In contemporary IT environments, application performance monitoring (APM) expands observability over and above system uptime, performance quality, and response times. It helps organizations enhance customer/user experiences at the scale of computing systems via automation and AI. They employ APM tools to deliver real-time application performance data and insights. And after that, IT teams, DevOps, or site reliability engineers can rapidly identify and fix application issues in order to deliver an outstanding UX.
What is Application Performance Monitoring (APM)? Meaning and Full Form
APM is the technique of tracking, administering, and staying abreast of an application’s performance. APM involves monitoring both the technical performance and the perceptions of an application.
As modern applications operate on extensively distributed network infrastructures, all of their elements are in a constant state of flux and are extremely difficult to monitor. In order to debug and manage the performance of an application more efficiently, quality APM software must evaluate all of its critical parts.
Application performance monitoring vs. management
Application performance monitoring should not be confounded with application performance management, regardless of the fact that ‘APM’ is commonly used to refer to both.
Application performance management is the comprehensive strategy for managing the overall performance of an application, beginning with the programming, application dependencies, transaction timeframes, and user experience. Monitoring is a minor but invaluable part. It indicates, typically through alert notifications, that a problem has occurred.
How Does Application Performance Monitoring Work?
Customers use apps daily to purchase, stream TV programs and films, interact with social media, handle finances, and execute transactions. In this era of remote work, consumers rely on these applications more than ever to accomplish their daily activities.
When an app malfunctions, loads slowly, or fails to run whatsoever, consumers become irritated, which can result in brand degradation or lost revenue. Whenever an internal business application starts to malfunction, employee productivity may decrease.
However, digital teams frequently struggle to identify the underlying reasons behind application performance challenges. There are a variety of potential causes, including coding errors, database slowdowns, and hosting or network management issues. Even an incompatibility with the operating system or the device that is being utilized to access the application can impair its performance.
Application performance monitoring concentrates on specific measurements and metrics to prevent such issues and help the digital team resolve them in the inevitable case when an issue does arise.
APM achieves this by:
- Automatic mapping and discovery of application and infrastructure elements to sustain real-time cognizance in dynamic environments.
- End-to-end observability of an application’s HTTP/S transactional behavior to comprehend its impact on business outcomes as well as user experience.
- Monitor mobile and desktop applications on both desktop and mobile browsers to evaluate user experience across platforms.
- Root cause as well as impact assessment of application performance issues and business outcomes for quicker, more dependable issue resolution.
- User journey and lifecycle assessments – login to sign out – and business KPIs to improve UX and ensure visibility into KPI shifts and adjustments.
- Endpoint monitoring to determine how mobile applications affect endpoint devices and to identify problem areas with those devices.
- AI/ML algorithms to execute predictive analysis, identify error root causes, and correlate complex application performance problems.
- Monitor performance metrics in service level agreement (SLA) frameworks to help service providers meet customer expectations.
What Does APM Monitor?
The insights from APM are direct and quantifiable. This means that APM tools monitor the following metrics related to application performance:
1. App response time
Users anticipate immediate access to services, which makes response times crucial for businesses. APM solutions measure response times relative to reasonable baseline performance and alert you whenever response times fall below the threshold.
2. Computing power usage
APM solutions can track resource utilization metrics such as CPU usage and memory requirements. This ensures that your application receives the computational resources it needs to function properly, but not so much that it unnecessarily swells your costs.
3. The percentage of error per 100 requests
Applications are monitored by APM software to document and disclose error rates. An error occurs when a web query times out or when a database query malfunctions or crashes. APM will send out alerts whenever the error rate exceeds predefined parameters, such as when 10% of the 100 most recent requests resulted in an error.
4. Number of app instances
An APM solution can track and issue reports on the number of operating servers or application instances. It can alert you to increase or decrease capacity to ensure user demands are met.
5. Transaction monitoring
APM provides an accurate representation of individual application transactions. Transaction tracing captures information regarding possible function calls, outbound calls, or database calls. It oversees the transaction request from beginning to end.
Several service level agreements (SLAs) only allow a certain percentage of outages during specified periods. APM tracks application availability and contrasts thresholds to those agreed upon by the consumer and service provider.
7. Real-time traffic
APM software tracks the number of queries your application receives from users. By monitoring traffic, the software is able to transmit alerts if it discovers anomalies. For instance, it can notify you of unanticipated spikes in requests, a higher proportion of requests from a single user, or an unusually low number of requests.
What is an APM Tool?
An APM tool analyzes the performance metrics of an application’s various components. It analyzes all of this information and presents it in a streamlined interface layout — often a dashboard. Advanced application performance monitoring tools have three components:
- User experience reporting as well as analysis for both PC and mobile end users, and application response monitoring.
- Discovering instantaneously diverse application components, such as servers, interfaces, frameworks, microservices, etc.
- Identifying the connections between these components and debugging their code.
- Logging all of an application’s generated data and then using a variety of techniques to identify meaningful patterns to facilitate root cause assessment.
Why are APM Tools Necessary?
Performance is essential to the success of any application. As consumers increasingly rely on web apps to meet their daily requirements, a company’s success has become directly proportional to the effectiveness of its applications. Consequently, application performance monitoring (APM) is essential for any organization that wishes to offer and sustain an exceptional user experience.
Rapid application development strategies have been adopted due to the demand for newer, superior applications. While it reduces development time, it increases the underlying complexity considerably. Today’s complex applications, such as web pages, introduce new challenges that can only be tackled with APM tools.
Conclusion: Types of APM Tools to Consider in 2023
As APM becomes central to your operations – given the increasing digitization of businesses – you need to select the right tool for your team. There are several types to consider. Application Metrics-based APM solutions capture multiple app or server metrics but lack code-level visibility. Code profiling-led APM can execute code profiling as well as transaction tracking, allowing you to identify the root cause of a performance issue. Network-based APM tools evaluate application performance by choosing to focus on network traffic.
Full-stack monitoring solutions enable you to monitor your infrastructure as a whole, from system health to app performance, and to end-user experience. This is fast becoming the preferred choice for large organizations – but if you are just starting out, the top 6 open-source performance monitoring tools are a good option.