Application monitoring is the process of monitoring an application's performance, availability, and end-user experience to ensure the application is functioning properly. Real-time application performance monitoring (APM) enables companies to identify issues before they impact real customers and optimize apps to exceed user expectations. With customer or user experience being a core focus for today's businesses, APM is crucial to providing a rewarding user experience and preventing customer service issues or complaints.
APM leverages advances in web server hardware, "big data" architecture, and load balancing on cloud networks to get detailed analytics of software code that is in production. There are many APM tools available on the market. The right one for your organization will depend on your specific needs. Some key features may include robust monitoring tools, customizable and user-friendly dashboards, alerting mechanisms, and accessible visualizations tools for critical metrics.
Application performance monitoring is based on real-time I/O packet scanning of data transmissions on a network. Analyzing and correlating the data makes it possible to detect performance issues and diagnose problems. APM solutions typically provide a dashboard that gives visibility into the performance of an application and may display data like response time, error rate, and throughput. Event logs can be used to debug problematic software code or database queries. And network diagnostics assist with resource planning, hardware allocation, and elastic web server automation to achieve greater cost efficiency.
Application monitoring includes a series of dashboards for various metrics pertaining to network analytics, hardware utilization, and software performance. APM tools often include data-driven charts that display the relationship between virtual machine usage across multiple international data center locations. Systems administrators can monitor system failure, auto-recovery, server health diagnostics, network traffic reports, error logs, and historical metrics. Application monitoring is considered an essential element of DevOps support for production software in live operations.
APM leverages application monitoring tools to conduct real-time packet scanning of I/O requests across a cloud network. The APM tools make it easier for teams to immediately identify and respond to issues by alerting them when failures occur. The alerts typically provide complete information about the location and cause of the problem so APM teams can repair it right away. Ultimately, application monitoring enables teams to continually optimize the performance of apps and provide a flawless end-user experience.
Virtual machine resources such as processing requirements or bandwidth are also monitored, and APM tools provide real-time visualizations of usage. Administrators can see the percentage of CPU engaged on each VM or the fluctuation of network traffic requests by bandwidth and IP addresses over time.
Application monitoring tools can also collect detailed user information, such as their operating system, device, screen size, location, time spent on site, and products purchased. Application performance management teams then monitor dashboards for such metrics. These metrics provide critical insights that enable APM teams to diagnose issues and optimize the performance of the apps for future users. Ideally, the application performance management activities will work proactively so companies can address issues with apps before any users are affected.
Third-party network utilities also provide more robust features for sales and marketing reports. Businesses can build custom solutions by installing application monitoring software independently on their networks and web servers.
As part of the application monitoring process, APM teams typically map out all dependencies and use the application performance monitoring tools to also track the performance of the various dependencies in real-time. Because dependencies directly affect the performance of apps, it’s crucial to pay attention to them. Common dependencies include SQL databases, caching solutions, message queues, and HTTP APIs.
Most enterprise companies invest in application monitoring software from an IT major that is integrated with the data center management platform. VMware vRealize Hyperic and vRealize Operations are industry-leading software solutions that work with either vCloud or NSX Data Center installation. Other application monitoring tools include Google StackDriver, AWS CloudWatch, and a range of professional application monitoring tools from Microsoft that are available for Visual Studio and Azure. Startup companies like Nagios, Zabbix, and New Relic compete with the IT majors for enterprise-ready application monitoring solutions that can be installed on cloud networks for DevOps support.