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DevOps Journal: Article

An APM Solution: Well-Grounded

Continual Service Improvement (CSI) with APM

A look into ITIL's Continual Service Improvement (CSI) model and the Application Performance Management (APM) framework indicates they are both focused on improvement. I see them as being two sides of the same coin. APM defines the approach and toolsets that CSI uses while leveraging specific processes in Service Design, Service Transition, and Service Operation.

If you’re thinking about how to build a sustainable APM solution and how it can be anchored into the IT culture, consider focusing on the integration touch points with existing IT processes.

Within the CSI model there are certain ITIL processes that weave themselves in and through the APM methodology that create a fabric of continuous improvement for application performance. The Incident Management Process is one of these threads and is germane to a successful APM strategy. This process is focused on going from red to green and has an immediate benefit when APM event flow is integrated directly into it.

Consider that it is the correlation of events and the amalgamation of metrics that bring value to the business by way of real-time reporting, and it's the way the business interprets the accuracy of those metrics that determines your success. If an event occurs and no one sees it, believes it, or takes action on it, APM's value can be severely diminished and you run the risk of owning “shelfware.”

One important distinction to make is that in our situation, the Incident Management, Problem Management, and Change Management processes were already established in the culture for a year prior to implementing an APM solution. This allowed us to integrate right into the Incident Management process, allowing for some quick wins once we got the automation and event correlation in place.

From an ITIL perspective, we then started to build out the Availability Management, Event Management, and Capacity Management processes as we advanced our APM strategy and began cultivating the solution.

Conclusion
Over the last seven years we have been working on fine-tuning how we use the APM framework to better support the business. Our experience has shown that APM and CSI together give you a deeper insight into application performance and how to improve it. Having the benefit to integrate right into existing ITIL processes will give your APM Solution viability.

More Stories By Larry Dragich

Larry Dragich is actively involved with industry leaders, sharing knowledge of Application Performance Management (APM) technologies, from best practices and technical workflows, to resource allocation and approaches for implementation. He has been working in the APM space since 2006 where he built the Enterprise Systems Management team which is now the focal point for IT performance monitoring and capacity planning activities.

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