As modern-day software applications and IT environments spread their wings around, it is important to understand which of the applications and system components are interdependent of which of the infrastructure elements – servers, hardware system components, IT workloads, devices, network resources etc. Understanding this is extremely vital since the non-working of any of them could lead to a direct impact in the overall efficiency of the software application. A regular occurrence of such inefficiency would lead to dissatisfaction amongst users, customers and the overall productivity and profitability would stoop low.
Also, as changes keep frequently occurring in the technology lifecycle, details about which components are involved, how are they interconnected, where are they located, which service do they depend upon are essential to perceive.
Does it sound exaggerated? It may but it is true. Not paying attention to the dependency between applications can create quite a havoc. It will lead to a single lapse knocking off all the associated services.
The need of the hour is a service, a solution that can discover and map all dependencies between components in a software solution so that associated changes can be done, and a smooth running is ensured. And that can be well achieved by implementation of Application Discovery and Dependency Mapping (ADDM).
Not that IT teams earlier did not discover and map the application dependencies, but it was done manually, through spreadsheets and routine audit checks. This had its own set of limitations. With the surge in technological advancements, here comes an automated process to do the same, supported by increasing number of tools. Now, Application Discovery and Dependency Mapping are becoming an integral part of most application performance management tools.
What is Application Discovery and Dependency Mapping (ADDM)?
Application Discovery and Dependency Mapping (ADDM) is a management solution and process of discovering and mapping the underlying dependencies between the various elements involved in software applications. It talks about showcasing various app components, network elements, their underlying infrastructure components and their inter relationships.
ADDM is not only about finding out all applications installed on your device, identifying the dependencies, but also about understanding how they work together and the effect they have on each other, as they update. Ignoring this process can turn out extremely harmful for the efficiency of the system.
Be it an eCommerce application or an email application, all of these contain multiple updateable components. A change or update in any of them could affect many interrelated parts. ADDM helps in identifying those and finding out the resources that may be reasons for a poor performance. It also helps in identifying the dependency of a particular application on other external systems or third-party applications.
There are many popular application dependency mapping tools and software that are available to perform the needed dependency services.
Popular ADDM Tools
Here are names of certain popular application dependency mapping tools:
- SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor
- ManageEngine Applications Manager
How Does ADDM Work? What Are Its Types?
An ADDM tool is created to offer visual interpretation of the applications, showing dependencies between components. It also offers a real-time overview at a single glance with a facility to drill further down, to get more details. Users can instantly see the connects and mapping between them.
The functioning of ADDM can be categorized into following categories:
- Sweep and Poll
This is a traditional, light weighted method that facilitates and attracts users to sweep the whole network from a unified and connected node location. It identifies application components, devices, servers depending on the device group-based information. This a slow process and may turn difficult for large scale organizations. Dependencies may get left out and that may pose as a challenge. But it is perfect for setups with a lesser infrastructure load.
- Network Monitoring
This process focuses on real-time information of data packets and obtains data based on application dependencies. The protocol includes information like path, volume, source and destination nodes, IP flow attributes etc. It can be done through packet level by packet capture or at flow level through NetFlow. Through this method, changes and dependencies can be found out instantly and it is independent on pre-built blueprints.
- Agent on Server
In this process, the software component gets installed on the client server and data is collected. The agent is responsible for incoming and outgoing traffic, with identification of topology changes in application dependency. This is ideal for dynamically virtualized components wherein agents are installed on each server to garner comprehensive visibility. It is easy to take swift action since the difficulties are found out earlier and in a quick manner. It is better to monitor multiple applications on the same server.
- Orchestration Level ADM
Orchestration platforms like Kubernetes etc. are in demand when it comes to managing IT infrastructure. It offers much needed resources based on requirements through cutting-edge solutions. It combines many automated activities and configurations spread across different components. In this method, the platforms do the monitoring, measuring, managing of all components along with desired reports.
Significance of ADDM for Software Applications
There are numerous benefits that are attached to ADDM, reasons strong enough to understand why ADDM is highly significant for software applications:
- Easy Monitoring of Application Health and Performance
It is important to keep monitoring the health of the application and the server components. Using ADDM can perform an enhanced monitoring over related components. It also helps in finding out failure in hardware and thereby use resources in the best way possible. It keeps a track of the server uptime and downtime, helping to find out reasons of downtime and bettering performance.
- Quick Discovery of Resources
ADDM helps in identifying all necessary and associated resources like servers, databases, applications, network, storage etc. that pertain to your IT setup. Regular updates of relocation of resources or entries of new resources is available. This helps the organization in easily maintaining the applications and their infrastructure. ADDM tools help in obtaining a global view of all related applications and their connected dependencies.
- Obtaining Application Status and Troubleshoot with Ease
Since ADDM assists in obtaining the status of applications instantly, it is easy for teams to find out areas with problems. Users can easily find out problematic areas and troubleshoot based on the identified issue. This way, they can identify the status of applications, their connected resources and lessen the risk of downtime by timely identification of problems. Mapping of dependencies can help calculate the risk involved in performing desired changes. And further on, it helps in monitoring and solving the issues discovered.
- Easy Integration with Configuration Items
The ADDM software help in connecting fundamental components and put them as configuration items, under the process of Continuous Integration (CI). These CI components can then be associated with service management procedures to avail the best effects of configuration through the relationship matrix.
- Alert Issuance and Analysis of Blockages
For any kind of network issue – network latency, TCP connection loss, packet loss etc., alerts are generated that can send details regarding what is going wrong and where. Any type of hurdle or risk can be analysed in detail by monitoring application performance, user satisfaction levels and track deployments. Users can themselves extract the issues and work towards enhancing overall app performance.
Wrapping It Up
Application Discovery and Dependency Mapping (ADDM) acts as a great catalyst in better performance of applications. Not that it can be termed as a mandatory ingredient in businesses, but it surely is a recommended process that organizations must adapt to. ADDM tools in the global market are many and increasing number of businesses are going in for this wonderful technology. After all, it is the application and its smooth functioning that forms the crux of the entire system and that cannot be well maintained till its associated components are not professionally managed.