Over the years, tools for managing various elements of the software stack have emerged, resulting in a plethora of tools that required dedicated specialists to manage. And yet, as IT management matures, the interdependencies between various elements of the software stack are becoming clearer. As a result, IT organizations are looking for more holistic approaches to finding ways to manage the overall performance of their software environment.
Against that backdrop, it's interesting to watch some moves made by BMC Software. The company this week released a suite of application performance management (APM) tools, which includes an offering called the BMC End User Experience Management that is based on technology the company recently picked up with the acquisition of Coradiant. The other elements of the suite include BMC ProactiveNet Performance Management, BMC Middleware Management -Transaction Monitoring, and BMC Application Problem Resolution.
Ali Hedayati, BMC vice president of end user APM, says the end-user monitoring capability is pivotal because in complex IT environments these days, it's not enough to rely on the performance data being generated by all the individual servers, networks, middleware and applications involved. IT organizations need real visibility into performance levels being experienced by end users, which can be influenced intermittently by any number of factors. Without that visibility, IT organizations more often than not are only getting a snapshot of the performance issues associated with a particular device, which may not have anything to do with the issue at hand.
In general, suites are usually precursors to tighter integration across the various products that have been bundled into the suite, which generally leads to the products becoming indistinguishable from each other. If that scenario plays out in software management, what we should be seeing in the future is not only more industry consolidation, but a convergence of software management tools across the spectrum, ranging from middleware tools at the lower level to application-specific tools at the highest.
On one level, this convergence is long overdue. But most IT organizations still approach managing the various elements that make up the enterprise in isolation. It's not clear whether it's the way the tools are sold or used is the chicken or the egg in this equation. But the fact remains that major changes in the way software is managed are close at hand.