This is the second blog in a three-part series on application resource management. Also see “How IT can become a better business partner through application resource management” and join us next week for “What to look for in an application resource management solution.”


Today’s digital economy runs on applications that are fueled by resources from a diverse set of environments, distributed technologies, architectures, platforms, and tools. The demands of this reality make application resource management (ARM) an essential function of IT. This blog reviews the basics of application resource management, why IT departments should care, and how they can get started.

What is Application Resource Management?

Application resource management is the process of ensuring applications perform optimally while optimizing costs​ in both public and private clouds. When done well, application resource management delivers the right resources to applications when and where they need it at the lowest cost and in compliance with an organization’s policies.

Pyramid diagram of Application Resource Management
Application resource management balances application performance and cost while maintaining compliance.

Who’s responsibility is it?

IT operations has the primary responsibility for application resource management, along with infrastructure management teams and cloud administrators. Together, they’re who the organization looks to for the resources to ensure availability of “always-on” applications wherever they run in a hybrid cloud environment.

Why should IT care?

IT operations, infrastructure, and cloud teams that effectively manage application resources can ensure continuous uptime and optimal performance for their organizations’ applications. This results in positive brand experiences and uninterrupted revenue-generating activities. It reduces or eliminates firefighting so staff can focus on value-added work. By optimizing cloud resources, IT teams also demonstrate that they can take full advantage of the cloud to use only the resources needed when they’re needed to reduce and control costs while delivering applications that are performing at their best.

Conversely, IT teams that are not equipped to effectively manage application resources spend valuable time reacting when applications are slow or offline. Investigating resources as the root cause of application issues pulls IT staff away from value-added work, increases costs associated with downtime (which can range from hundreds of thousands to a million dollars per hour), and can both negatively impact the brand and drive away customers to result in lost revenue. IT ops teams and cloud administrators who cannot plan for dynamically changing cloud resource requirements typically overprovision, driving up costs.

Who’s doing application resource management?

Application resource management is done by organizations across all industries that need to:

  • Spend less time firefighting and troubleshooting application slow-downs and crashes
  • Maximize application availability
  • Get complete visibility into their infrastructure across on-premises, private and public cloud, and edge environments
  • Overcome the human limitations of managing every endpoint and input in their hybrid environment
  • Eliminate resources as the cause of application issues
  • Reduce costs
  • Increase their credibility as a business partner

How does application resource management work?

Application resource management pulls together all elements of your compute, storage, and network resources across on-premises, public and private cloud, and edge locations in a single view. Visibility includes all elements of your physical and virtual infrastructure along with application performance data and container workload visibility. The goal is not only to provide immediate visibility into the full stack, but also a simple and quick way to identify and act on any potential areas where resources may not be optimized and either are slowing down—or could slow down—applications or cause them to go offline.

In addition to visibility, the primary functions of application resource management are cloud workload and cost optimization, AI-powered recommendations, and automation.

Cloud workload and cost optimization: By monitoring public cloud cost and resources, organizations can see not only how many cloud resources they’re using and much they’re spending, but they can also optimize those resources based on dynamically changing application demand and resource costs.

AI-powered recommendations: AI-powered recommendations are the key to overcoming the impossible task of manually keeping up with hundreds and sometimes thousands of data points that impact application performance. AI-powered recommendations take telemetry and data from all your interconnected endpoints as well as inputs from cloud providers, stitch this information together, and surface potential resource issues from moment to moment as resource demands and costs change. Solutions like Cisco Intersight Workload Optimizer go beyond exposing potential issues and provide recommended actions to ensure applications continuously get the resources they need when they’re needed.

Automation: Just as AI-powered insights relieve IT teams from manually trying to assess everything that can impact application resources, automation eliminates manual intervention for IT-approved actions to continuously right size workloads and give applications the resources they require.

Getting started

To get started with application resource management, first take stock of your current ways of working:

  1. Does your team operate from a reactive mode, responding when applications aren’t performing as expected?
  2. Do you rely on monitoring tools to alert you when thresholds have been broken?
  3. What percentage of alerts does your team respond to and how many do you ignore?
  4. Are you running workloads in the public cloud?
  5. Do you overprovision in your public and private cloud deployments to make sure you have adequate resources?
  6. Do you have visibility into under-utilized infrastructure resources?
  7. How valuable would it be to eliminate resources as a source of application issues?

Cisco’s application resource management solution

Cisco Intersight Workload Optimizer, part of the Cisco Intersight hybrid cloud operations platform, is Cisco’s application resource management solution.

Learn the potential benefits of application resource management for your organization by using the Cisco Intersight Workload Optimizer Estimator.

Stay tuned for the next blog in this series on what to look for in an application resource management solution.


Julie Fouque

Product Marketing Manager

Cisco Cloud and Compute Group