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Why is CEM/TIM monitoring so "extremely elegant and smart" ?

By Jörg Mertin posted 05-30-2016 03:55 AM


Many people, especially the application people think of the Customer Experience (CE) part of the CA Application Performance Management (APM) to be very complex to setup and handle.

While it is true that it may be complex to setup - the complexity however does not rely in the CE itself, but in its surroundings.


Yes - to setup the CE - one needs to have knowledge on Networking (TCP/IP OSI Layers 2 through 7, security, switches, routers, TAP's etc.), Linux (for the CE OS), Security (to get through the firewalls and the impact of these on the traffic), SPAN/MIRROR traffic (the implications a copy has on the traffic that reaches the CE Transaction Impact Monitor).


This however is largely compensated by the result one gets out of the Monitoring - and the reports.


Imagine you have a huge application-server setup - 600 Agents running monitoring frontend-webservers, application servers, Backend servers, Databases, Authentication servers, File-Server etc. . And all these systems actually need to work together as a clock-work to be able to service the Customers Users correctly and in time.


If now - if any of these 600 backend systems fails - how will we know that it actually affects a real customer user that has issued a request ?

Well - using only our Agent technology: We don't!


The CE APM probe however monitors whatever computation result these 600 App-Servers, Backends, DB, Auth/File-Servers produce - and will check the resulting HTTP/HTML communication between the frontend webserver and the customers user, and in case it sees a problem that will affect that customers user - will see it.


On the other side - look at CA APM as the technology that will also warn us if a customer user is affected - and we have no agent installed on a backend-system to monitor it if an app-server failed (or the agents sees no issue) - just by looking at the resulting network communication!


In short - CA APM practically Supervises the correct work of all backend application systems - and will tell us if any of their failures will affect the customer user!

(as an added Bonus you don't even have to dig into the working knowledge of all backend systems - imagine: Frontend WebServer, AppServer, DB Server, File-Server, Authentication Server, Java, PHP, NodeJS, etc.).
You just need to know the HTTP/HTML result parts embedded in the network traffic.


That - is why I see CE APM as a technically extremely elegant and smart Monitoring implementation. It will tell us just by looking at the resulting network traffic if the backend systems work as expected, and if not - which customer user has been impacted.


And now let me know - which Monitoring system is more complex in the end ??? CE APM or all the Agents required to monitor all the other Technologies?



06-01-2016 06:08 AM

Indeed. That's why my first thought - when I first met CEM (name back in time) in 2006 was:


"Woah. That is a really elegant way of Monitoring. Just by looking at the traffic we can tell if everything works".


It is still - and no one can convince me otherwise - the best way to actually monitor Customer experience, because it is also one way - where we can say with 100% certainty: We have not influenced the App-Servers where we have our probe/agent running on. We just work on a copy of the traffic.


But this is - as for every elegant way of doing things - very hard for many to grasp.

06-01-2016 05:31 AM

In addition, many customers do not like the CE monitoring implemented via Injection, approach considered by many too invasive and not very manageable. For many, the passive option is still the best.

05-31-2016 09:32 AM

I was thinking about writing a blog post about that too.

In this one though, I just wanted to focus on the CE Part of APM. The advantage that is very often forgotten or not understood.

05-31-2016 09:20 AM

Thanks Joerg for an awesome article. Combining the CEM and Introscope together is a powerful monitoring tool. It is my wish that more people take advantage of the advanced CEM features to better understand their customer's web experience.