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Benefits of Application Performance Monitoring

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Vivek Attavar, Head - IT,  IndiaBulls Ventures Headquartered in Gurgaon, Haryana, Indiabulls is a provider of services in the sectors of Housing Finance, Real Estate, Infrastructure, Financial Services, Securities.

For my definition, APM,or application performance management, is largely an industry or vendor created term for anything that has to do with managing or monitoring the performance of your code, application dependencies, transaction times, and overall user experience.

Simply put, application performance management is the art of managing the performance, availability, and user experience of software applications. It can monitor the speed at which transactions are performed, both by end-users and by the systems and network infrastructure that support a software application, providing an end-to-end overview of potential bottlenecks and service interruptions.

In pragmatic terms, this typically involves the use of a suite of software tools or either on a cloud model or on-premises tool - to view and diagnose an application’s speed, reliability, and other performance metrics in order to maintain an optimal level of service. Load testing, synthetic monitoring, real-user monitoring and root-cause analysis are a few of the primary tools to be found in a well-rounded approach to APM. Another significant component of APM is web performance monitoring(WPM),or the use of web-monitoring tools to gauge app speed and uptime.

Application monitoring tool is ultimately a perspective - an analytical view brought to bear on every aspect of software performance in order to clearly understand, and continuously improve the end-user experience. If you want to measure the performance of a web application, it is pretty trivial to parse the access logs and get an idea of how long web requests take. This would give you an idea about overall performance and which pages are slow. Unfortunately, it doesn’t answer the key question of why. APM is all about understanding the “why” as fast as possible and the heart of APM solutions is understanding why transactions in your application are slow or failing.
There are basically two types of APM monitoring tools:

1. App Metrics based– Several tools use various server and app metrics and call it APM. At best they can tell you how many requests your app gets and potentially which URLs might be slow. Since they don’t do code level profiling, they can’t tell you why.

2. Code Level Performance – Stackify Retrace, New Relic, AppDynamics, and Dynatrace are some of the typical type of APM products you think of, based on code profiling and transaction tracing.

Some other tools do monitoring based on server and application metrics, not code level performance, sometimes refer to their products as application performance monitoring solutions. Knowing your server CPU or average response of your webserver is important and helpful, but APM aims to go way deeper.

How do we assess the benefits of application performance monitoring, they basically help in:

1. Application Performance Monitoring Helps Reduce Revenue Risk - In today’s on-demand economy, gaining or losing customer loyalty is often just a mouse click away. For example, a failed IT component can lead to lost sales and dissatisfied customers. An application performance monitoring system can proactively identify when system performance levels degrade, so that IT can swiftly address the issue.

2. It Improves Business Continuity - Downtime is simply not an option for the majority of businesses. Disruption in business performance can lead to lost revenue and productivity, regulatory fines, damage to brand reputation and loss of customer loyalty. Companies that invest in APM realize an improved level of business continuity via high availability of core services, more efficient troubleshooting of issues and safer upgrades and changes to the application infrastructure.

3. Application Performance Monitoring Can Enhance the Customer Experience - One of the main benefits of APM is generating satisfaction and loyalty among your internal and external customers. With external-facing sites, end users will only put up with a slow performing application for a minute before clicking on competitors’ sites. In internal applications, a slow application will result in an uptick of support calls and lost productivity. Either way, companies lose revenue. An APM allows organizations to stay ahead of potential performance issues so that systems hum along and customers don’t stray to a competitor’s site.

4. Companies Realize Higher Productivity through Application Performance Monitoring - One of the complaints we hear from IT leaders from the industry is that they are constantly immersed in the “daily duties” of managing an application infrastructure. As a result strategic initiatives are often postponed. Application monitoring tools provide IT teams with a “birdseye” view of what is going on in their environment. APM provides proactive notifications of what needs to be fixed, before employees and customers are impacted. As a result, IT leaders can deploy resources smartly to adjust memory, restart services and so on – while having time to focus on strategic, revenue-generating initiatives.

If Performance issues are keeping your company from achieving its business goals, then application performance tools can deliver a comprehensive, unified view of systems to monitor resource availability and capacity usage, reducing downtime risk and helping to ensure a consistently positive customer experience.