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Deploying APM in the Enterprise … Part 1 of More Than 1

Duct Tape, and Knives, and Hammers Oh My

It’s interesting as a parent watching your kids grow up and learn how to do things for themselves. I have 2 boys ages 6 and 7 and they often amaze me and confound me. There are times when I think they are absolutely brilliant and other times where I think that significant amounts of remedial education may be in their futures.

Duct Tape, and Knives, and Hammers Oh My
I recall a time not long ago when my kids first discovered the wonders of duct tape. What a magical substance. They really thought that you could fix anything with duct tape. Broke a lamp? Duct Tape! Cut your finger? Duct Tape! Building a boat out of sticks? Duct Tape! (Seriously, my oldest boy actually tried this.)

After getting some less than stellar results with duct tape in many situations the next wonder tool discovery was the knife. Wow, knives were amazing! They could cut your pieces of duct tape, create arrows and marshmallow holders from sticks, and generally make holes in lots of things. But alas, they eventually discovered that knives didn’t produce the blunt force required for certain jobs … but hammers did!

I’m not going to get into the gory details but let’s just say that many things got bashed beyond recognition during the “hammer phase”. Thankfully no animals were injured during this time period and our dog was smart enough to go into hiding for a few weeks until the heat blew over.

Let’s Get Real
What do these little anecdotes have to do with deploying APM in the Enterprise you ask? Great question. In most enterprise environments there are a wealth of monitoring tools that have either been built or bought. In many cases these tools are sitting around as shelf-ware or are only performing a limited subset of what they can really do. Part of the problem is that in most organizations there is little time or tolerance for learning from our mistakes. With this in mind I am going to write a series of blogs which describe my experiences of taking a large enterprise organization from APM infancy to a level of maturity most organizations only dream about.

The next question I hope you’re asking is… Why should I listen to this guy?

Another excellent question, you’re on the ball today! If you’ve read my other blog posts you might already know that I worked for a large financial services company as a monitoring architect. I was brought into the Investment Banking division to help reduce the number of incidents that were impacting end users. In a few months I (with help from many people) was able to stop the bleeding and get the organization headed down the path of APM maturity. Within a couple of years our organization was proactively seeking out and fixing performance bottlenecks as well as dynamically adapting to changes in workload demands. All in all I worked in that role for about 5 years and departed with things running very smoothly. Many applications saw significant improvement in overall response times and the number of customer impact incidents decreased by about 90%.

The Plan
I learned a lot of lessons during those years. There were many examples of success but also some failures. Those failures taught us valuable lessons that I will pass along to you over this series of blog posts. So here is a rough approximation of the topics that I plan on covering:

  • APM Maturity (not the same old boring model)
  • Where do you start?
  • Deploying APM (It’s about more than just the software)
  • Alerts done right!
  • Spreading the love. (Getting high levels of adoption)
  • Dashboards and Reports
  • Staying relevant over time.

Don’t Stab Your Brother, You Could Kill Him!
In my effort to be a good father I let my kids explore their world and give them more guidance when I think they might hurt themselves or others. It’s okay if they cut the tip of their finger with the knife but completely different if they were to stab someone with the knife. I share my knowledge with them so they won’t end up having really bad experiences but the finer details are left up to them to figure out. The same goes with this series of posts. I want to share knowledge to prevent you from stabbing your company in an artery but there are many fine points that you will need to discover as you progress on your journey.

Join me on Thursday for the next installment in this riveting series (APM Maturity), and try not to stab anyone in the mean time.

Read the original blog entry...

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