This is the final blog in the series on application resource management. Also see “How IT can become a better business partner through application resource management” and “Application resource management 101: What it is and how to get started.”
Application resource management (ARM) solutions help IT organizations ensure applications get the right resources when and where they’re needed to continuously support positive digital experiences and drive revenue growth.
Here’s what to look for in an application resource management solution:
The fundamental building block for application resource management is the ability to see everything in your environment—including on-premises, in public or private clouds, and in edge locations—from one place. Look for an ARM solution that provides full visibility into your hybrid infrastructure from a single dashboard using a single login. Some solutions only provide visibility into either on-premises or cloud resources (or require you to purchase two solutions), require multiple logins, or require you to use multiple dashboards.
Only solutions that provide a single, consolidated and correlated view showing relationships and dependencies across your entire hybrid infrastructure can give you immediate visibility into all the elements that impact application resources.
The second key capability of an ARM solution is insights, or information about your infrastructure that can help you quickly understand what’s working as expected and areas that require immediate or potential attention.
The most basic insight is real-time performance and utilization status of every endpoint in your infrastructure. In a perfect world, all elements would be operating both as expected and in the most optimal way. However, given the complexity of today’s infrastructures and the dynamically changing nature of application resource demands and cloud resources, this usually isn’t the case.
Your ARM solution should understand relationships between each of the components in your infrastructure and their interdependencies. It should flag both infrastructure components that are working well along with those that need attention and why. This simplifies the admin’s job by removing guesswork. For example, your ARM solution should identify performance degradation in virtual machines or storage capacity flags, potential cloud scaling recommendations, and potential policy violations, to name just a few.
The third key capability for effective application resource management is actions. While some ARM solutions stop short with visibility or may present insights, the best ARM solutions provide specific recommended actions to immediately address any issues that are impacting, or potentially could impact, application resources. Examples include making specific resizing, move, provisioning, and suspension actions. Recommended actions are critical to taking the right steps promptly to ensure applications are getting the resources they need when they need them.
What sets leading ARM solutions apart is their ability to automate recommended actions. Most tools fail because admins aren’t able to take actions in a timely manner or because there are too many actions to take. Look for an ARM solution that offers automation for IT-approved actions that support your compliance policies. These should include options such as moving, deleting, scaling, resizing, buying, and stop. By eliminating the need for manual intervention, you can relieve your teams of unnecessary burdens and ensure that workload resources are continuously available.
To overcome the human limitations of managing ever-increasing numbers of endpoints and inputs, leading ARM tools use the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning based on telemetry and data from your infrastructure to generate insights and recommendations. They do this by continuously monitoring all the elements across your hybrid infrastructure, understanding their relationships and inter-dependencies, taking in constantly changing information from cloud providers, and surfacing information and recommendations that help you prevent application issues or quickly act if they occur.
Application Performance Management (APM) integration
Application resource management is stronger when combined with deep, real-time insights into your applications. ARM tools that integrate with application performance management tools extend your visibility from the end users’ experience through the entire stack. ARM tools provide end-user experience monitoring (such as application response times and errors users are seeing), graphical representations of application components that communicate with each other to deliver business functionality, user transaction profiling, and deep-dive monitoring to troubleshoot complex code issues responsible for poor performance or errors.
By combining APM tools with ARM tools, you can immediately see changes in application performance that are the result of underlying resource constraints so you can take action before they become bigger application issues.
No matter what cloud or combination of clouds you use, your team will have to make many complicated, ongoing decisions to guarantee performance, minimize costs, and maintain compliance. IT teams can get lost in the sea of workload sizing, placement, and pricing decisions that have expensive consequences in the cloud as well as on-premises.
The best ARM solutions remove these burdens by connecting directly with cloud providers through APIs, continuously analyzing all the factors that impact dynamically changing cloud costs (memory, storage, billing increments, discounts, etc.), and making scaling and placement recommendations based on the real-time resource needs of every workload. In doing so, cloud optimization tools ensure your applications get the resources they need at the most affordable cost.
Advanced ARM tools do more than day-to-day resource management. They provide planning tools to help you understand scenarios for cloud migration and ongoing provisioning once you’ve moved workloads to the cloud. This capability can provide you with information you need to take advantage of the public cloud and ensure it works for you once you’ve made the move.
Today’s ARM solutions come in both traditional on-premises deployments and SaaS-based options. It goes without saying that SaaS-based solutions remove the overhead of installing and maintaining another software program. Unless your team has time to manage your IT management software, SaaS is the way to go.
And finally, here’s one cautionary word as you research application resource management tools. Application resource management is so fundamental to effective application performance in today’s complex hybrid cloud environments that many vendors are getting into the field. Don’t be tempted by vendors that have tacked ARM on to their primary tool. Look for solutions that are built with application resource management as their core function.
About Cisco Intersight Workload Optimizer
Cisco Intersight Workload Optimizer discovers how all the parts of your hybrid world are connected and automates day-to-day application resource management operations for you. It provides visibility into application and infrastructure interdependencies and insight from real-time analytics powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help ensure the right resource decisions at the right time to ensure application performance.
With a broad and extensible ecosystem supporting more than 50 common platforms and public clouds, Cisco Intersight Workload Optimizer harnesses the power of data from your environment to continuously monitor supply and demand, match workloads and resources in the most efficient way, and ensure governance rules are always enforced. This helps you continuously provide the right resources when and where applications need them to deliver positive digital experiences and drive revenue.