A New Generation of Application Performance Management

“It is all a matter of perspective!”  This old adage rings particularly true when trying to solve a complex IT problem that spans mainframe, distributed, and mobile platforms.

Mainframe programs are increasingly interfacing with distributed systems to support consumer facing web and mobile applications. When a transaction is initiated via a mobile phone, the path it takes from the edge of the Internet and deep into the mainframe and back is highly complex — and ripe with possibilities for bottlenecks along the way.  Should a problem occur in any one of the platforms along the application delivery chain, teams typically lack true visibility into the offending transaction. An unfamiliar platform can quickly become a “black box,” void of any window into how an application is impacting its performance.  Without visibility into the problem, hard-to-answer questions ultimately lead to unproductive discussions and finger pointing.

A little Kumbaya, please

The scenario above highlights the need to understand multiple perspectives. The teams’ understanding of “performance overhead,” for example, is based upon their own perspectives. From a mainframe point of view, performance overhead is primarily concerned with CPU utilization. To that end, the mainframe performance team would want insight into how the distributed platforms are driving mainframe workload.  And from a distributed perspective, it is about end-user response time, so the distributed performance team would want visibility into the mainframe that provided their transaction processing and its impact on end-user response time.

mainframeBoth the mainframe and distributed performance teams would benefit from a new generation of application performance management (APM), one that provides end-to-end transaction visibility, from the edge of the Internet, through distributed systems, and its backend processing by CICS and DB2.  A common view of the performance problem allows the distributed and mainframe IT teams to work together more effectively to solve issues.

Embrace the “New Normal” of Mainframe

The end-lesson here is that IT teams need to embrace multiple perspectives from the various platforms their applications depend upon.   Application complexity is increasing as mainframe programs are being interconnected with distributed systems.  Consumer facing applications are driving additional mainframe workload.  And this is only the beginning. This is the New Normal of Mainframe and it’s here to stay.

About Dennis OFlynn

Dennis O’Flynn is the Director of Product Management for Compuware’s Mainframe Business Unit. He has over 28 years of IT experience with roles in development, architecture, strategic planning, and product management. These roles have spanned multiple platforms including mobile, embedded, distributed and mainframe. Dennis is passionate about incorporating IT with business objectives to improve the customer experience.