What You Should Know about Application Performance Monitoring

July 28, 2016 | Comment

Application Performance Monitoring, otherwise known as APM, is a branch of information technology that mainly deals with ensuring optimum software program performance. As a user of a particular application, you’ll want to make sure that the software is performing as expected. The goal of this process is to provide end users of a specific software product the best experience possible.

The process of APM requires the use of application monitoring tools that provide administrators the ability to collect and evaluate crucial data so they can efficiently determine potential issues, isolate them, and develop a workable solution to the problems that are detrimental to the performance of the application. Some of these tools are designed to specifically monitor a particular software application, while others are developed to monitor multiple applications in a single network.

Basic APM tools gather important data about the client CPU usage, memory demands and utilization, as well as data throughput and bandwidth. These, along with other basic features, are the key characteristics of a good application monitoring utility.

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The Basic Features of a Great Application Performance Monitoring Tool

A good application performance tool should provide a clear view of the application’s or applications’ overall performance, from error rates and transaction states to page load times and the number of servers currently running the program. Here are a few of the basic features that should allow you to do exactly that:

  • Application Response Times – This feature allows administrators to monitor the server-side average of the overall time spent on all web transactions that occurred during a specific time period.

  • Transaction Tracing – This will allow you to view and assess where your application is spending most of its time. Having the ability to monitor this area of your application can make a huge difference in ensuring optimum app performance, especially when it comes to gathering data for the slowest HTTP requests and SQL.

  • Application Statistics and History – This is a statistical feature that provides access to a wide range of crucial data regarding application performance. Such feature allows admins to view the distribution of response times for every single transaction. Discovering browser-side issues and identifying transaction outliers are just a couple of the many benefits that this feature can provide in terms of obtaining actionable data that will help you troubleshoot potential issues and figure out an appropriate solution.

  • JVM Performance Analysis – This is crucial to anyone running on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), regardless of the framework or programming language being used. This feature can provide important information on thread activity, connection pool metrics, HTTP session data, class load/unload counts, and so on.

These are just a few important features that you should look for in an application monitoring tool. Regardless of the APM utility you choose, it is important that it can provide everything you need to effectively monitor, troubleshoot, and manage your applications.

Top APM Tools Worth Considering

Today’s businesses, regardless of size or industry, can truly benefit from software applications that provide practicality and functionality. Applications have become a crucial component in modern business processes. But these apps will require robust and fully functional tools in order to maintain optimum performance.

The following are a number of APM tools that can help you keep track of resources utilized by your applications, compare crucial data with useful insights, and improve app performance to support business processes.

  1. AppDynamics

AppDynamics is far more than just a typical application monitoring tool. This particular APM not only monitors application performance, but it also provides useful insights derived from the collected data and shows how the performance of the application is affecting your business operations.

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Some of its key features:

  • Real-time business metrics
  • Multi-functional, cross-correlated drill down
  • Code-level diagnosis and problem solving
  • App stack visualization
  • Support for Java, PHP, .NET monitoring
  • Intuitive user-interface
  • Integrate with third-party tools via custom extensions
  • Custom drag-and-drop HTML5 dashboards

  1. BMC Software APM

BMC Software is a full-service APM that provides important data from the end-user’s perspective to code-level app monitoring and diagnostics. It keeps track of applications in SaaS, as well as on-premise environments. With this tool, using the BMC Application Diagnostics, you can save time and cost by easily identifying potential issues and quickly implementing effective solutions. And with BMC End User Experience Management, you can obtain full visibility into the performance of the application from the user’s perspective.

Most notable features:

  • Quick error identification
  • Trend and baseline performance monitoring
  • Minute-by-minute detail drill down
  • Isolate intermittent and general slowdowns
  • Identify and isolate application issues
  • Monitor SQL statements
  • Code-level diagnostics
  • On-premise, hybrid, and cloud app monitoring integration

  1. New Relic APM

One of the most notable characteristics of the New Relic APM is its ease of use. This tool will have you running and monitoring your applications, with full visibility and complete functionality, in mere minutes. New Relic APM doesn’t require additional infrastructure nor does it need extra configuration on a regular basis. The tool provides useful insights to important application data in a comprehensible format via a highly intuitive user interface. It gathers data on various parameters and presents them in a custom dashboard so you can view only the values that matters to you.

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Basic features include:

  • Performance monitoring at-a-glance
  • Browser monitoring from the user’s perspective
  • SQL tracking
  • Code-level diagnostics
  • Cross-application tracing

These APM tools are considered to be among the best full-service application monitoring utilities in the market. There are a lot more APMs, of course, that offer additional features that you might find useful, depending on your needs. The important thing to remember is that a good APM tool doesn’t always have to include every single feature; it just has to include the necessary components that really matter to you, the user.