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What is Application Performance Monitoring (APM)?

September 22, 2023

Application Performance Monitoring (APM) is a set of tools and processed used by IT professionals to ensure enterprise applications are fit for purpose in terms of delivering on the requirements of employees, partners and customers for:

  • Performance.
  • Reliability.
  • User experience (UX).

It is part of the wider term Application Performance Management. The monitoring part is primarily focused on tracking application performance, while managing is all about controlling performance levels. APM tools enable administrators to instantly access the data they need to discover, isolate and solve problems relating to an application’s performance.

What is the aim of APM?

The goal of APM is to enable an organisation to connect app performance to business outcomes. It facilitates the isolating and amendment of errors before they impact end users and it reduces the mean repair time.

APM tools are constantly collecting and quantifying data from everything involved in app performance. Fundamentally, they observe hosting platforms and gather information on process utilisation to look for red flags that performance could be adversely affected at any time.

APM tools also track error rates and measure the frequency of problems or failures within an application. The overarching goal is to spot problems early and address them before they impact the end user. This maintains good performance and enables end users to continue operating at optimal levels on a consistent basis.

Why is APM important?

There are various benefits to using APM within an enterprise, relating to operational effectiveness, reputation and ongoing cost efficiencies.

Operational Benefits

The benefits for operations include:

  • Improved collaboration and cooperation in application delivery.
  • Front-end monitoring to enhance UX.
  • Back-end monitoring to oversee services and dependencies.
  • Infrastructure monitoring to ensure organisational effectiveness.

Reputation Benefits

The brand benefits from reliable, readily-available applications:

  • High uptime ensures high user satisfaction.
  • Application utilisation remains high if the user experience is positive.
  • If you rely on application and software services, APM helps offer the best possible experience.

Cost Efficiency Benefits

Cost is the corollary to revenue, and APM can help:

  • Cut down on costs associated with troubleshooting applications.
  • Operate an enterprise workload that function quickly and smoothly.
  • Identify problems early for rapid correction.
  • Prevent users ever becoming aware of an issue.
  • Avoid costly downtime.

What are the components of APM?

APM is laser-focused on the 5 primary elements of application performance:

  1. Runtime application architecture.
  2. Business transactions.
  3. Real user monitoring.
  4. Analytics and reporting.
  5. Component monitoring.

Runtime Application Architecture

This analyses hardware and software that are part of the app’s execution. Utilising pattern recognition to identify performance issues, IT professionals can anticipate potential problems before they occur and plan for the requisite upgrades in advance.

Business Transactions

This is sometimes known as user-defined transaction profiling. It focuses on examining user interactions and recreating them in order to test the conditions that resulted in performance issues. The result is that you can trace when and where events are occurring to troubleshoot swiftly in complex environments.

Real User Monitoring

This gathers user-based performance data to understand the UX and gauge potential problems. For example, monitoring the response time of a critical website to enable the identification of response times that are too slow, enabling the amendment of lag or response issues. Tracking end user experience is done by synthetic monitoring and agentless monitoring.

Analytics and Reporting

Here, we have the translation of data gathered into actionable information to define a performance baseline, identify areas for improvement, resolve performance issues and predict future problems.

Component Monitoring

In this aspect, all components in the IT infrastructure are tracked. In-depth monitoring is carried out, including server analysis, operating systems, middleware and more. This provides a more profound understanding of the elements and pathways involved in the running of the application, and the ways the other components listed here interact with one another.

How does APM actually work?

Application performance monitoring tools observe the performance of apps and look for signs they are not behaving as expected. If anomalies are detected, data is gathered on the cause of the issue and thoroughly analysed based on the impact on the business. This leads to a correction of the application environment to resolve the issues before they take place.

To configure an APM platform, there should be 3 categories of data accounted for:

  1. Metrics.
  2. Traces.
  3. Log files.

There are key metrics involved in APM that can be employed to gauge an application’s status. Among the most critical of these, you will find the following:

  • Response time.
  • Web performance monitoring.
  • Application availability and uptime.
  • Resource usage.
  • Customer satisfaction.
  • Request rates.
  • Number of instances.
  • Error rates.

What are the benefits and challenges of APM?

APM is a means of proactively monitoring application performance to identify issues before they affect the application itself. This is a broad goal, offering 3 major benefits to the organisation:

  • Improved collaboration.
  • Better customer experience.
  • Cost savings.

However, there are some undeniable challenges for businesses of using APM:

  • You must find the correct metrics for meaningful results.
  • The metrics collected must be used effectively.
  • A high degree of technical skill is required.
  • There must be clear goals to drive APM.

How can APM be integrated into a business?

With many APM tools available, it takes planning to embark on a successful APM adoption. Business and technology leaders should consider what benefits they could get from performance monitoring, and gain an understanding of the data that is most relevant to the applications or services they want to monitor.

Other considerations include:

  • The appropriate analytics, alerting and reporting.
  • The correct way to use APM tools in your environment.
  • Which stakeholders take ownership of the APM.
  • What APM tools will help meet the objectives.
  • Will APM tools work within your specific environment?
  • How can APM plans be changed over time?

These are some important questions to answer before you can make any decisions and move forward with APM deployment. It may be best to work with a consultant or other expert to help establish need and develop strategy. APM is a specialist area that requires specialist knowledge, but its benefits can really enhance the effectiveness of your services.

Why choose Eventura as your Managed IT Service Provider?

Eventura has been providing managed IT services to countless customers for 20 years. Our talented team of people can help you identify all your businesses IT needs and engineer bespoke IT solutions that have real-world benefits to your business.

We are also NetSuite Solution Providers and Sage 200 Business Partners, offering game-changing ERP solutions crafted to automate and streamline business processes.

If you would like to speak to one of our experts, you can request a free call back here.

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