APM generally comprises multiple metrics related to the application performance, service maps, real-time user transactions, etc. APM aims to turn a black box product into something more transparent by providing intelligent insights into its performance metrics. More granular information can be extracted based on the type of application that requires vigilance.  

Some people refer to APM as application performance management, while some refer to it as application performance monitoring. However, management is more of a proactive approach and monitoring on the reactive side when it comes to problem resolution.   

In any case, APM tools are crucial for the health of your applications. Application Performance Management is all about understanding the “why” for any issue as soon as possible, i.e., decoding why application transactions have slowed down or are failing.

What is APM?

Gartner states, “Application performance monitoring is a suite of monitoring software comprising digital experience monitoring (DEM), application discovery, tracing and diagnostics, and purpose-built artificial intelligence for IT operations.”

In simple words, APM means keeping an eye on how well your code and applications are working, including their interactions with other parts of the system, how fast they process transactions, and how the user experience is.

Good APM is vital for enterprises since it helps them ensure their digital services work well, don’t have too many problems, and that users have a good time using them.

How APM works?

Monitoring: The APM solution continuously gathers data from varied components and application layers. Those components include database queries, response time, network latency, CPU and memory usage and more. With some APM tools, you can also get user experience monitoring to track user interaction with the application.

Data Analysis and Visualization: The gathered data helps gain insights into the application’s performance. Most APM solutions offer dashboards and visualizations to quickly understand the data and identify performance bottlenecks, if any.

Alerting: One can set thresholds for various metrics by configuring APM tools. When a particular performance metric exceeds a predefined limit, the APM solution automatically triggers alerts to inform the relevant stakeholder. So potential troubles can be identified and responded to faster.

Root Cause Analysis: APM tools can support developers in identifying the root cause of the problem after performance issues get detected. By analyzing the data, developers can pinpoint database queries, code, or infrastructure elements leading to errors.

Performance Optimization: When developers are backed by data and insights, they can work better to optimize the application’s performance. They can find areas for optimizing code, database query tuning, or infrastructure upgrades.

Importance of APM in modern-day applications:   

APM is essential for modern-day applications due to several reasons.    

  • Firstly, it helps businesses maintain high-performance levels by monitoring and managing code, application dependencies, and transaction times. This ensures that applications run smoothly, minimizing downtime and maximizing productivity.    
  • Secondly, APM provides insights into user experiences, enabling businesses to identify and address issues promptly, leading to improved customer satisfaction.    
  • Lastly, in the rapidly evolving technological landscape, APM allows businesses to stay competitive by optimizing their digital services based on real-time performance data. 

Still not convinced of the importance of APM software? Here’s what you need to read – Need for Application Performance Monitoring Tool.    

AI and ML in APM

It’s fair to say that AI and ML are highly essential in the APM domain. With AI and ML, there are significant advances in the way APM solution collects, analyzes, and uses performance data, leading to a more effective monitoring process.   

Here’s how machine learning and AI are changing APM:

Anomaly Detection: ML algorithms can learn the application behavior and its performance metrics automatically. They can quickly find anomalies, such as sudden spikes in response time, by identifying trends and patterns.

Predictive Analysis: AI can help you predict possible performance issues even before they take care of. They can forecast forthcoming performance trends by evaluating historical data and patterns to address issues to prevent downtime proactively.

Automated RCA: ML can analyze huge chunks of performance data to pinpoint the root cause of performance issues instead of considering a manual investigation. Thus, it saves IT teams a lot of time and effort and accelerates the troubleshooting process.

Performance Optimization Suggestions: AI-enabled APM solutions analyze performance data and code behaviour and suggest optimization strategies like code improvements to improve application performance. 

Automated Incident Response: With AIOps, AI-based APM can prompt automatic responses to performance incidents, thereby reducing downtime and manual intervention requirements.

Better Workload Distribution: With AI, you can optimize workload distribution across various servers or cloud instances, ensuring load balancing and optimum resource utilization.

Do I need Application Performance Management?

If you rely on applications then APM is an invaluable software for you. If you are from DevOps team then it is a 100% yes, APM will fit right in. Businesses that’re leveraging Application Performance Management tools consider it as their edge over competition since they solve issues faster, resolve a greater number of issues over a certain time period, and have intelligent business insight over their operations.

As per Gartner, “Application Performance Management may help businesses increase their revenues & help them keep their customers satisfied which results in a good bottom line.”

Nowadays almost every medium to large sized organization uses APM tool. As per Wikipedia, “Since 2013, Application Performance Management software have entered the zone for tough competition involving tech innovations & product strategy involving multiple vendors as well as their varied viewpoints. Such intense competition has led to a disruption in APM marketplace.”

Difference between monitoring & management

The term monitoring is used whenever you’re aggregating raw data & showcasing it to the user. On the other hand, management is used when the tool empowers you with the ability to take the right action on your monitored elements. Management tasks may include identifying overused components, making network configuration changes, generating reports, and a lot more.

Key features of APM

Real-Time Application Monitoring

You can monitor your applications in real time by tracking metrics such as throughput, response times, and error rates. This gives you instant visibility into how your application performs at any time.

