When it comes time to select the right Application Performance Management (or APM) tools for your business, you need to make sure that you consider all the different aspects of each available package before you employ one.
It’s important to keep in mind that the applications and tools solutions you choose should be complete and also equipped with features that can scale with your business. At the same time, you need to be mindful that evaluating and comparing performance management tool solutions and all the different vendors will not be an easy task.
Understanding your needs
Unless you are clear about your needs do not start the search for an APM tool. What are the typical needs for an APM?
- Code level diagnostics
- Types of technologies to be monitored
- End-user experience monitoring
- Out of the box/custom dashboards for your IT Operations
- Agent/agentless monitoring
- Cloud based/on premise tool
- Synthetic monitoring tool
Six points mentioned above are some of important high level requirements. Also come up detailed requirements. For example, list of critical metrics you need to monitor.
This is the first step to narrow down your search for a right APM tool for your needs.
What to Look for in an APM Tool
Once you are clear about your needs you then try to match your needs with available tools in the market. An APM tool that informs you that a specific transaction is slow, but is not able to tell you where, why, and who should be in charge of correcting this issue, is virtually useless. Therefore, a proper APM tool should offer an extensive library of integration gateways to analyze and aggregate data from almost all the major service providers.
There are open source options that might be worth considering which you can bend to your own needs, such as Nagios.
Many APM tools can offer useful analysis capabilities, just be mindful that these capabilities should be aiding your understanding of all your generated data. Also, to make all your tasks more manageable, a few criteria may be prioritized more than others with regards to your overall assessment of APM.
Two starring lights: New Relic APM Systems and Sensu
The criteria by which you should decide on an APM system should be as follows: reporting, monitoring, and analysis.
Certain providers like Sensu choose only to target server-side monitoring and these providers will not offer you any client-side RUM functionality. It’s important to be wary of that.
Remember, an APM tool may be used to ensure the success of your business. APM tools ideally improve the availability and performance of the business applications that you presently use. Let that be your guiding light in selecting a system that works for you.
The Pros and Cons of Using the Datadog APM Platform
Another APM tool that may meet some of your needs: Datadog has a fully qualified and sophisticated user interface, which makes it ideal for collaborative environments.
On the other hand, you should also note that this very robust APM platform can become very expensive if you decide to increase the size of your development projects.
You can significantly reduce the chances of misunderstandings if all development teams are involved in the overall search for a single APM tool to solve all your problems, with the same vision of things and the same tools. It’s important to analyze and assert patterns by always looking at different levels of load on your global infrastructure.
Those patterns will determine your ideal APM tool choice.
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The Benefits of Using the Right APM Tools
Performing these kinds of tests with your APM tools, you can contribute significantly to sustainability and the overall planning of your systems.
You might also wish to give some thought to the idea that these tools are handy if you want to be able to identify potential problems before actual end users ever encounter them. Remember, your business’ public image will be damaged if you only identify issues after users begin confronting them in real-world scenarios.
It’s really in your best interests to invest in a high-quality APM solution to make sure that all your testing is fully complete before you release your application to the wild. While all applications frequently require a server to run, not all software packages will require users.
It’s crucial to use the right APM tools to test your apps depending on what real-world uses you plan for your software. When looking at the APM tools, you need to make sure that the one you select is appropriate for your use case. Every detail needs to be considered: from the efficiency of requests made on the underlying databases to the speed of the demands on the network.
For example, not all applications need to be scalable. In such a case, a tool like Stackify specializes heavily in dealing specifically with web application analysis.
On the other hand, New Relic, as we mentioned, monitors mobile and web users. It’s ideal if you need a tool that provides comprehensive end-to-end visibility. In other words, you should use a tool that offers a high level of detail with regards to each transaction that your APM tool monitors.
Lastly, tests and alerts will be necessary for specific types of applications. By its nature, you’ll find that these forms of monitoring among APM providers that specialize in monitoring user-centric applications – usually web-based and mobile-based.
Why You Should Use APM Tools Alongside RUM Platforms
It’s really important to carefully choose a solution that the stakeholders in each life cycle of the application will adopt. As a basic rule, APM providers who analyze RUM from the web also tend to be the ones who offer web performance monitoring. The selection of the right APM tool for your business will depend heavily on the use cases that you have planned for your software.
Take some time today to carefully analyze the full life cycle of your software package before you make a final decision on which APM tool you wish to use. It’ll be much better down the road when you have a clear rationale for your product and the reasons for the APM tool you chose.
An APM tool should primarily be used to monitor the availability and performance of your website or platform in continuity. On the other hand, you need to understand that web performance monitoring is at the same time frequently used in conjunction with a RUM tool.
Real User Monitoring (RUM) is an advanced passive approach which is used to analyze the performance of a website.
You should also note that in the scenario of a web application, the RUM aggregates and tracks each page visited by a specific user and each button that they click on.
RUM tools have a global vision of the environment and can even identify a specific transaction that is particularly slow. Also, you need to be mindful that whether it is a question of studying production data or replaying a problem, everything will depend explicitly on the details of each transaction.
APM tools that work with your test automation tools is essential
It’s important to be aware that functional or performance error details are essential whether a transaction is executed several times or just once.
At the same time, you should also understand that although regression or load testing is a crucial factor with regards to your applications, the real value arises from the data that an APM platform can aggregate. Remember, even if it is not you, someone else may make mistakes that will affect you in one way or another with regards to the functioning of your application.
Like the problems that may impact your application, the solutions to solve these problems may follow the entire development lifecycle, which means it’s important that APM tools also integrate with your test automation tools.
APM tool or set of tools together that suits your needs can literally revive your IT Operations. IT infrastructure has grown so complex because of so many options cloud, service virtualization etc. that the single approach doesn’t work any longer. Some organizations even have up to 30 different monitoring products deployed. In most cases, right tool choice can bring it down to 4 or 5. Review your APM toolset now. And pick one if you don’t have any setup with some tools providing no obligation pilot.
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