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What is Application Performance Management for Unified Communications Applications?

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August 23, 2012

What is Application Performance Management for Unified Communications Applications?

By Amanda Ciccatelli, TMCnet Web Editor

Lately, there have been very few discussions on Application Performance Management (APM (News - Alert)) or Unified Communication (UC). Most of the implementation in the industry deals with generic Web applications instead of real-time communications applications. OPNET Technologies (News - Alert), Inc., a provider of application and network performance management solutions, just happens to be one of the leaders offering APM and UC management integrated together.

Gurmeet Lamba (News - Alert), VP R&D, unified communications management at OPNET recently sat down with TMCnet to discuss the true meaning behind APM and what it means for UC.

APM is the discipline within systems management focusing on monitoring and managing the performance and availability of software applications, Lamba explained. According to Gartner (News - Alert), five different functional areas of APM include end-user experience, application architecture, business transactions, deep dive monitoring, and analytics.

So, what does APM mean for your real-time applications like VoIP phones, or your enterprise video communications?

Traditionally, companies that have implemented APM are not focused on real-time communications. “Instead, they are network-focused and are limited in what they see,” said Lamba.

 So, APM for UC needs domain depth, meaning that it needs to get more into the application itself whether the application is IP telephony, VoIP, video conferencing, unified messaging, etc. APM must be applied to real-time communications or UC and go more into the depth of the application and be completely end-to-end.

“In order to apply APM approaches for managing and monitoring UC and real-time communications, you must go beyond what the general industry has implemented for APM until now. The industry has implemented APM in a very broad way, focused on networks, but not in-depth into the applications,” explained Lamba.  

For example, if you pick up your VoIP phone and you don’t have dial tone, it means the end device is not able to communicate with the backend server. Application performance issues like this one cannot be found by traditional APM implementations, so you need to extend the traditional APM approaches for real-time applications.

In order to extend APM for UC, Lamba advised, “You must have proactive automated testing approach to provide end-to-end service availability monitoring, deep domain-specific performance monitoring of the breadth and the depth of the applications, and very deep dive analytics.”

All in all, traditional APM implementations are simply not adequate for managing and monitoring UC applications, especially real-time communications applications. You must monitor the breadth of all the applications that are collaborating to make your communications session successful.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman

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