As organisations strive to deliver seamless user experiences, maximise operational efficiency, and maintain a competitive edge, the need for comprehensive Application Performance Monitoring (APM) tools becomes increasingly evident.
APM tools offer invaluable insights into the performance and behaviour of applications in real-time. They go further than the conventional monitoring approach by providing a holistic view of the entire stack, encompassing servers, databases and user interactions. This level of visibility enables organisations to proactively detect and resolve performance issues, identify inefficiencies, and swiftly address any issues that may impact the user experience or business operations.
Therefore, there is a significant need for almost all organisations involved in technology to incorporate an APM tool. To delve further into this topic, this article will discuss what APM is, why it’s important and necessary for your organisation and some of the best APM tools currently available.
APM stands for Application Performance Monitoring which is a critical set of tools and practices designed to ensure the optimal functioning of software applications. These tools focus on a holistic view of the entire stack to allow users to proactively identify and resolve issues. Poor application performance can have significant economic implications, potentially resulting in decreased user engagement, customer dissatisfaction, and revenue loss. APM tools mitigate these risks by enabling organizations to prevent issues, maintain consistent service levels, and make informed decisions based on accurate performance data. The majority of APM tools possess the following key features:
- Real-time Monitoring: APM tools continuously monitor the performance of applications in real-time, providing up-to-the-moment insights into various metrics such as response times, latency, throughput, and error rates.
- Anomaly Detection: Advanced APM tools incorporate machine learning and AI algorithms to detect abnormal patterns in application behavior. This helps identify performance anomalies and potential issues that might not be captured by traditional threshold-based alerts.
- Database Performance Analysis: APM tools often integrate with databases to monitor their performance and query execution times. This is crucial for identifying slow database queries that can impact application performance.
- End-to-End Visibility: APM tools offer a comprehensive view of the entire application stack, from the front-end user interfaces to the back-end servers, databases, and external services. This end-to-end visibility allows for a better understanding of how different components interact and impact overall performance.
- Transaction Tracing: Transaction tracing is a critical feature that enables tracking the journey of a user request as it flows through the application's various components. This helps pinpoint exactly where performance bottlenecks or errors are occurring.
To answer why your organisation needs an APM tool, this article will outline a range of benefits that the adoption of an APM tool provides. As well as, delving into some specific examples and scenarios of how your organisation can leverage this type of tool.
APM tools provide insights into the root causes of performance issues. When an application experiences slow response times or errors, APM tools help pinpoint where the problem is occurring, whether it's in the application code, a database query, a third-party service, or elsewhere. This accelerates the troubleshooting process and reduces downtime.
For example, if you have a mobile banking app, and some users are encountering intermittent errors when transferring funds. An APM tool can track the user journey through the app and identify the exact point where errors are occurring. This allows your development team to investigate the issue, debug the code, and release a fix to prevent future errors.
APM tools allow you to monitor user experience metrics such as page load times, transaction success rates, and user interactions. By analyzing this data, you can identify areas where improvements are needed to enhance user satisfaction and engagement.
As an example, for a music streaming app, users could be complaining about songs frequently buffering. With an APM tool, you can track the time it takes for audio content to load and play. If you find certain geographical regions experiencing longer loading times, you can optimize content delivery networks (CDNs) to ensure smoother streaming for users in those areas.
Sometimes referred to as application component deep dive, component monitoring applies to all in-depth monitoring of resources connected to an application. This could be anything that is touching the application, such as servers, network components, OS’s and application components. Also, these analytics are vital for predicting and rectifying potential future issues. They can also help identify, discover, and fix performance issues by comparing historical data and highlighting areas for potential improvement. Finally, this data will need interpretation and analysis to derive a clear meaning,
APM tools help in capacity planning by providing data on resource utilization trends over time. This data helps organizations predict when they might need to scale their infrastructure to accommodate increasing user loads or prevent potential performance bottlenecks.
For example, during a flash sale event, your online retail platform experiences a surge in traffic. An APM tool can monitor the resource utilization of your servers and databases. If you notice that your servers are approaching their limits, the tool can trigger alerts, prompting you to scale up your infrastructure temporarily to handle the increased load and prevent slowdowns.
Now that you’re aware of why your organisation needs to incorporate an APM tool and the benefits that they provide. We will now outline some of the leading APM tools currently on the market to enable you to make the most appropriate choice.
One of the most popular apm tools, Datadog provides full-stack visibility into application, cloud-based platforms and servers. Datadog features powerful user experience monitoring, allowing the user to observe network timing, transactions and more. The tool alse enables notifications of problems across the entire software stack.
Logit.io platform offers fully open APM and trace analytics without vendor lock-in, or data egress fees, and displays transparent easy to understand billing. Logit.io allows application developers to install code faster by spending less time on manual analysis of distributed logs, traces, and metrics. The platform also improves testing quality for QAs that need to identify application bottlenecks and perform load testing across various components.
Logit.io is significantly more cost-effective than many other application performance monitoring platforms. This means that you can log all your data without compromise. Also, with economical highly available SLAs and 20% off any annual subscription, you can make the switch towards full observability and scalability with ease, affordably.
New Relic is one of the industry leaders in application performance management. Potentially the most significant feature is the extremely vivid visualization it offers of the entire stack. Also, New Relic has another unique feature, WordPress-specific functionality. This works by, when you set up New Relic on a WordPress site, it opens up several new monitoring features that let you easily keep tabs on WordPress hooks, plugins, and themes.