Application Performance Management (APM) is necessary for your career‘s health.
“IT Ops” often promotes the timeliness of APM because of the structural changes information technology (IT) is experiencing: with historic and irreversible shifts to mobile as an endpoint, cloud as a nexus, and social as a domain, the manual datacenter techniques of five years simply don’t keep up. Consultants are right to advise that “Application Performance Management (APM) Provides an Insurance Policy for Migrations“, as one headline puts it. Computations and communications on which your organization depends are happening in more places than ever before, and many of those places are outside your direct control. Only APM can keep up. APM is a win for the organization.
That’s the message decision-makers deserve to hear from you. At the same time, APM also nourishes your personal standing crucially. Consider what happens if you attempt to “consumerize” your operations without the benefit of APM. When inevitable problems arise, you’ll eventually track them down to the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) provider your organization chose–and the IaaS vendor will agree there was a difficulty, but its records show that it was only a minor transient, and not responsible for the major breakdown you experienced. Without your own well-organized logs and dashboards, you’ll have to accept that version of history.
That’s not the worst case, though: if no symptoms show up at the level of end-users, your organization will collectively wonder what you do. Without a vigorous narrative backed up by real measurements, sharp managers outside IT will only be able to believe that the products and services you buy do all the real work, and you’re essentially idle.
This has been a challenge for IT since, let’s say, day two of its history: even thoughtful outsiders conceive IT Ops in only the most abstract way, and don’t understand that context might mean something as simple-sounding as, “replace water pump”, in real-life entails a three-hour detour of pulling air cleaner, radiator, belts, and more. That’s a variation of the reason I earlier wrote that “The Programmers Shall Always Be With You“: automation never catches up with aspirations, and expertise will always be necessary to keep the engines running smoothly.
Part of the value APM provides, then, is that it helps communicate to those without daily technical involvement how much difference your consistent proactive routines contribute. You’ll have the evidence that, for instance, what would have been a half-day outage without you was only a single customer call resolved in ten minutes. APM can be the difference between your superiors thinking you are redundant, or recognizing your leadership is indispensable.