Questioning the Application Performance Monitoring Magic Quadrant

There has been some discussions in emails, LinkedIn groups, and other forums on my move to AppDynamics, and calling into question impartiality at the time of researching and co-authoring the APM Magic Quadrant. The Gartner Magic Quadrant process is rigorous and backed by a large methodology which documents the process and steps in publishing this research. There are dozens of analysts who review, touch, and discuss any Magic Quadrant, not to mention management, editing, and others many of whom have been analysts. The methodology is updated regularly and must be followed on each publication cycle. Gartner can clarify beyond these high level summaries:

It is not an unusual situation for an Analyst to move into a end user or a vendor role, especially if the analyst came from an operational background originally. I and John Rakowski (Forrester) come from end user practitioner roles before an analyst firm, if anything we are rounding out our experiences and knowledge. We’ve seen several analysts move from Gartner, several I knew well Chris Wolf and Mark Margevicius who are at VMware and Aneel Lakhani at SignalFuse. Several have recently left Forrester as indicated in this article. Everyone knows the APM industry and IT software in general isincestuous, we’re all going to work together again. There are loads of great technology companies out there, and many more ideas to be explored and created.

My personal decision thoughts are laid out in this post:

To add more of a timeline to that post, I was approached by AppDynamics in late January with an attractive way to help shape the future of a company I have deep respect for. This is long after the Magic Quadrant was published. I’m not going to slight anything against the other leaders in that research, they both build great products that solve real problems for customers. The vision of each leader is completely different (if you read the text), I’m the most aligned with AppDynamics vision and future plans for Unified Monitoring and Application Intelligence, and here to make that happen.

I take my non-biased perspective seriously. I am also honest, I call things they way they are, I will not sugar coat things. Gartner gives vendors, end users, and investors consistent advice (after listening to thousands of end users), some vendors choose to listen and execute, while others take alternate paths. Sometimes analysts are right, sometimes they are not. If a company executes on an analysts vision they are provided with ratings which show that.

If you have questions just ask me directly via email, Twitter, or LinkedIn

Gartner positions AppDynamics as a Leader in 2012 APM Magic Quadrant

Application Performance Monitoring (APM) has been my life and world for almost a decade. I used APM as a developer, sold it as a sales engineer, built it as a product manager and now I’m evangelizing it as a superhero. In that time, I’ve seen APM evolve from being a pure JavaEE monitoring tool in 2002 that a few developers might use, to a full blown IT monitoring platform in 2012 that aligns development, operations and the business.

Today, the APM market has advanced tenfold, with the help from analysts like Gartner, who research APM, and literally take hundreds of inquiry calls a year from buyers. As industry and technology trends evolve like SOA, Agile, web 2.0, cloud computing, devops and big data, so do the market requirements for APM.  For APM to deliver the promised benefits, it must enable users to monitor and manage modern applications. If modern buyers commonly require X, Y and Z from APM, then APM vendors must offer X, Y and Z to be considered relevant in the market, and so they’re recognized by analyst research and reports such as the Gartner Magic Quadrant.

For example, let’s take a look at the inclusion criteria from 2012 for a vendor to be included in the Gartner Application Performance Monitoring Magic Quadrant (and if you’d like to get a complimentary copy, be our guest):

  • The vendor’s APM product must include all five dimensions of APM, including application runtime; application architecture discovery and modeling; deep-dive monitoring of one or more key application component types (e.g., database, application server); user-defined transaction profiling; and analytics applied to metric aggregation, trending and pattern discovery techniques.
  • The APM product must provide compiled Java or .NET code instrumentation in a production environment.
  • The vendor should have at least 50 customers that use its APM products actively in a production environment.
  • The APM offering must include part of or the entire solution as a service. This includes managed service provider hosting, regardless of other commercial arrangements, or SaaS delivery through its own distribution channels.
  • Total revenue (including new licenses, updates, maintenance, subscriptions, SaaS, hosting and technical support) must have exceeded $5 million in 2011.
  • Customer references must be located in at least three of the following geographic locations: North America, South America, EMEA, the Asia/Pacific region and/or Japan.
  • The vendor references must monitor more than 200 production application server instances in a production environment.

Raising the APM bar:

The rational for Gartner’s 2012 APM MQ inclusion criteria is available here. A vendor must provide a broad set of APM functionality, supporting all five dimensions of APM rather than just a few.

Other inclusion criteria I liked from above was that APM vendors must provide a compiled Java or .NET code instrumentation in a production environment, the offering must include part or the entire solution as-a-service, and that vendor references must now monitor over 200 application server instances in a production environment. These items pretty much hit the sweet spots of AppDynamics, in that we monitor some of the largest production Java and .NET applications in the world, and we offer  all 5 dimensions of APM in a single product, which can be deployed both as on-premise or via SaaS. Our largest Java deployment is over 6,000 nodes and our largest .NET deployment is now over 5,000 nodes – this is how easy our APM solution is to deploy and scale.

The adoption of public cloud, combined with the facts that APM buyers are looking to simplify their APM purchases, implementations and maintenance means that AppDynamics is well positioned to capitalize on these opportunities.

Love or Hate the Gartner Magic Quadrant, every vendor wants to be part of it, because everyone wants to be known as a leader in their field. To do this, vendors must meet or exceed Gartner’s inclusion criteria as well as their very detailed requirements matrix, which puts pressure on each vendor to constantly innovate, execute and demonstrate a compelling vision.

AppDynamics named a Leader in 2012:

What I’ve witnessed at AppDynamics since I joined back in 2011 has been nothing short of amazing. We’ve kicked a lot of ass in the last year and have had a lot of fun doing it. You could say AppDynamics being positioned as a leader in the 2012 MQ was perhaps the recognition we deserved for breaking the rules of traditional APM. We believe our MQ position represents a clear testament of our technology, tremendous customer success and disruption in the marketplace. We’re enormously proud and privileged at AppDynamics to be recognized as a leader, but we know our job isn’t done yet. We want to make APM easy to deploy, easy to use and affordable for everyone. We do this and they’ll be more organizations in the world leveraging the benefits of APM than ever before, which translates to faster applications for everyone. Not a bad thing at all.

You can sign up for a free 30-day trial of AppDynamics Pro right here, and see for yourself why we’ve become a leader in just two years.

App Man.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose