Application Performance Monitoring: Why is it important for your organization?

Application Performance Monitoring: Why is it important for your organization?

May 18, 2021 Security by Chris Soh

Application Performance Monitoring (APM) refers to monitoring or managing the performance of your code, application dependencies, transaction times, & overall user experiences.

It is an important technology that ensures the computer application programs are performing as expected. The ultimate goal of performance monitoring is to supply end users with a top quality end-user experience.

What is the purpose of Application Performance Management?

APM generally comprises of measuring multiple metrics related to the application performance, service maps, real time user transactions etc. The purpose of APM is to turn a black box product into something that is more transparent by providing intelligent insights into its performance metrics. More granular information can be extracted based on the type of the application that requires vigilance.

Some people refer to APM as application performance management while some refer it as application performance monitoring. Although management is more of a proactive approach and monitoring on the reactive side when it comes to problem resolution. In any case, APM tools are crucial for the health of your applications. In short, Application Performance Management is all about understanding the “why” for any issue as soon as possible i.e. decoding why application transactions have slowed down or are failing.

What are the three categories of an application monitoring tool?

  • App metrics based: Many tools use numerous server and app metrics and call it APM. Most of the APM tools will just notify the total number of requests tapped in the application, highlighting potentially the URLs that experience downtime. Since they don’t do code level profiling, they can’t tell you why.
  • Code level performance based: They are the standard type of application performance management products based on code profiling and transaction tracing.
  • Network based: They are tools with the ability to measure application performance as per the network traffic. There is an entire product class known as NPM that focuses on this kind of solutions.

Performance of Each Web Request and Transactions

At the center of APM, you must measure the performance of each web request and transaction in an application. This is required to know the requests that are accessed the most, which are the slowest, and the ones you should increase your backlog to boost your work process. Knowing the performance of each web request is simply the beginning. You’ll potentially get that from an internet server access log. The real secret is to understand the usage and performance of all application dependencies like databases, net services, caching and more.

It is quite common to experience problems in scenarios while

  • A particular SQL query is slow
  • SQL database server is down
  • External HTTP net services calls are failing
  • Noisy neighbors within the cloud inflicting issues

Code Level Performance Profiling:

If you wish to know why your application is slow, throwing errors, or has weird bugs in it, you’ve to get down to the code level. Knowing that an explicit web request doesn’t work is vital and straightforward. Deciding why it doesn’t work is tough, generally very exhausting.

By tracking what your application is doing down to the code level will allow you to gain deep insight which include:

  • What key strategies in your code stand out?
  • Which strategies are slow?
  • Is your app slow because of things like JIT, garbage collection, etc?
  • What are dependencies being called?

Application Log Data:

Whenever anything goes wrong in production the primary thing you’ll hear a developer say is “send me the logs”. Log information is typically the eyes and also the ears of developers once their applications are deployed. Developers want access to their logs via a centralized logging solution like a log management product. Luckily, log management is an enclosed APM feature in Retrace.

Application errors

The last thing we need is for a user to contact us and tell us that our application is giving them an error or simply blowing up.

Developers must bear in their mind at any time this might happen and perpetually anticipating them.

Errors are the primary line of defense for locating application issues. We want to search out and fix the errors, or at least understand them, before customers face any issue.

Excellent error tracking, reporting, and alerting are essential to developers in an application performance management system. It is better to fix alerts for brand new exceptions as well as for monitoring overall error rates. Anytime you are doing a new preparation for deployment you should be watching your error dashboards to examine if any new issues have arisen. Odds are, you’ll realize there are errors that need hotfixes.

Real User Monitoring (RUM)

Understand the performance of your applications on the server is very important. However, today’s web applications mostly use JavaScript, which is why it is vital to conjointly monitor how long it takes their browser to completely load and render your web content.

A straightforward JavaScript error or slow loading JavaScript file might utterly disfigure your application. Real user monitoring, or RUM, is another vital feature of APM that developers got to monitor the interactions between the users and their application.

What are the key features of an Application Performance Monitoring Tool?

  1. Dynamic Dashboard
  2. Snapshot Correlation
  3. Proactive Alerts
  4. Business Transaction Monitoring
  5. Automatic Mapping.

Moving Forward with Custom Applications

Standard server and application metrics can be very helpful for monitoring your applications. However, you may get more value by creating and monitoring your own custom metrics.

Different tools have different functionalities; we can use them to do things like monitoring how many log messages per minute are being uploaded to us or how long it takes to process a message from a queue. These kinds of custom metrics are simple to create and can be very useful for application performance monitoring.

What can you do with your APM tool?

  • You can collect performance metrics across your complete applications environment
  • Perform real user monitoring – test the user’s experience from different locations
  • Build synthetic transactions
  • Plot service maps and dive deeper into the metrics
  • Meet production deadlines without any bugs in the application build
  • Test your .Net & Java environment & be assured of their normalcy
  • Detect abnormalities automatically & troubleshoot those issues before it impacts your business
  • Get alerts and notifications if the monitored application deviates from their normal state

In a nutshell, an APM software helps users understand behavior of their apps much better, detect and resolve problems in less time proactively. Overall the business benefits as the process becomes more efficient in the form of end user satisfaction.

Does your business need APM?

If your organization has built its own applications, then you definitely need an Application Performance Monitoring tool to assure better health performance and bridge the technical orientation gaps. It is advisable to have APM if:

  • Your organization develops applications from scratch
  • Your revenue depends on the applications you’ve built
  • You have numerous systems which interact or are dependent on other applications
  • Your business operations rely on the in-house developed applications
  • Your application relies on regular support from vendor & you depend on your internal IT team members to support it
  • You must assure that your applications are running at their peak efficiency.

We’ve listed some really good reasons above to give you the confidence that APM is the right choice for you.

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