Service Maps

Service maps gives you the right platform for finding root-cause of application errors by understanding interdependencies. An APM tool should ideally discover all the network elements, apps & servers in your infrastructure and categorizes them. Tools generally provide their users service maps which gives them the ability to visualize interdependencies that helps in saving time & energy.

Real-time user monitoring

Real-time User Monitoring (RUM) is just like performance monitoring which collects & analyses each user transaction on an application or a website in real-time (as it happens). It’s commonly known as RUM short for – real user monitoring, real user metrics, real user measurement.

Synthetic Monitoring

Synthetic Monitoring is proactive monitoring of transactions which helps users in identifying the problems and helps them determine if their application is working slowly or its down. For any admin end-users/ customers complaining about their application is a nightmare. Synthetic monitoring helps users mitigate the problems before they affect end users by proactively alerting & monitoring in real-time.

Alerting and Diagnostics:

In alerting and diagnostics, you can set up alerts and notifications based on predefined thresholds. So, when predefined metrics exceed the threshold, the tool alerts you, notifying a potential issue.

An Application Performance Management Tool like Motadata provides alert correlation. This means that you can correlate your NetOps, DevOps & APM data. The thresholds are set smartly for metrics and applications. Alert correlation facilitates faster resolution of application performance issues.

Distributed transaction tracing

Robust application performance management tool lets user trace transaction requests from end-to-end distributed systems. Most APM tools give deep visibility all the way to code level, to assist users find out issues which may otherwise go unattended. Users should be able to track down individual application transaction traces & help them drill-down to database-level queries to analyse slowed down instances.

Code-Level Visibility

An APM tool helps you troubleshoot issues at the code level, providing insights into your application’s code. With this feature, improving overall application performance and optimizing code efficiency becomes better.

Transaction Tracing

It allows following individual transactions while they transverse through application codes and different services. This helps find bottlenecks and areas that need optimization.

Five Elements of APM:

End-user experience monitoring: As per a Gartner survey, end-user experience monitoring is the most critical element of the APM. It collects information on how end-users interact with the application, identifying any problems.

Runtime Application Architecture Discovery: This element of APM understands the application’s architecture and how different components interact during the runtime. With this, it becomes easy to identify dependencies and possible performance bottlenecks.

User-Defined Transaction Profiling: User-defined transactions traverse the architecture, which is why they are more important than we think. Transaction profiling refers to tracking individual user transactions or requests to understand when and where the events occur.

Component Deep-Dive Monitoring: This element involves monitoring and analysing specific application components, such as databases, servers, or third-party integrations. It offers insights into the performance of each segment, allowing for targeted optimizations.

Analytics: Simply having information is not enough; you need to make sense out of it – this is when analytics plays a role. It collects and analyses performance data, providing valuable trends, patterns, and correlations that aid in making informed decisions for application optimization.

Bottom-Line Benefits of APM

Boost revenue & sales

Every organization has critical applications directly or indirectly proportional to the brand image or revenue. Issues related to these applications impact the overall business performance. Application Performance Management tools can deliver significant revenue-related benefits by lowering MTTR for any incident.

Quick problem detection and resolution provide a better customer experience, boosting sales. Without an APM tool, businesses may seem blindfolded by their customer experience & then lose revenue caused due to unattended, poor application performance.

Ensure Business Continuity

According to Michael Azoff, Principal Analyst from Ovum, “A good APM software can reduce the risk of breakdown of your business operations / IT infrastructure.”

Application are the backbone for any business. Downtime of business-critical applications impacts the organization badly in terms of loss of revenue, drowned reputation, compromised productivity, compliance related impact.

Enhanced End-User Experience

“Overall enhancement in the quality of application not only creates a better end-user experience, but also more productive business-level interactions with both internal as well as external users. – Jonah Kowall, Research VP, Gartner

Satisfying your end-users is always your priority. If your end users aren’t having a good time, they might not say that upfront. They will simply stop using your application or portal and move on to your competition quickly. This is the harsh reality. APM tool can keep you a step ahead.

How to get started?

First off you need to identify the applications that you need to monitor. Once you are all set, you can try Motadata for free.

We hope that this APM introduction has facilitated you with a base for starting your APM journey. Ready for an advanced APM software? Motadata is going to launch AI powered platform including observability platform as well as application performance management. Follow us on our social media platforms to stay updated for the launch date.

FAQs:

What is the role of APM in DevOps?

APM in DevOps provides:

  • Real-time insights into application performance.
  • Facilitating rapid issue detection.
  • Faster troubleshooting.
  • Collaboration between development and operations teams for continuous improvement.

How does APM differ from traditional monitoring?

APM focuses on application-specific performance data, code-level insights, and user experience monitoring, while traditional monitoring typically concentrates on broader infrastructure metrics and availability.

Can APM be used for non-web applications?

Yes, APM can be used for non-web applications like mobile apps, desktop software, APIs, microservices, databases, and server applications.

How can APM help improve customer experience?

APM improves customer experience by promptly identifying and resolving performance issues, leading to faster response times, reduced downtime, and smoother application interactions.

What are the potential challenges in implementing APM?

Challenges include:

  • Dealing with complex application architectures.
  • Managing data overload.
  • Ensuring accurate instrumentation.
  • Addressing privacy and security concerns.