Gartner Magic Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring – 2014 Update

Will and Jonah sum it all – The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring presents Gartner’s view on the state and play of the various vendors in the Application Performance Monitoring space. Gartner reports are generally the source of information, most IT professionals, CIO’s, CTO’s including various decision makers refer to when making decisions on investments regarding Application Performance Monitoring. The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring is written by the following Gartner Analysts –

  • Jonah Kowall, Research VP, Gartner – Link
  • Will Capelli, Research VP, Gartner – Link

In this piece we will attempt to summarize what the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring has to say and provide links to the report for those who are keen to go into the details. The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring was last updated by Gartner in early Jan 2014. Gartner is usually known to release an update to the report every 6-8 months.

Dimensions for evaluation – Here’s are the various dimensions Gartner considers when compiling it’s list of vendors:

magic_quadrant_for_APM_2013

  1. End-user experience monitoring — The capture of data about how end-to-end application availability, latency, execution correctness and quality appear to the end user.valuation –
  2. Application topology discovery and visualization — The discovery of the software and hardware infrastructure components involved in application execution, and the array of possible paths across which these components communicate to deliver the application.
  3. User-defined transaction profiling — The tracing of user-grouped events, which comprise a transaction as they occur within the application as they interact with components discovered in the second dimension (application topology discovery and visualization); this is generated in response to a user’s request to the application.
  4. Application component deep dive — The fine-grained monitoring of resources consumed by, and events occurring within, the components discovered in the application topology discovery and visualization dimension. This may include server-side components and client-side devices and interfaces.
  5. IT operations analytics — The combination or usage of techniques, including complex operations event processing, statistical pattern discovery and recognition, unstructured text indexing, search and inference, topological analysis, and multidimensional database search and analysis to discover meaningful and actionable patterns in the typically large datasets generated by the first four dimensions of APM.

An initial scan of the five dimensions above might suggest that Gartner seems to be overlooking some of the other important dimensions of performance i.e. correlation of application & infrastructure metrics, real user monitoring, etc. But don’t let first impressions mislead you, Gartner Analysts Will Capelli and Jonah Kowall know their turf well and have all the relevant dimensions of Application Performance Monitoring well covered.

At Practical Performance Analyst we’ve been following the work of Gartner Analysts Jonah and Will for sometime now and we understand that, Gartner uses the five dimensions above for it’s Magic Quadrant report on Application Performance Monitoring to cover all the relevant areas of Application Performance Monitoring that are relevant. So be rest assured the relevant details that matter to the technofiles using the products including the relevant commercial dimensions relevant to the business users are covered under the five dimensions above.

Leaders and followers – Let’s look at the various vendors and the buckets Gartner has put them into.

  • Leaders – 
    • AppDynamics
    • New Relic
    • Riverbed Technology
    • Compuware
  • Challengers
    • Microsoft
    • AppN
  • Niche Players
    • ManageEngine
    • Dell
    • IBM
  • Visionaries 
    • CA
    • HP
    • BMC
    • Optier

It’s clear that the new venture capital funded startups AppDynamics, New Relic are at the top of the list while the other larger vendors are seem to be more in the Niche Players and Visionaries category. Riverbed Technology sees itself in the Gartner Leaders quadrant through it’s 1 Billion USD acquisition of OpNet. Through it’s Opnet acquisition Riverbed has strengthened its overall APM and NPM offering. From what we have heard, they are working hard on consolidating and integrating the Opnet product lines with a focus of ensuring a consistent look and feel across the board. Compuware on the other hand is a old hand at Application Performance Management and deserves it’s spot in the leaders quadrant. Compuware has traditionally had strong APM focus but with a complex product offering which they have been working hard at streamlining.

The terminology that Gartner uses though to categorize the various players can be slightly confusing. We suggest you refer to Gartner’s definitions at the end of the report to understand the various categories and why it decides to categorize vendors the way it does.

Where does the APM industry seem to be heading – The Gartner Magic Qudarant for Application Performance Monitoring (2014 Update) confirms what we’ve known at-least with regards to the vendors in the “Leaders” quadrant. For an experienced SPE (Systems Performance Engineering) professional this is good news and this is what it tells us:

  • Vendors are beginning to understand the importance of simplifying their products
  • APM (Application Performance Monitoring) solutions are moving from being shelfware to actually useful solutions
  • APM is now in the reach of the every IT professional. One doesn’t need megabucks to invest in APM solutions
  • Large doesn’t necessary mean better. Smaller organizations with niche offerings could potentially deliver higher value
  • APM (Application Performance Monitoring) for SaaS is here to stay

Application Performance Monitoring isn’t what it was 5 years ago. The plethora of options (SaaS, Hybrid, on-premise) are mind boggling and there’s something for everyone irrespective of the stack you are using i.e. Java, .Net, PHP, Ruby, etc.

Challenges we face – The Gartner Magic Qudarant for Application Performance Monitoring does a great job in providing IT professionals and decision makers a view of the state and play of the various product vendors in the APM space. The Application Performance Monitoring space is evolving rapidly and vendors are doing their best to stay ahead of the each other while developing their own niche.

The venture capital funded Magic Quadrant leaders (AppDynamics, NewRelic) have a lot going for them right now and are doing a great job innovating in a space which has been traditionally been dominated by the large industry giants i.e. HP, IBM, CA, etc. But as their technology, offerings mature the bigger players are going to catch-up and they will become potential targets for acquisition. The new leaders of the Magic Quadrant currently have niche offerings that offer them an entry into the door of small and large enterprises. The next challenge for these niche APM players is going to be identifying the right strategy that will help them evolve a breadth of tightly integrated offerings required to address most of the traditional APM requirements one sees in the industry.

The bigger players however face a completely different set of challenges. Competing with the nimble venture capital funded players is tough but not impossible and what is required is them to shed their heavy baggage and come up with a solid but nimble execution strategy. Most of the large vendors currently offer complex APM solutions that require large capital investments combined with complex roll-outs which are soon becoming a thing of the past, especially in the APM space. Large vendors will now need to focus on taking what they have, making it nimble, making it light weight, making it easy to deploy and roll-out while still offering the breadth and depth of capability required to get the job done.

Over the last few years we’ve seen large movements in players between the various quadrants and this time around our prediction is that the leaders will pretty much stay the same, for the rest of 2014. Breaking new ground is tough and predicting the future is tougher. There’ s a lot of action to come in this space. Stay posted.

Getting access to the report – You can get access to the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Application Monitoring from the following sources –

  • AppDynamics – Link
  • ManageEngine – Link
  • Riverbed – Link

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