IT Operations Blog

IT Monitoring: The Second Is the New Minute

Patrick Campbell
by Patrick Campbell

IT Monitoring: The Second Is the New MinuteModern applications dominate our daily actions from online reservations to transferring funds to purchasing merchandise to applying for a loan. These service apps must perform without delay, keeping in mind that the average time it takes for customers to abandon a web page has gotten much shorter over the years.

As consumers, our expectations continue to rise. As professionals, we know this and regularly monitor consumer behavior in order to improve our services. Simply put, a snappy, easy-to-follow application has a direct impact on customer retention, brand loyalty, and of course, revenue.

The evolution of application delivery

Application delivery is much different than it was in the past. Today’s apps need to be responsive and agile in order to accommodate the influx of continuous modifications occurring both manually and automatically. Changes are rolled out in small increments and can be prompted by automated self-learning, self-tuning processes. The same goes for the infrastructure that is supporting them.

An e-commerce app must quickly adapt to rising and falling demands as well as surges triggered by factors such as the weather or a news event. For example, apps like Uber and Airbnb change constantly based on regional content and usage. There are also now third-party apps that offer dynamic pricing for hosts of Airbnb.

What does this mean to the folks responsible for monitoring these environments? Just a few seconds of delayed response or down time can have a huge impact on the customer experience, and revenue can be lost quickly. Most of us can recall recent headlines for service outages of retailers, airlines, news organizations, and trading platforms (without singling out any organization in particular.)

The second is the new minute.

Benefits of second-by-second monitoring

With second-by-second monitoring in place, you can have a greater impact on application performance and end-user experience. Here are some examples of how real-time monitoring is put to use.

Introducing new or changed code in production

When you have an agile development environment, the ability to roll out changes incrementally has become the norm for many DevOps and web-scale applications. When something goes wrong, you want to know immediately—that is, within seconds—so you can take action.

  • Roll back: After introducing new code or changes to an existing application in production, developers have the ability to roll back the code to a time in the past that was more stable.
  • Roll forward: Because you’re already working on new code that you believe is production ready, you could roll forward with confidence to mitigate an issue that occurred with a recent update.

Predictable surges in demand

Lots of customer service applications have predictable, wide variability for when they are heavily used. Retailers experience peak usage during the holidays. Universities offer class registration at the beginning of each quarter or semester. Travel bookings are influenced by the seasons. If you want customers to choose your app during these time periods, or if you don’t want to have IT nightmares, then you should have real-time monitoring in place so you’re prepared to address service issues within seconds.

Micro events, social media, and bursts of variability

The demand for applications can also spike due to an unplanned event, such as severe weather or a tragedy. Major sporting events spur online sales of logo apparel and gear, and can influence places people choose to patronize after an event.

Some surges can go undetected if there is a service delay over a minute long. With real-time IT monitoring, second-by-second visibility enables you to take action in time to address issues with your infrastructure or application performance during these spikes—before your end users experience a delay and you risk lost revenue and brand loyalty.

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These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

About the author

Patrick Campbell

Patrick Campbell

Patrick T. Campbell has spent his 20+ year career equally between Application and Network Performance Management and K-12 Education. As a Technical Marketing Engineer, he began his career in IT at InfoVista as a Technical Trainer, followed by Raytheon Solipsys, OPNET Technologies (Riverbed Technology), and now BMC Software. In K-12 Education, he taught mathematics at Drew College Preparatory School for seven years and then worked at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) as a Mathematics and Science Professional Development Program Co-Director for International Teacher-Scholars from Egypt for another two. Passionate about learning, he has presented at OPNETWORK and at NAIS Teacher Conferences. Patrick received a B.S. in Industrial and Management Systems Engineering from Penn State, and has a Master’s Degree in Human Resource and Behavioral Science from Johns Hopkins University.