Sunday, November 4, 2007

Introduction to Application Management Blog

Welcome to the Application Management blog. My name is Chung Wu, and I work at Oracle Corporation. I want to use this blog as a way for me to share what I have learned about managing applications through my professional work, talk about recent developments, and solicit your ideas and feedback. Since this is the first installment of the blog, and there seems to be varying definitions on Application Management, I am going to begin by first defining what I mean by Application Management and making the case on why it is important. If you agree or disagree with the points that I made, let me know. I want your feedback.

Application Management is the discipline within systems management that focus on managing the availability, performance, security, deployment, change and configuration of applications. It is a specific class of management discipline because of the unique demands that applications place, which cannot be met by traditional server, network and storage management.

Application Management is critical because applications are the first line of contact between end-users and the computing infrastructure. When a problem occurs, the first place that end-users see the problem usually is the application. For example, an application that freezes up may be caused by a lost of network connection to the database, yet the end-user may only see it as the applications' problem.

Furthermore, Application Management is critical because applications are critical. As people rely on applications to accomplish their tasks, and more and more business processes are getting digitized, application problems reduce people's productivity and may even lead to direct lost of business. For example, if an eCommerce application that acts as the online storefront of a retailer goes down, customers may switch to another vendor to make the purchase, resulting in lost of business for the retailer.

Since there are different classes of applications, the specific application management problems for a particular application differ as well. For example, for desktop applications such as OpenOffice, Mozilla Firefox and Adobe Photoshop, deployment may mean getting the physical files of the software packaged copied onto each of the PC and run their installers to get them properly registered with the operating environment. On the other hand, deployment of a web browser-based Enterprise Business Application such as Siebel CRM may entail distributing the Siebel server software on a cluster of servers, installing the schema of the application on a client/server database, and moving all the customizations that are stored in files and database from development/test environment to production environment. The client PCs that not touched at all during deployment, since the application is delivered to end-users via a web-browser.For now, I shall focus this blog on managing Enterprise Applications that typically come with a multi-tiered architecture.

Before I conclude, I also need to (Oracle's lawyers made me to :-) ) make a disclaimer about this blog - The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle. I also provide no warranty, guarantee, explicit nor implied, now or in the future, etc... etc... yade yeda ya... Read my stuff at own your risk. You get the idea. ;-)

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