Application Performance Management (APM) is now a key IT discipline because maintaining the performance and availability of applications is the primary service an IT department provides to the enterprise. To enable this vital activity, OPNET has been delivering pioneering APM capabilities for more than ten years, and has emerged as a leading provider of solutions in this rapidly growing market.
OPNET APM Xpert Benefits
By implementing a comprehensive APM solution, IT organizations can realize the following high-impact benefits:
- Observe the experience of real application users live, and alert on SLA violations.
- Trend historical performance of an application to detect or confirm degradation in user experience.
- Accelerate troubleshooting and remediation.
- Eliminate “finger-pointing” among teams, promoting cooperative approaches to solving problems.
- Detect early warnings signs of application performance problems and take preventive action.
- Understand the relationship among applications and infrastructure components.
- Make informed decisions about infrastructure improvements related to application performance
- Reduce the risk of delay or failure by verifying application readiness prior to deployment
- Manage performance across the application lifecycle with a single tool suite to accelerate application deployment and prevent problems in production
OPNET’s APM capabilities are the most comprehensive in the industry and cover all functional areas.
End User Experience Monitoring.
End-user experience (EUE) monitoring is the gateway to the other dimensions of APM. Modern enterprises use a diverse array of applications that include technologies such as web, voice, server-based computing, fat-client database, email, mobile apps, etc. Furthermore, trends like mobility and cloud computing create additional challenges for APM instrumentation. No single EUE approach can address all types of applications and deployments. OPNET has a multipronged strategy for EUE that includes passive monitoring and browser-based instrumentation. This flexibility allows customers to apply the best technology in each situation.
OPNET’s AppResponse Xpert is a truly unique solution in the EUE space, offering not only end-user experience information at the transaction level, but also troubleshooting workflows to determine the contributors to application delay. AppResponse Xpert is available as an appliance-based solution as well as Software-as-a-Service.
Application Component Monitoring.
This functional area is also sometimes called “deep component monitoring” because of the fine-grained information that it typically collects. Precise and detailed application component monitoring is fundamental to a comprehensive APM capability. OPNET’s AppInternals Xpert continuously provides real-time visibility across all servers in the application environment. AppInternals Xpert tracks thousands of system and application metrics from the Java/.NET application server, web server, database tiers, operating system, virtualization platform, and other infrastructure components, including application-specific data sources. Leveraging patented low-overhead technology, AppInternals Xpert’s agents trace code path information for transactions as they execute across multiple tiers. Powerful correlation technology automatically uncovers relationships among metrics to rapidly identify root causes. AppInternals Xpert also offers the industry’s most advanced memory leak analysis for production environments. For enhanced visibility into database tiers, whose performance is critical to many business applications,AppSQL Xpert provides zero-overhead monitoring. In addition, for agentless access to a vast collection of application component types, AppSensor Xpert uses remote access protocols and public interfaces, such as SNMP to enhance the full picture of the application infrastructure.
Cross-Tier Transaction Tracing and Analysis
AppInternals Xpert leverages exclusive low-overhead technology to continuously trace user transactions across all application tiers, with code-level detail. It assembles a complete picture of a transaction’s path across tiers for near real-time and historical analysis. It records and indexes all transaction traces – not just samples – with a highly-scalable, federated, “big data” approach, making it easy to find and analyze any transaction.
AppTransaction Xpert is the industry’s most popular and powerful solution for in-depth transaction analysis across multiple tiers. AppTransaction Xpert integrates directly with The AppResponse Xpert family of appliances and AppInternals Xpert to deliver unique end-to-end tracing spanning network and server components.
CX-Tracer is a break-through solution that provides end-to-end visibility of user transactions that traverse a Citrix server, enabling faster, more accurate diagnosis of application performance problems in Citrix-hosted environments.
