Public sector struggling with application performance management
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Public sector struggling with application performance management

Between the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative, the slow introduction of cloud computing and the increased usage of mobile devices, the public sector has a lot of IT problems on its plate right now. Then, factoring in some unrest in Congress and a presidential election on the horizon, many governments agencies are stuck between a rock and a hard place in regard to funding and support for new IT initiatives.

However, one seemingly innocent issue could be the biggest challenge the public sector needs to face in the coming months: application performance management.

According to a report from Market Connections, Sean Applegate, director of technology strategy and advanced solutions at Riverbed, explained that applications and government agency productivity now go hand in hand, but at the same time, networks are becoming increasingly complex. The result is a lack of visibility into application performance, and when that software starts to suffer from slowdown and downtime, federal employees will lose productivity, morale will drop and the risk of a data breach will rise.

The cost of poor performance
Furthermore, the Market Connections report noted that U.S. citizens will feel the impact of poor application performance, and the productivity losses mean that tax revenue is essentially flushed down the drain. Applications such as email suites, CRMs and project management solutions effectively support entire government agencies, and without those running at full capacity, the public sector could find itself in a precarious position, one that doesn’t have a pleasant financial outcome.

“Unplanned app downtime costs between $1.25 billion and $2.5 billion every year.”

According to a recently compiled study conducted by IDC and based on an “in-depth survey” of IT professionals at Fortune 1000 companies, unplanned application downtime costs these major firms anywhere between $1.25 billion and $2.5 billion every year, with “critical application failures” resulting in losses ranging from $500,000 to $1 million per hour.

Are APM tools saving the day?
There are plenty of solutions, however, that can improve application performance, and the best way to do so is with tools that provide additional visibility into available networking and computing resources. Yet the past might have harmed the future of managing and monitoring of application performance.

Computerworld reported that application performance management solutions were originally used in the development phase of software, as monitoring applications while in use impacted the software itself. Besides that, the source highlighted that APM tools were once too expensive to warrant procurement, and the difficulties faced when configuring and integrating these solutions turned many businesses away from the idea, only diagnosing applications after a problem appeared.

That didn’t stop major tech leaders such as IBM, Riverbed, HP, Cisco and many others from creating APM solutions. But not many companies use these tools. In a recent blog post for Riverbed, Nik Koutsoukos, senior director of product marketing at the organization, wrote that even with the increased amount of APM software and other app monitoring and visibility solutions available, IT departments still struggle to “efficiently and effectively manage application performance.” Koutsoukos even suggested that the number of firms doing so has declined. It’s easy to extrapolate this to the public sector, given that 44 percent of federal IT employees reported they have insufficient funding to acquire APM solutions and other monitoring tools to address application performance – as found by Market Connections.

Solving the APM crisis
The lack of application performance management comes as no surprise to IT professionals in the public sector, but leaders of government agencies are likely unaware of the seriousness of the problem. Well, there is good news for those shocked by this news. Riverbed and Microsoft solutions, among software from HP, IBM and Cisco, can put an end to the APM crisis.

In recent news reported by SiliconANGLE, Microsoft acquired application management startup Blue Stripe Software, Inc., as the company already has solutions for monitoring and managing applications across data centers, cloud environments and operating systems. According to the source, Microsoft plans to add “application-aware infrastructure performance monitoring,” as well as stop selling Blue Strip’s offering, opting rather to incorporate the software into existing Microsoft solutions.

Improve government agency productivity with APM tools, and never worry about application downtime again.Improve government agency productivity with APM tools, and never worry about application downtime again.

If the public sector wants to get started monitoring the performance of applications right away – and it definitely should – Riverbed solutions are available. In fact, the company recently announced SteelCentral AppInternals 10, an APM offering for hybrid environments. Promising simple and fast deployments, SteelCentral AppInternals 10 monitors applications in public clouds or legacy environments and provides analytics that will improve application performance and employee productivity.

Furthermore, Koutsoukos highlighted SteelCentral Portal in his blog post. This solution for managing application performance grants “a holistic operational view of application performance, for any type of application, from the end-user, through the network and infrastructure over which it runs, and deep into the actual application components and code.” Encompassing SteelCentral AppInternals and AppResponse for APM data, SteelHead for further collection of performance metrics and a networking performance management tool, this solution is the ultimate in performance visibility.

Regardless of the APM tool on your radar – whether it’s a Riverbed solution or offering from Microsoft – Pinnacle can help you find the best APM software for your existing environment as well as assist you in planning for the future of performance management in the public sector.