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Application monitoring becomes table stakes in the digital age

Clint Boulton | Feb. 1, 2017
The lofty premium Cisco paid for AppDynamics underscores the importance of application performance monitoring software, which customers such as United Airlines use to support flight operations and passenger services.

For much of the last two decades, tech heavyweights such as Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, IBM, Microsoft, CA and BMC have spent heavily to build and acquire startups making APM software that alerted engineers about problems in software code, databases and the servers running applications.

Newer entrants such as New Relic and AppDynamics have disrupted the industry by getting at the root cause of an issue, analyzing its impact and generating detailed reports on the findings in real-time, says AppDynamics CTO Bhaskar Sunkara, who co-founded the company with Chairman Jyoti Bansal.

"The need to connect the dots better in terms of how things are doing has [triggered] the second wave of companies like AppDynamics and New Relic," Sunkara tells "People wanted a better way of connecting performance with their business." He says that business performance has taken on greater importance as companies rush to initiate digital transformations.

Why AppDynamics gets an ‘A’

AppDynamics is highly regarded among enterprises, according to research from Gartner, which places the company in the leadership category of its vaunted "magic quadrant" matrix.

"The technology is consistently identified by its customers as being among the easiest to use and enjoys a relatively rapid time to value," wrote Gartner analysts Cameron Haight and Federico De Silva, in a report last month. They also say the company is well-regarded for helping enterprises meet business outcomes, using value assessment tools, and employs a sales engineering staff that is capable of helping customers work through challenges.

Acquiring AppDynamics means Cisco has joined the APM fray in a major way, further signaling its intent to support customers beyond the network layer it has empowered for decades to the applications that underpin today's digital transformations. "Acquiring AppDynamics is a big step out of Cisco’s legacy image, delivering more of what Cisco’s customer want from a digital business enabler: Help tame my technology and make it agile – not just networks and security … all of it," says Forrester Research analyst Milan Hanson in a research note.  


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