Application Performance Monitoring and Which Cloud Companies Need It Most


Expectations for applications—whether built for consumers or businesses—are high. End users want high speed, reliability, and flawless experiences. In order to deliver on these expectations, businesses must monitor their apps’ performance through APM.

Due to the growth of applications being deployed in the cloud, performance monitoring tools have evolved to monitor and manage complex and distributed applications. Intricately data has identified certain attributes in companies that should prioritize performance monitoring - but let’s first review what it is, and how it works.

What is Application Performance Monitoring (APM)?

Application performance monitoring is a broad term referring to the process of ensuring an app is meeting performance and availability standards. APM tools are used to alert IT managers to any disruptions in load time and other performance measures. When done correctly, application performance monitoring helps prevent potential bugs or issues—rather than merely responding.

APM tools are installed by developers and infrastructure engineers, and operations teams monitor these systems to make sure all systems are healthy. Similar to how marketing teams use Google Analytics and developers use a product analysis tool, IT teams use APM solutions to deliver quality experiences to the end user.

What is the Purpose of Application Performance Monitoring?

The purpose of application performance monitoring is to ensure that your app is meeting performance standards and to shed light on the latency users are experiencing. An application’s speed and performance makes a huge impact on business performance. Whether its customer satisfaction in a web based gaming app or productivity in a business setting, modern applications have the power to improve or hurt business outcomes with unaddressed issues.

It’s crucial that IT be proactive in delivering fast and reliable cloud-based applications, especially today when the configuration of applications in the cloud is growing significantly faster than in data centers. 

Benefits of using APM

With performance monitoring, IT teams can identify issues and improve performance to improve the users experiences. This will only benefit the application and overall business.The benefits of using an APM tool include:

  • Understanding how the application is performing
  • See the application is running slower
  • Identify errors or bugs and where they exist

Ultimately, implementing an APM solution effectively allows operations teams to see where, and more importantly why, bottlenecks are happening by looking at the entire IT ecosystem.

benefits of application performance management

How Does Application Performance Monitoring Work?

APM solutions collect data from any source that affects the app’s performance. This includes the hosting platform, the software, code execution, the network, users, database use and other pieces of the apps IT ecosystem. The different dimensions of APM have evolved over time, condensing from five major components to three. Gartner’s most recent model identifies the most important components of APM:

  • Digital experience monitoring (DEM): Previously referred to as end-user monitoring, APM solutions monitor what the end-user experiences while using the app.
  • Application discovery, tracing and diagnostics (ADTD): This formerly was three distinct dimensions (application architecture, user-defined transactions, and component deep-dive). Together, these elements help IT implement automated discovery of web servers, application servers, and microservices, as well as application frameworks and platforms (such as containers, orchestration mechanisms and service mesh).
  • Application analytics (AA): Modern tools use domain-central artificial intelligence for IT operations.

Synthetic vs real-user monitoring for digital experience monitoring

When users encounter an error and get the dreaded rainbow wheel, IT representatives need to see what is happening from a different geographical location. In order to do this, APM tools rely on synthetic or real-user monitoring. Synthetic monitoring uses simulation to predict application issues, whereas real-user monitoring analyzes the data provided from real users by placing JavaScript into the browser. Modern tools often use both means to ensure prime user experiences.

Who Needs to Use Performance Monitoring?

In reality every company needs APM, but who needs it most? According to Intricately data, there are at least 400K businesses around the globe that should be deploying APM solutions.These businesses were identified for their significant cloud footprint, DevOps teams, and other unique attributes. Here’s why:

1. Companies with application and developer operations teams

A business employing application and developer operations teams will find APM to be a crucial part of their entire DevOps life cycle. Without tracking application performance throughout the process, companies will get to the finish line with an app that is not performing well and doesn’t meet the expectations of end-users. “More and more companies are adopting this methodology to increase the pace of releases while still delivering quality applications with good user experiences.”

2. Companies that consume enterprise infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) such as AWS

As more companies shift toward server-less computing services, one goal has remained paramount: “The level of service delivered to end-users of applications must be maintained—or even improved—to meet ever-increasing customer expectations.”

So, even as companies choose to utilize cloud-based options like AWS, the end-user must not encounter any change in service. These companies need APM to ensure their cloud footprint is helping (and not actively hurting) their user experience.

3. Companies with medium to large overall cloud spend

On the subject of cloud solutions, any company with medium to large overall cloud spend should be utilizing APM to take advantage of all the data available to their developer teams. If cloud solutions are a significant expenditure for the company, then APM tools will help ensure they have a solid grasp on their code performance, transaction times, application dependencies, and the end-user experience.

While these three components indicate a priority need for APM, in reality, any company that has any infrastructure has APM deployed in some form. Ultimately every company has unique applications and, therefore, unique behaviors. APM’s job is to provide visibility into the behavior of your application, making it a critical tool for small startups to giant enterprises and everyone in between.

Best Practices for Implementing Performance Monitoring

When implementing APM, many companies run into challenges when working in a hybrid or cloud environment. Consider the following practices:

1. Identify metrics connected to business outcomes

Common metrics that APM solutions and IT teams monitor include:

  • User satisfaction/Apdex scores
  • Average response time
  • Error rates
  • Request rates
  • Number of application instances
  • Application and server CPU usage
  • Application availability/uptime (SLAs)

The most important metrics to keep tabs on are ones tied to your business goals.

2. Identify your baseline for those metrics

The only way to know if an application is performing well or is experiencing issues is to have some sense of what is ‘normal.’ Without a baseline or benchmark for key metrics, teams won’t be able to identify abnormalities.

3. Take a multi-pronged approach

When measuring applications, especially those in the cloud, teams will need to monitor for performance, cost, and security. Not every company will have all the resources in the world to ensure every component of functionality is performing optimally, but they will have to find the balance between these three priorities.

Applications Configured in the Cloud Want Support from APM Vendors

Traditional APM solutions are built for legacy data systems, rather than today’s complex cloud environments. A 2019 TrustRadius survey found that nearly a quarter of the responding APM users were thinking of switching products within the next one to three years. As applications are being deployed to the cloud with IaaS and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) systems now more than ever, APM vendors have a new opportunity to market their solutions.

Intelligence from Intricately can help vendors find new opportunities in their total addressable market and prioritize their target accounts. See how Dynatrace and AppDynamics can both win more deals in the APM market.

Are you an APM vendor seeking more customers that fit your ideal customer profile? Try Intricately today for free.

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