers, as a result, have gotten tripped up while trying to maintain an increasingly complex infrastructure without the right tools.
"It's kind of like operating a Boeing 757," Bansal says. "It's very powerful and very complex, but if you're operating without the right dashboard and cockpit or without auto-pilot, you can't really do it. It becomes very complex."
A survey of IT operations and support executives conducted by BlueStripe found that 64 percent of respondents manage applications that support seven or more technologies, as opposed to 20 percent whose applications support five to seven technologies and 16 percent with fewer than five. Resulting management issues appear to be dragging down efficiency, according to the survey. The top complaint, as cited by 64 percent of respondents, was that it takes too long to resolve business-impacting application outages. That was followed by a lack of support for the broad mix of technologies in their applications, claimed by 61 percent, and the need for too many subject-matter experts to resolve application incidents, cited by 60 percent.
Although 2011 was what many consider a turning point for the APM market, the trends pushing it to that level have been years in development. Mainstream acceptance of service-oriented architectures, cloud adoption, and new approaches to application development have pushed many enterprise IT decision makers to incorporate APM tools alongside their network management arsenal, Craig says.