Application monitoring is a new feature of Operations Manager. In this article I want to overview some investments we made in Operations Manager 2012 Beta release to enable this feature. It's not an official "what's new" list, this article describes the spirit of this release.

The main goal of building this feature was to create reliable, clear to understand and useful application monitoring solution. To deliver the best .NET application monitoring solution to our customers we have been integrating AVIcode technologies into Operations Manager. That's why APM feature of Operations Manager sometimes called AVIcode, and reviews usually compares AVIcode functionality with current APM solution provided by Operations Manager (one of the good reviews you can find at http://gotchahunter.net/2011/07/net-monitoring-in-scom-2012-beta/). But the comparison of AVIcode and Operations Manager is not working since the intent was to enable new application monitoring scenarios rather than merging products together.

Every monitoring solution has a cost. It's a cost of CPU that monitoring Agent consumes on your servers, hours spent on installation process, money spent on trainings and efforts put on understanding monitoring results. One of the goals of Operations Manager 2012 is to decrease a cost of monitoring. That's why one of the goals of AVIcode integration is to cut the cost of having application monitoring solution in your environment.

Since AVIcode technologies already had low cost in runtime by introducing minimum noise and giving maximum value it was required to cut the cost of other monitoring stages as installation, configuring and maintenance. That defined the main investments we did in application monitoring for Operations Manager 2012, most of them described follow.

Application monitoring setup is fully integrated into Operations Manager. You don't need to configure separate database or specify any IIS settings specific for application diagnostic consoles. Application monitoring feature doesn't have any prerequisites differs from what Operations Manager requires. You don't need to worry about APM management packs setup they are available as any other Microsoft MPs.

Application monitoring event delivery channel disappeared. Once computer being added to management group APM will use the same channel as Operations Manager uses. Back in AVIcode we had http interface on management server for events delivery that you have to configure and maintain. Now you don't spent your time on it.

With the new channel APM got high availability as well as agent failover features of Operations Manager 2012. If a particular management server becomes unavailable, the agent will failover to another management server. The APM data will then flow to the management server that the agent failover over to just like all other data sent by the OM agent.

Configuring of application monitoring became more IT operations friendly. We tried to minimize developers specific questions and terms and ask minimum information we need to start monitoring. You won’t be surprised that we plan to enable some advanced settings soon. But even then you shouldn't worry about answering tricky wizard questions - everything is clear to understand and default configuration has good value for developers.

Since the Operations Manager and AVIcode databases are integrated we don’t introduce new cost in maintaining application monitoring. You don’t need to pay for additional instance of database, no worries about its maintenance and back up.

Application management became centralized - now you can configure monitoring on multiple agents for multiple application from one place. Once you set up monitoring parameters for the application it will be automatically configured on any computer from computer group you've specified. It's a great feature if you think in terms of private clouds where computers are just resources that could be added and removed on demand. And you have this elasticity without need to configure monitoring each time computer with application you monitor appears in the management group.

Having all of this implemented we are sure you have reliable application monitoring for the reasonable cost. So either you used AVIcode before or you never heard about it and want to upgrade Operations Manager you'll get new experience of application monitoring that is simpler to enable and cheaper to use, and that's why have bigger value. And we keep working on it.