Cool Vendors in Application Performance Monitoring, 2013

15 April 2013 ID:G00249231
Analyst(s): Jonah Kowall, Will Cappelli

VIEW SUMMARY

We highlight emerging APM offerings bought by multiple buyers, including IT operations, application support, development and line-of-business application owners. These offerings encompass an understanding of network performance, the Internet’s health and critical mobile application performance.

Overview

Key Findings

  • The health of an application is not confined to views from the data center network alone, but also includes the Internet and mobile carrier networks.
  • Application performance monitoring (APM) as a service is evolving at a rapid pace versus APM offerings that are confined to on-premises deployment models only.
  • Analytics are intrinsic to evolving APM solutions, as the complexity and diversity of data collected requires not only sophisticated reporting, but also more sophisticated mathematical algorithms to provide the IT technician or line-of-business user with insight.

Recommendations

  • Investigate offerings presented in this research as a way to extend existing APM investments, with the understanding that these vendors are acquisition targets.
  • Use caution with these vendors, because the viability of their offerings may be a concern. They have limited customer penetration, revenue and proven time on the market.
  • Focus first on organizational and process issues, and let them drive tool selection.

Analysis

This document was revised on 16 April 2013. The document you are viewing is the corrected version. For more information, see the Corrections page on gartner.com.

This research does not constitute an exhaustive list of vendors in any given technology area, but rather is designed to highlight interesting, new and innovative vendors, products and services. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

What You Need to Know

In this second annual Cool Vendors in APM research, we note that there are several key trends emerging, including an evolution of what is possible on native mobile applications, which are being deployed at exponential rates. Clients that run large application delivery businesses, and those with growing businesses around software or services delivered over the Internet, continued to express the need to determine health issues across the Internet. Beyond these trends, analytics is becoming a key differentiator among solutions, and not just in the presentation of data, but also in providing answers to software users. APM delivered via software as a service (SaaS) continues to remain relevant to buyers; most of the solutions discussed in this research are SaaS-based services.

AppNeta

Boston, Massachusetts (www.appneta.com)

Analysis by Jonah Kowall

Why Cool: AppNeta is unique among APM vendors, offering performance monitoring of both applications and networks delivered via SaaS. In June 2012, AppNeta acquired Tracelytics, broadening its application-aware network performance monitoring solution to include full-stack application tracing capabilities that give development teams a diagnostic tool for understanding performance issues within the code. For the network team responsible for the quality of the network infrastructure, and to diagnose application issues, AppNeta provides packet capture and analysis, path analysis, and response time monitoring. The solution uses patented measurement technology that allows for determination of the theoretical maximum capacity of a given network segment, without adding load on the circuit. The solution is also capable of monitoring unified communications components. Tracelytics, now called TraceView, provides code-level visibility and deep-dive diagnostics for Java, Ruby, Python and PHP on Linux-based operating systems. The unified agent deployed on the application servers also performs JavaScript end-user experience monitoring of browsers, as well as monitoring the server on which the agent is installed. Unique visualizations exist in the product, such as shaded heat maps and tier correlation enabling quick identification of hot spots and other issues related to application performance.

The vendor’s dual-headed approach offers benefits as teams diagnose and track issues within applications and the infrastructure. Due to differences among buyers, however, this approach is difficult to execute. As integration of the portfolio increases, there will be additional synergies between the APM and NPM technologies, providing a more efficient collaborative workflow. The products are priced aggressively and transparently. All AppNeta solutions are delivered as a service, with monthly or yearly commitments. With further integration of the portfolio and movement toward mobile APM, the vendor will continue to increase awareness and solve performance problems.

AppNeta has gone through a series of positive changes. It was relaunched in 2011 from its former name, Apparent Networks, transforming from a traditional software company to a cloud-based monitoring company. It has raised $31.8 million of venture capital during the past six years.

Challenges: Although AppNeta has both APM and network performance monitoring (NPM) businesses, these have not been merged in a meaningful manner at this time. The APM solution is also less mature than many competitors, due to Tracelytics’ limited time on the market before being acquired. Targeting different buyers within an organization may inhibit market penetration.

Who Should Care: Due to AppNeta’s dual-headed approach, its NPM products are purchased by network specialists within the IT operations organization, and TraceView is purchased by the development organization.

