Blog4 Steps for Managing Complex Application Environments


In corporate practice, decision making processes are considered complex when the impact of planned measures causes a large amount of insecurity, even if they were diligently prepared. Today this is the case with most enterprise IT application infrastructures. It’s critical to consider the people, process, and technology with these decisions. And that’s usually a daunting task.

Complexity is a term most frequently heard when explaining undesirable events or results. But what do we actually mean when we talk about managing complexity? Even though the term is widely used and has relevance in today’s data center, it’s difficult to define complexity in a universally accepted way. But it’s essential to take a closer look at complexity in order to deduce next actions for an IT organization.

This is one of the fundamental reasons for Application Mapping – or AppMap as we call it. The AppMap approach consists of four calculated steps:

Application Discovery and Dependency Mapping.

This step automatically creates network and application topology maps of the application dependencies and relationships of the targeted environment. (A complete view of all the business applications is performed in Steps 2 and 3.)

In this step, an analysis process divides the discovered services into application affinity or “conversation” groups showing the interdependencies among those groups from logical, virtual, and physical perspectives.

Document Delivery and Analysis.

This step presents the complete business application view with application dependency information in an easy-to-read format.

The direct discovery of all the components and their related details is only part of the discovery. AppMap also analyzes the directly discovered data storage requirements to create a comprehensive picture of the relationships of applications to each other and to their underlying IT infrastructure.


This step reviews the AppMap report with the IT organization for team validation of accuracy and completeness, suggesting any application lifecycle concerns and infrastructure roadmap directions. This collaboration is essential in validating and refining the application map.

Continual Update.

A major characteristic of enterprise data centers is continuous change. Consequently, the approach is based on dynamic rather than static models.

For example, when the current version of a commercial enterprise application is updated to a newer version, it can often include new application service components, and it may be necessary to update the AppMap to reflect the additions and/or infrastructure modifications.

If this step isn’t performed, it can be difficult to troubleshoot the environment in the future. Fortunately, this step can be performed as a managed service to alleviate this burden from the IT operations team.

System availability issues get complex with distributed applications, so the impact of one change to one element of a service can have a domino effect on others that are downstream or upstream. And, as the scope, frequency and number of changes increase, AppMap enables IT organizations to improve the success of repeatable tasks that are often subject to human error.

Having informal approaches to complexity management typically breaks down under market and operational pressures. With AppMap, you can get hard numbers and information to help you decide where and when to invest in your data center.

About the Author

Dustin Smith

Dustin Smith, Chief Technologist

Throughout his twenty-five year career, Dustin Smith has specialized in designing enterprise architectural solutions. As the Chief Technologist at ASG, Dustin uses his advanced understanding of cloud compute models to help customers develop and align their cloud strategies with their business objectives. His master-level engineering knowledge spans storage, systems, and networking.