Today, digital experience means everything. Businesses must deliver uninterrupted services to their end users. But since modern applications are complex, and complex applications tend to fail in complex ways, it's essential to identify and resolve issues as soon as possible.
This is where an APM tool is handy. With an application monitoring tool in place, you can drill down to the exact line of code or the component that’s causing problems and identify the root cause of issues in minimal time.
An APM tool should be able to map the various aspects of your application's complexities to give you a better understanding of how the application works. When selecting an APM tool for your monitoring purposes, look for these basic features:
Applications generally communicate with one or more external resources to complete various actions, be it caching, updating the database, or waiting for an external provider like a payment gateway. Visualizing these dependencies helps DevOps and IT admins quickly identify bottlenecks and remediate issues.
Monitor the performance of business-critical transactions at a glance by labeling them as key transactions. Doing so enables you to save time searching for transactions and helps you debug and analyze them with ease.
With distributed tracing, you can track transaction traces made from one application to another. This enables you to monitor calls made between applications and isolate problems.
Knowing when and how frequently errors happen in an application enables organizations to develop crucial strategies to build more robust products and make the user experience more seamless.
Enabling developers to customize application-specific metrics ensures they can evaluate performance bottlenecks and tweak the existing codebase.
Milestone markers help you record significant events in your application’s life cycle, like build deployments, product updates, feature enhancements, and infrastructure upgrades.
With a continuous monitoring solution offloading most of the operations-related worries, alerting is just the icing on the cake. DevOps teams can set up rules to receive alerts during an irregularity, freeing up their time to manage other day-to-day operations since they won’t have to constantly check on the metrics.
The idea behind anomaly detection is to uncover any abnormal spikes in an application's critical performance attributes. An anomaly is triggered when a KPI falls below or exceeds the previously benchmarked values. This helps you handle unforeseen issues that could have a big impact later.
According to Gartner, "APM is a suite of monitoring software comprising digital experience monitoring, application discovery, tracing, and diagnostics and purpose built AI for IT operations."
Originally used to merely monitor performance metrics, APM tools have come a long way in accordance with the trends in application development. In a nutshell, present-day APM tools should be able to integrate well with other aspects of monitoring, have robust tracing mechanisms, and aid in proactive monitoring with the help of anomaly detection and forecasting.
An APM tool can alert DevOps teams immediately when an application behaves erratically. These continuous monitoring solutions provide key insights on errors, including stacktraces, and enable DevOps to take further actions during an emergency, like applying a quick patch, running an automation script, or reporting details to the concerned teams.
APM tools provide a bird's-eye view of application topology, making it easier to identify unresponsive nodes instantly. Alerting systems and anomaly detection provide the edge IT admins need to respond to critical events faster.
APM tools aggregate performance metrics over a long period of time, and provide a quick snapshot of performance-intensive operations. This enables operations teams to identify areas of improvement based on historic trends in application behavior.
Ensuring that a new update enhances response time, or deciding to revert to an earlier build, requires a comparison of key metrics before and after deployment. APM tools with options to mark significant infrastructure updates as milestones and compare reports make this a breeze.
APM eliminates the need for developers to manually gather key environmental details required to simulate and fix an issue. These tools capture the entire application context in depth, including stacktraces, session details, calls to databases, and other dependent components. APM tools even provide APIs for developers to define their own application-specific metrics.
Measuring application performance goes beyond application availability and responsiveness. It’s crucial to establish a baseline for key parameters, as this helps you detect application degradation or anomalies. To begin, measure your application performance with these KPIs:
Reduction in response time.
Reduced DB calls.
Reduced calls to external components.
Optimization in SQL queries.
The following are a few pointers that needs to be considered before buying an APM tool: