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Application Performance Monitoring (APM)

Application
Performance Monitoring

What is Application Performance Monitoring

What is Application Performance Monitoring (APM)?

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Application Performance Monitoring (APM) is more than just some performance metrics on a dashboard. Simply put, it is about ensuring that your business applications are performing as expected, at all times, with proper tracking and reporting of performance issues. The end goal of Application Performance Monitoring tools in any business is to ensure that the supply of services to end users is uninterrupted and that the quality of delivered end user experience is supreme.

Let us try to understand the various concepts of Applications Performance Monitoring (APM) and why it is gradually becoming an inevitable part of IT Ops and DevOps teams across different businesses.

To understand Application Performance Monitoring (APM) inside out, let us split the operations of IT teams into three primary components:

  1. Server & infrastructure
  2. DevOps
  3. End user experience
As we examine these three components in detail, the boundaries of applications performance monitoring will become increasingly clearer. While operations across mentioned teams are often overlapping, it is important to understand the precise scope of these operations and their importance in ensuring a smooth application lifecycle process with minimal performance hiccups.

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Application performance monitoring for servers and infrastructure

The role of IT Ops teams is to solve internal as well as client needs by ensuring the infrastructure and operational environments supporting application deployments are in order. Server and Infrastructure management therefore becomes extremely crucial in maintaining a continuous and smooth flow of operations. Given the size, scale, and efficiency of business operations, Application Performance Monitoring tools can offer some invaluable benefits to manage business critical applications.

The bottommost layer of any software stack is the infrastructure layer. Monitoring CPU usage, load, memory, server uptime, etc. are some of the primary steps involved in infrastructure monitoring. Consider the following cases:

  1. Information about CPUs running at full capacity
  2. System processes using high resources
  3. Network load in the server
  4. CPU, memory, Disk I/O analytics
These are some of the key metrics that IT admins rely on to understand and optimize server and network performance and plan capacity upgradation as well as resource allocation. Once the infrastructure elements are covered, the next layer is the applications that are hosted on these servers. While some key metrics can be retrieved with ad hoc scripts, an Application performance monitoring software can dig deeper and wider to present more than just a few performance counters of these business applications. If your application performance components right at the grassroot levels are measured, it is an indication that the foundations of your application performance monitoring principles are strong.

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Application performance monitoring in DevOps

While an application performance monitor is mostly employed to monitor application performance in production environments, doing the same in the development environment can significantly decrease development time and increase application performance and stability. . The terms DevOps (development + operations) is becoming increasingly popular. It is important to note that web application performance monitoring is a key component of DevOps practices acting as a catalyst in most DevOps processes. In fact, most enterprises that have adopted DevOps find this as one of the core applications of enterprise application performance monitoring systems.

EMA (Enterprise Management Associates) research states that manual troubleshooting is the single biggest bottleneck that DevOps teams face in their continuous delivery pipeline and that 'APM solutions can substantially mitigate the challenges generated by high rates of production change.' For example, a request made to a web application is taking unusually long to respond. This could be due to slow running queries trying to retrieve the relevant information from the database but of course, without an app performance monitor, such problems are hard to identify. There are numerous possibilities of errors like these causing problems in web application performance monitoring while tracking background as well as front end transactions such as JVM becoming completely saturated, transactions consuming time, etc. With the help of the right application performance monitoring tools, these transactions details are made available and error causing codes can directly be pinpointed and delays in problem identification and resolution can be massively reduced. Operations, development and quality assurance teams then become more flexible breaking barriers in collaboration and becoming more transparent and effective with their development as well as production processes.

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Application performance monitoring to measure end user experience

The objectives of IT Ops and DevOps teams across organizations converge at one common goal that is satisfying customer demands. As they say, you cannot manage what you cannot measure. Measuring end user experience therefore is of paramount importance to meet customer expectations and retain them in the long term. A good user experience leads to continued usage of service which directly translates to more revenue generated. But how does app Performance Monitoring fit in when we consider the challenges to monitor application performance from an end user's perspective?

Usually, an application performance monitor employs a technique called synthetic transaction monitoring to mimic, record, and re-run possible end user interactions with a given web application by executing behavioral scripts. These transaction details present important information that can ensure your application can handle the projected load. These synthetic transactions in Application Performance Monitoring tools are captured with an agent that executes these transactions and collects information for optimal web application performance monitoring across geographies. End user experience monitoring, also known as digital experience monitoring, then offers the following benefits to business organizations:

  1. Test and monitor application performance before its launch
  2. Become aware of performance issues before the end user does
  3. Measuring impact of third party components in your application
  4. Performance stats for application access across geographies

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While most tools tend to associate app performance monitoring only with DevOps, the implementation of any app performance monitor is more diverse and beyond just the scope of DevOps. The implementation of APM solutions across industries spanning education, manufacturing, sports, IT, banking, hospitality, etc. for infrastructure and network application performance monitoring is a testament to their ever increasing rate of adoption as well importance in terms of business value they offer.

ManageEngine Applications Manager is one such application performance monitoring software that is recommended by thousands of admins across numerous industries. Applications Manager offers out of the box monitoring for over 100 popular servers and business applications. With its unified console offering monitoring, alerting and analytics capabilities for IT Ops, DevOps as well as End User Monitoring, Applications Manager is an ideal and affordable Application Performance Monitoring software for small, medium as well as enterprise organizations.

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Get started today with a free 30-day trial of Applications Manager inclusive of complete technical assistance, or schedule a free personalized demo with our experts based on your server & application performance monitoring requirements.

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