AppMapper Xpert is a break-through solution in the field of application discovery and dependency mapping. AppMapper Xpert is unique in that it shares the instrumentation already in place for comprehensive performance management in order to produce an up-to-date model of an application’s infrastructure based on behavior observed in the runtime environment. AppMapper Xpert’s leverages diverse information sources to generate more holistic and accurate application models than other mapping solutions. These sources include AppResponse Xpert to observe relationships among servers via the network, and AppInternals Xpert to analyze the processing activity within each server.
APM Xpert employs Federated Analytics, a highly scalable approach to monitoring application performance by distributing analysis closer to the monitored element. Federated Analytics is significantly more efficient than traditional techniques which require large amounts of data to traverse the infrastructure for analysis on a central platform. OPNET analytics monitor hundreds of thousands of metrics to automatically detect anomalous behavior, correlate information, identify the root cause of problems, and predict events and performance trends
OPNET’s approach: High Definition APM
OPNET has adopted an approach called “High Definition Performance Management” for its APM suite. High Definition Performance Management is based on the five principles outlined below:
Applications are implemented across many functional domains in the IT infrastructure, including client, WAN, LAN, web/app Server, database server, and storage area networks and servers, as well as other services (e.g., directory services) upon which the application’s logic depend. All of these domains may have an impact on application performance. An APM solution with breadth provides visibility into most or all of these areas.
Depth represents the “high resolution” aspect of high-definition. It means that the collected information is rich enough to characterize problems, uncover behavioral patterns, and isolate the root cause of performance issues. In certain parts of the infrastructure, depth down to very fine-grained levels, such as monitoring code execution, or examining packets, reveals key information for successful APM. OPNET’s APM approach emphasizes a combined analysis of two types of data: performance data and forensic data. Performance data consists of metrics that typically reflect the transactional workload, as well as the response of the infrastructure to that workload. These metrics are recorded as a function of time and may be treated as either individual samples, or aggregated over regular time intervals. Forensic data more closely parallels the execution of individual transactions as they proceed through the infrastructure. Forensic information includes code level traces (e.g., method call stacks), detailed resource tracking (e.g., memory allocations), and deep packet inspection of network traffic.
Breadth and depth multiply to yield a challenge: vast quantities of data. Putting that data to work to solve problems requires advanced tools. We call these tools “Analytics”: a suite of algorithms and techniques for extracting useful information from data collected by the APM instrumentation. OPNET has been a pioneer in introducing progressively more advanced, yet practical, analytics in APM solutions.
To address each of the domains of an application requires specialized tools. These tools, by their very nature, have different workflows and manipulate different types of information. However, using the tools in a coordinated fashion provides far more support and efficiency to APM users. OPNET’s integrated solution suite provides workflows that transition from domain to domain while preserving context, as well as combined views based on true correlation and data fusion.
All of the capabilities cited above become impractical to deploy if they impose overhead that noticeably impacts application performance. OPNET has specialized in developing zero overhead passive monitoring and low-overhead agent-based technologies to collect data for its APM solutions. All of OPNET’s solutions are designed for production environments.
End-user Experience, Network Monitoring and Analytics
AppResponse Xpert is an appliance-based solution that monitors and analyzes end-user experience for all levels of transactions. It also supports in-depth monitoring and analysis of the underlying network, a domain that is vital to comprehensive APM. AppResponse Xpert leverages the central role of the network in transporting transaction data to obtain vital information about relationships among clients and servers, and also among server tiers. This information is useful for performance analysis and troubleshooting, in AppResponse Xpert and also application discovery and dependency mapping functions performed by AppMapper Xpert. On-board analytics extract transactions from application flows and break down application response time, identifying which parts of the infrastructure are contributing most to delays. AppResponse Xpert automatically summarizes data according to applications and user-defined business entities such as locations or departments.
