IT performance management

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This entry describes performance management in an Information Technology context. See Performance Management for a description of performance management in a more general context.

IT performance management is a term used in the Information Technology (IT) field, and generally refers to the monitoring and measurement of relevant performance metrics to assess the performance of IT resources. It can be used in both a business or IT Management context, and an IT Operations context. Companies who offer IT performance management tools include Xangati, TeamQuest, IBM, CA, BMC, Sightline Systems, SevOne and HP Software Division.[1]

Some of the different types and categories of IT performance management include those related to networks, applications, self-learning, and business transactions.

Business vs. operations context[edit]

In a business or IT Management context, IT performance management is concerned with measuring the expenditure of capital and human resources on Information Technology projects. This allows the business to determine how these expenditures improve strategic and operational capabilities of the firm in designing and developing products and services for maximum customer satisfaction, corporate productivity, profitability, and competitiveness.[2] This type of IT Performance Management is usually of interest to executive level IT personnel, all the way up to the Chief Information Officer (CIO), and is related to IT Portfolio Management.

In an IT operations context, IT performance management is the subset of tools and processes in IT Operations which deals with the collection, monitoring, and analysis of performance metrics. These metrics can indicate to IT staff whether a system component is up and running (available), or that the component is behaving in an abnormal way that would impact its ability to function correctly—much like how a doctor may measure pulse, respiration, and temperature to measure how the human body is "operating". This type of monitoring originated with computer network components, but has now expanded into monitoring other components such as servers and storage devices, as well as groups of components organized to deliver specific services and Business Service Management).

Types and categories[edit]

Types and categories of IT performance management include:

  • Network performance management: a set of functions that evaluate and report the effectiveness of the network or network element, and the behavior of telecommunications equipment. It also includes a set of subfunctions, such as gathering statistical information, maintaining and examining historical logs, determining system performance under natural and artificial conditions, and altering system modes of operation.[3]
  • System performance management includes monitoring and management of utilization of operating systems resources, including CPU, memory, I/O, and disk usage. This includes both physical and virtual systems. In cloud environments events can be defined using monitoring software and actions automated with cloud management application programming interfaces.[4]
  • Application performance management (APM): the discipline within systems management that focuses on monitoring and managing the performance and availability of software applications. APM looks at workflow and related IT tools deployed to detect, diagnose, remedy, and report on application performance issues to ensure that application performance meets or exceeds the expectations of end-users and businesses.
  • Self-learning performance management: the use of technology to help automate the performance management of information technology systems. This is done through the use of software that employs applied mathematics (such as statistics, time series analysis, and forecasting), automated baselining, neural networks, pattern recognition, and other similar technologies. The intent is to automate manual processes and "fixed baseline" approaches used to determine when IT systems are operating out of normal ranges, which would indicate potential system problems. Self-learning performance management is complementary to the disciplines of systems management, network performance management, and application performance management, and is sometimes referred to by IT analyst firms like Gartner by the term behavior learning technology or behavior learning software.[5]
  • Business transaction management (BTM): the discipline within systems management that monitors business transactions across the data center in order to manage IT performance.


The benefits of IT performance management include:

Business context[edit]

Direct financial gains
  • Focuses IT resources on projects that grow sales
  • Focuses IT resources on projects that reduce costs
  • Aligns IT organization directly behind corporate financial goals
Improved management control
  • Demonstrates the direct business value of each IT project or operation
  • Helps audit and comply with legislative requirements
  • Allows reallocation of IT resources to projects of most importance to the corporation
  • Facilitates the elimination of IT projects that are not delivering on expected benefits

Operations context[edit]

Outage prevention or remediation
  • Alerts as to which components may be failing
  • Isolates failing components
  • Provides details to incident management process to speed the repair or remediation process
Service Level Management
  • Provides real-time and historical data to determine whether or not a service level agreement is being met
  • Provides historical data on component usage and workload to help IT organizations determine appropriate costs and charges for internal and external customers
Capacity planning
  • Provides historical data on IT component workloads and usage to help information technology planning staff increase, consolidate, or reduce resources in the future

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Network World. “HP redefines IT performance management. New software suite and other tools aimed at helping IT show its value to the business.” Beth Schultz. June 1, 2011.
  2. ^ M.K. Badawy (1998), Technology Management Education: Alternative Models. California Management Review. 40 (4), pp. 94–115
  3. ^  This article incorporates public domain material from the General Services Administration document "Federal Standard 1037C" (in support of MIL-STD-188).
  4. ^ Amies A, Sanchez J, Vernier D, and Zheng X D, 2011. Monitor services in the cloud IBM developerWorks, February 15
  5. ^ Williams, David - Gartner Analyst Research Profile; retrieved 7/15/09 online at