Crittercism

San Francisco, California (www.crittercism.com)

Analysis by Jonah Kowall

Why Cool: With the massive growth of native mobile applications, there are issues with platform diversity, code quality and performance of these applications. Crittercism helps by performing crash monitoring, analysis and application launch tracking. Having raised $18.7 million in funding during the past two years, the vendor is moving from monitoring application usage and behavior toward facilitating the mobile operations team, to understand and troubleshoot usage and performance of mobile applications.

Crittercism was founded in 2010 by several computer science students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Johns Hopkins University, and a talented designer from MIT’s architecture program. The vendor has built a product that is relied on by a large number of mobile application providers. In order to use the service, the application must be instrumented using the software development kits (SDKs) that currently support Android, iOS, Windows Phone 8 and generic HTML5 applications. Once compiled into the application, mobile device information about the performance, usage and stability of the application are tracked, in addition to data about the device itself. This data is sent to the Crittercism SaaS infrastructure, where it is processed and resulting alerts and reporting are displayed to the application provider.

Current customers include a long list of high-profile mobile application providers, including LinkedIn, Netflix, Shazam, Pinterest, Home Depot, Urban Outfitters and eBay. Crittercism and its technology are widely adopted and provide value to those struggling with the emerging mobile application market. The vendor’s pricing is based on the number of monthly active users of consumer-facing apps, and the number of devices for employee-facing apps.

Challenges: Forging new ground in the mobile performance monitoring space while other APM companies are also moving in this direction will be difficult and highly competitive for Crittercism. Measurement-based pricing becomes difficult to sustain, especially with a growing set of features and increased data being collected. This is more of an issue because Crittercism is currently using Amazon Web Services (AWS) for its infrastructure versus a traditional data center, which would allow a lower operational cost.

Who Should Care: The current core target buyers are development organizations, application owners and application support organizations managing mobile applications. IT operations professionals should consider understanding and integrating mobile application operations groups, which normally exist in line-of-business groups or other application support groups. Getting ahead of technologies that will be moving to mainstream operations requires proactive thinking, and mobile APM products will help operationalize the current offshoot that mobile applications represent.

ExtraHop Networks

Seattle, Washington (www.extrahop.com)

Analysis by Jonah Kowall

Why Cool: ExtraHop takes the same data source used by NPM vendors to solve APM-specific use cases, using a technique called full-stream reassembly to reassemble all packets into complete application flows, sessions and transactions down to the full payload. ExtraHop’s focus is on providing correlated, cross-tier visibility for production operations that spans the network, Web, application, hosted virtual desktop monitoring, middleware, infrastructure, database and storage tiers. It provides very easy-to-use, high-level views of the infrastructure and application performance, not just from within supported application types, but also from any application utilizing the network. The network data source allows for faster and easier implementation, which is often well-suited for organizations that lack the maturity needed for more-complex APM tools. ExtraHop and other network-based tools address three of the five dimensions of Gartner’s APM model. To expand coverage within the ExtraHop APM solution, it has devised application inspection trigger technology, which is a simple scripting language providing quick extensibility of the solution. This includes understanding proprietary or other custom application types, and allows the extension of the product to handle tracing transactions across tiers or monitoring client-side performance. Many of these use cases require changes to the application or other components to get deeper into application usage and performance.

ExtraHop was co-founded in 2007 by two former F5 engineers responsible for the redesign of Big-IP v.9. It has raised $20.6 million in two rounds of venture capital financing. ExtraHop’s namesake product is delivered via physical or virtual applications, which passively analyze network traffic. The product isolates fault by automatically building interactive, graph-based models of the infrastructure and each component’s typical baseline responsiveness, making usage extremely easy, while getting deep into the performance as needed.

ExtraHop has been a very partner-friendly company, working closely with vendors such as Cisco, Citrix, Keynote, SevOne and Splunk. The integrations and use cases between ExtraHop and these partners provide a larger ecosystem for extension of the platform as a primary data source.

Challenges: By not replacing APM or NPM functionality the acquisition of the ExtraHop solution is often a net new spend for organizations. The vendor has tried to combat this by lowering the overall cost of acquisition, introducing down-market products and monthly, usage-based pricing. With the expansion of other APM tools into network performance, and the limited long-term granular storage provided by the product, ExtraHop is part of an APM strategy, not a complete solution.

Who Should Care: IT operations organizations looking to determine escalation paths, or network organizations that often bear the brunt of the blame when applications fail to execute properly. The core target buyers are still those that own applications, such as application support, or application operations groups. The ability to customize application recognition and rapidly set up custom transaction monitoring creates a flexible product offering. Most users find ExtraHop’s modern and easy-to-use interface something they can share outside of their respective organizations, facilitating better collaboration across IT domain silos (such as network, database, application and storage teams).