Deep Application Component Monitoring and Analytics
AppInternals Xpert delves into the complex software frameworks and operating systems of modern servers to extract vast amounts of performance and forensic data to support all aspects of APM from the server perspective. AppInternals Xpert can provide analysis for any type of application, but excels, in particular, in Java and .NET environments. It continuously monitors thousands of system and application metrics within each server, across all application tiers, and automatically detects and ranks performance and behavior anomalies. AppInternals Xpert uses patented technology to automatically provide deep instrumentation in application code with very low overhead. Its patented correlation technology automatically reveals relationships among metrics, highlighting the corresponding causal connections between components, resources, and behavior to perform root cause analysis. AppInternals Xpert also utilizes advanced, low-overhead, continuous tracing techniques to provide deep visibility into application code as it executes. This distributed tracing function supplies forensic data to AppForensics Xpert, a centralized solution for cross-tier transaction tracing and enterprise-wide forensic search.
“What’s in Your Application?”
AppMapper Xpert automatically produces a run-time application map, identifying the underlying application components and infrastructure components that enable a production application. This model of the application, captured at the time of execution, is essential for troubleshooting application performance problems. It also provides critical information to improve a host of other operational workflows, such as configuration and change management, and data center virtualization and consolidation. AppMapper Xpert provides unprecedented visibility into the interaction between applications and the underlying infrastructure, enabling IT organizations to be significantly more effective in assessing and responding to events and conditions that affect application service levels.
Agentless Database Performance Monitoring
AppSQL Xpert provides deep visibility into database performance through real-time monitoring of a broad range of metrics, with drilldowns to fine-grained forensic database transaction data for troubleshooting. It performs detailed tracking of database usage for trending and performance optimization. It also detects database policy violations, such as unauthorized access and suspicious usage patterns. AppSQL Xpert provides high definition analysis of database performance while offering an agentless approach that imposes zero overhead on database operation.
Deep Transaction Performance Analysis and Prediction
AppTransaction Xpert is a powerful tool for detailed analysis of individual transactions. In todayÃs complex application architectures, a single transaction can involve many tiers and require thousands of messages to traverse the network. This solution, which processes and merges traces taken in the production environment, makes extensive use of patented visualization and analytics to accelerate troubleshooting in production, as well as pre-deployment testing and prediction. In production, the combination of AppResponse Xpert and AppTransaction Xpert is unmatched in the industry, providing a seamless workflow that spans monitoring, alerting, triage, root cause diagnosis, and remediation guidance. Among its unique visualization features, AppTransaction Xpert presents a unified view of a transactionÃs dynamics, comprising both messages crossing the network and intra-server call trees as the transaction passes through multiple tiers. In pre-deployment, AppTransaction Xpert is the industry-leading solution for application network readiness testing.
Agentless Application and Network Component Monitoring
AppSensor Xpert uses remote instrumentation interfaces (e.g., SNMP) to capture performance information from infrastructure components which may otherwise be difficult to access, including servers, application components, network devices, and vendor-specific management systems. AppSensor Xpert supplies this data (on both a historical and real-time basis) to the rest of OPNET’s APM solution suite for a more complete picture of end-to-end application performance.
AppTransaction Xpert Packet Trace Warehouse
Centralized Forensic Data Management
AppTransaction Xpert Packet Trace Warehouse delivers centralized control and storage for forensic APM data. AppTransaction Xpert Packet Trace Warehouse acts as a central repository for application trace data obtained from AppInternals Xpert agents for code-level transaction traces, as well as packet-level traces from AppTransaction Xpert agents. When AppInternals Xpert traces transactions through a back-end infrastructure consisting of multiple tiers, AppTransaction Xpert Packet Trace Warehouse is able to correlate the resulting traces to provide a robust transaction following (or profiling) capability. AppTransaction Xpert Packet Trace Warehouse provides a highly scalable and general search against its repository, accelerating performance troubleshooting through access to enterprise-wide transactional forensic information.
What Users Are Saying
"This is seriously the coolest tool I have ever seen! OPNET's products are tremendous, simply tremendous."
State Government Agency
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Director, Information Systems
US Defense Contractor
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State IT Organization
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Manager, Information Systems
Global Pharmaceutical Company