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The Fundamentals: What Is Application Performance Monitoring (APM) Today?


researchHQ’s Key Takeaways:

  • Application performance monitoring (APM) delivers real-time and trending data about a company’s web application’s performance and end-user satisfaction, allowing the early identification of potential problems.
  • An effective APM strategy is the first step towards achieving full observability and identifying why a system is not working correctly.
  • A robust APM strategy should involve user experience monitoring, code-level diagnostics, monitoring of key business transactions, quick and precise visibility into infrastructure and effective support of infrastructural health.


Welcome to our new blog series, “The Fundamentals.” Most, but not all of you who regularly read our blogs are technical experts, and we publish the majority of posts for you. We are starting this series to engage business users—or your non-technical relatives—who have limited familiarity with but are still interested in technical topics.

What is APM? What questions can a robust APM solution answer? And, importantly, how will it affect your bottom line?

As New Relic invented the category of SaaS application performance monitoring (APM) in 2008—more than 10 years ago—you may ask yourself what drives us to blog about its definition in 2020. Think about it: Every business is a digital business, and speed is critical. If an end user accesses a slow or error-ridden website or application, chances are, they’ll quit and move on to a competitor. Incredibly, one study suggests that 12% of users would even go as far as warning friends and family against engaging with a particular app or site, which can have a detrimental impact on business success, customer satisfaction, and brand reputation.

Another phenomenon that begs the need for getting clear on APM is the term “observability.” For instance, if you Google “what is observability” today, the first organic search result is “Monitoring and Observability — What’s the Difference and Why Does It Matter?” So, what is APM today? Let’s find out.

Help! My application is running slow

Application environments are complicated: think mobile app development platforms, virtualized servers, hybrid cloud, the Internet of Things, ephemeral application architectures, and more. Such a high degree of complexity makes performance monitoring a significant challenge for IT teams.

DevOps, SRE, agile software development—not only is the environment complex, but the pace of change is increasing because software teams are under immense pressure to deliver new features faster than ever before.

What’s more, when you consider the sheer number of interdependencies, identifying the root cause—likely causes—of a slow, under-performing application can seem like an impossible task. But it’s not one you can afford to skip. If you want to remain competitive, you must understand the following so you can find and resolve issues fast:

  • Whether your application is running slowly
  • What is causing the bottleneck
  • Does your application have errors
  • Whether or not backend processes are executing correctly

Developers, app owners, and IT managers must connect the user journey with their application performance. That way, they can grasp when, where, why, and how user experience is affected and resolve any issues quickly. And this is where APM comes in.

What is APM?

Application performance monitoring delivers real-time and trending data about your web application’s performance and the level of satisfaction that your end users experience. With APM, you can quickly identify potential problems before they affect your end users.

What does APM involve?

APM is often compared today with observability because, where APM tells you what is working or not working, observability tells you why. (We’ll dedicate a future post to defining observability, but for now, it’s helpful to know that it’s not the same as APM but involves the functionality of it. The APM market is shifting and morphing with others to drive observability concepts and criteria.)

Ideally, a robust APM strategy is a great first step toward full observability and should comprise the following five vital components.

Read more…

Business Challenge:We've curated the most common business challenges Monitoring performance across IT infrastructure
Stage:We've split the research process into 3 tasks Explore Solutions

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