Kataskopeo

Rome, Italy (www.kataskopeo.com)

Analysis by Will Cappelli

Why Cool: Kataskopeo combines classical packet-capture-based end-user experience monitoring with database activity monitoring and real-time analytics to provide an end-to-end picture of the business process impact of database-centric applications. Particularly notable is the real-time analytics functionality applied to mobile-platform-originated traffic.

Privately held and funded by Bima International and members of the La Neve family, Kataskopeo began trading under the name of BP Informatica in 2005, specializing in consultancy and system integration around CRM and workforce management technologies for the Italian market. In 2012, the company introduced a productization of technology developed over the course of a number of projects with telecommunications and travel and transport concerns.

The technology follows a traditional architectural pattern, in which multiple data collection appliances (K-Web for traditional Web traffic, K-Wap for mobile traffic, and KDB and Kdb2 for database performance) feed into a central point for aggregation, mapping and presentation. The value of the platform is derived from the powerful analytics applied to establish transaction paths and transaction business context, and from the high scalability of mobile data collectors. It should be noted that, while we are focusing on Kataskopeo’s operational monitoring and analytics functionality, its database monitoring and analytics functionality has also been deployed in a security context.

Kataskopeo charges a fixed price for the presentation server, while the various data collectors are charged on a per CPU or database instance basis.

Challenges: Kataskopeo’s differentiation lies in the quality of its real-time analytics and its mobile scalability, while its current positioning focuses too heavily on the platform’s core APM functionality. As such, the vendor invites competition from and comparison with APM vendors, many of which are better-established and/or offer technologies and services that are functionally more comprehensive than what Kataskopeo can provide in that area. The vendor will have to continue focusing on its core capabilities and learn how to effectively supplement APM investments, rather than replace them.

Who Should Care: Kataskopeo’s technology will be of interest to application operations teams, particularly those charged with monitoring mobile applications, and database administrators with a database performance focus.

Renesys

Manchester, New Hampshire (www.renesys.com)

Analysis by Jonah Kowall

Why Cool: Renesys, founded in 2000 by veterans of Bell Labs and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)-funded Internet researchers, has taken a unique approach to Internet performance measurement, building a large map of the Internet’s health by combining synthetic measurements and route analytics from more than 100 locations, giving them an understanding of latency and paths across the Internet. Renesys measures over 1.5 million points daily, including 150 million routes, allowing it to reach within one hop of 76% of the Internet. This data is distilled and analyzed to help subscribers of the monthly service:

  • Manage Internet service provider performance.
  • Identify emerging trends of issues that may impact its customers.
  • Make data center or office connectivity decisions in specific regions.
  • Provide guidance for strategic decisions regarding where points of presence should be established.

Internet connectivity is essential for most businesses; hence, the goal of Renesys has been to expand cases previously used mainly by government, network service providers and large data center operations to typical enterprises, assisting them in making the right investments. Once these investments have been made, connectivity can be monitored for changes or anomalies, as well as to investigate the impact a connectivity change would have. Renesys is used by IT operations to identify traffic delivery problems that may be linked to regional or global Internet slowdowns.

Internet Business Intelligence (IBI) is the new product offering currently undergoing the prelaunch customer validation process. The initial base price for IBI will start at $24,000 annually for a SaaS-based enterprise license, with a premium offer that will provide customers with customized analytics correlating Internet performance from within their networks directly to their customers. Creating a watch list of critical connections (critical Internet destinations), IBI users can identify performance impairment trends and evaluate provider performance. Renesys measures performance of the same set of networks from multiple vantage points, allowing for accurate performance measurement, customer impact assessment and the identification of poorly performing connections.

Future plans include a greater operational use case for this data, along with pairing it with additional data sources, such as APM real-user monitoring and security use cases.

Challenges: With the focus on larger enterprises, there are also additional use cases around those offering Internet services, such as SaaS providers that rely on stable Internet performance to deliver their services, and enterprises consuming additional public cloud resources. Marketing the solution to unfamiliar buyers will be a challenge for this small company that owns a unique set of data.

Who Should Care: IT operations and network professionals who make data center, public cloud, and connectivity decisions, and rely on the Internet for the core services they provide to their customers.