How are those applications working out for you?

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Getting an insight into how applications are performing from the perspective of end users can be a real challenge - and it's getting worse, as apps are increasingly scattered across a complex landscape of physical, virtual, mobile and cloud infrastructures.

As a result, tools to deliver that insight - or application performance management (APM) tools - are, as a market sector, enjoying a moment in the sun.

IDC, for example, expects the worldwide APM market to top $2.5 billion this year and almost $4 billion by 2017. That’s a five year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2012 and 2017 of 12.4% - a rate that would make many vendors in other areas of systems management software highly envious.

“The worldwide APM software market is growing much more quickly than most system infrastructure software markets because of the impact of mobile applications, cloud and SaaS delivery options,” confirms IDC’s Mary Johnston Turner.

Leading vendors benefiting from this surge in interest include CA Technologies and Compuware, both exhibitors at this year’s IP EXPO. Others include BMC and IBM.

But a smaller and more recent entrant to the market is ITrinegy, also exhibiting at IP EXPO 2013, where it is showcasing an update to its AppQoS tool for APM. This is based on the Microsoft Common Internet File System (CIFS) protocol and enables companies to analyse the performance of shared files, identify which are most commonly used and determine how long users wait for them to open or load, with a view to increasing employee efficiency.

An established name in the network emulation field, APM is a more recent venture for iTrinegy - but AppQoS has been developed in direct response to customer requests, says iTrinegy product director Frank Puranik. That’s particularly true of the most recent upgrade.

“Our customers typically use a host of applications, such as Microsoft Office, Visio and Adobe Acrobat,” he says. They tend to store files and data in a central location for security and for data recovery - but that can result in delays when they try to access that central repository over mobile or the wide area network (WAN), he continues.

“With this new module, customers can now view and analyse the activity performance of applications using the CIFs protocol.”

An early customer is the NHS West and South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Commissioning Support Unit. AppQoS, according to network support manager Paul Simms has helped it tackle problems of applications slowdown that had previously plagued the clinical system in a local GP practice, impacting patient care.

“AppQoS was able to produce a definitive list of the users and devices that had caused the bandwidth bottlenecks,” he says. “After consultation with the practice manager and staff, we quickly restored system access.” The tools has been used on other sites with similar performance-related problems - all with positive outcomes, he says. And that's the sort of result that countless other hard-pressed IT admins are looking for.

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