Within the APM market there is a lot of debate as to whether APM stands for “application performance monitoring” or “application performance management.” Many in the community believe these terms can be used synonymously and are essentially interchangeable. However, at Rigor we have always held these terms in two very different lights.
In fact, we always expected to create a performance monitoring platform. Conceptually, monitoring is fairly straightforward: identify something that you want to monitor and then create a way to observe and check the progress or quality of that thing over a period of time and ensure that you can keep it under systematic review. Our aspiration was to build an performance management platform.
The Performance Monitoring Old Guard
Years ago our CEO Craig Hyde saw an enormous gap in the APM industry. In 2011, there were an assortment of tools dedicated to performance monitoring and measurement. These tools would monitor, measure, and visualize mounds of performance data in a systematic way. However, these tools were deeply technical and required users that were seasoned performance engineers to implement and maintain. Moreover, without these engineers, the data was essentially worthless, as it required interpretation by someone with deep technical knowledge to divine actionable steps to solve system problems and improve performance.This system of leveraging tools for data collection that necessitates manual interpretation by technical users worked when the development and infrastructure of applications was managed by technical users.
The Market Shifts to the Business User
However, fundamental market shifts enabled organizations to spin up and maintain technical applications with limited technical overhead. Where organizations had to build and manage their own hardware and data centers, they can now leverage cloud infrastructure services that are managed by third party providers. Similarly, organizations can utilize 3rd party web platforms and CMS systems instead of building their websites from scratch. All of these changes enabled business users to take greater ownership of an applications underlying technology stack.
The only thing that hadn’t changed with the times was application monitoring technology. Yes, the technology evolved somewhat. New performance monitoring techniques surfaced to incorporate more EUE (end user experience) metrics. APM vendors were doing a better job of integrating data from different sources across a technology stack to tell a more complete and unified story about an application transaction. But the story still only made sense to a deeply technical user that was familiar with the technology and system architecture being monitored. Essentially, reviewing data had become a much easier proposition than in years past. However, taking data and recommending actionable steps to improve application performance was still a manual and deeply technical process. The industry lacked the ability to diagnose underlying performance problems and programmatically prescribe actions to fix them in a very specific and non-technical way.
Rigor’s Next Frontier
By 2015, Rigor reached significant traction with close to 200 customers ranging from enterprise media companies like Viacom to up-and-coming startups like Thumbtack. We knew that our monitoring network had matured greatly and that it was time we tackled our aspiration: turning our performance monitoring platform into a performance management platform.
To do this we integrated a platform that analyzes all of the collected data from our global network and turns it into a prioritized list of actions or “to do” items that diagnoses the underlying causes of performance and provides step by step action remediation plans for fixing them. Moreover, our platform classifies each of an applications underlying “defects” into specific roles, so that they could be routed to the appropriate responder within an organization. Internally we liken our two products to the heart and the brain of a human body. The monitoring network is the heart that measures and indicates the vitality and health of an overall application. The management engine is the brain which analyzes signals sent by the heart to interpret the cause of application failure or degradation.
Integrating our two products has transformed our performance monitoring platform into a performance management platform and we are just getting started.
Rigor is the first end-to-end web performance management platform for digital organizations. Our platform programmatically identifies, prioritizes and remediates the root causes of poor site performance and reliability. If you are interested in learning more click here to try free for two weeks.