Following a number of high-profile outages in recent weeks, including The Royal Mail, Google Gmail and Virgin Media, businesses need to reconsider their approach to Application Performance Management (APM), says ExtraHop Networks, an innovative provider of network-based APM solutions.
A survey of IT managers by Applied Research and Symantec has shown that a combined total of around 2,765 hours were lost in downtime in 2011 across the globe, a figure which costs businesses dearly in terms of lost revenue and tarnished brand reputation. Whether the result of a network issue, application error or targeted attack it is clear that organisations need to move towards proactively managing application performance or face negative consequences.
Owen Cole, VP EMEA, ExtraHop Networks, commented: "Today's IT environments are growing rapidly and becoming very complex, especially with the rise of cloud, virtualisation, enterprise mobility and agile development. Because of this, spotting and diagnosing problems is becoming increasingly difficult and traditional approaches to APM are no longer sufficient."
"In today's connected world it is key that business-critical applications, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, supply chain systems and a company's website or email services are always available and responsive to users."
Cole's comments follow a string of outages from key brands over the past month—from the crashing of the Paddy Power website just before the Grand National to the hacking of Virgin Media's website last week. Many outages are the result of malicious intervention, which is actually relatively simple to detect with the correct technology, while others, such as the downtime of Google's Gmail and Royal Mail's online services, are left unexplained.
"Not only does any downtime cause severe disruption to both the business and customers, but it can be detrimental to a brand's reputation. All businesses need to be able to predict, see and fix issues in real time, and we urge any organisation that does not have this visibility to implement changes immediately," Cole added.
An increase in user and customer demand for more services has put increasing pressure on both applications and the network, and more often than not, issues are only recognised when it's too late. The main problem lies with the fact that most companies are embracing a reactive approach to performance management that focuses simply on gathering data and analysing it after something goes wrong.
Cole concluded, "It is clear that a fresh approach to performance management is needed and with the next generation of monitoring solutions now more accessible than ever, businesses really have no excuse for any downtime."