The ABCs of APM

APM (application performance management), or the monitoring of how software applications are performing, is nothing new. It’s been done for decades.

But what distinguishes a good APM from a better APM? There are a host of measurements, but I stumbled upon a neat little article on the subject, and I thought I’d share some of the wisdom.

First, while an APM might measure how quickly an app system completes a task, for example, taking a customer order, say, 5 minutes. What do you do with that information, anyway? I mean,  5 minutes is good or bad, and how it is affecting your business. Would you sell more if it was 3 minutes?

A better APM will dig down into the layers of the APM system and measure health at each layer –  including the operating system, hardware, and so forth – helping you pinpoint the root cause of the problem. Some people call this Application Service Management. From this type of analysis, you can learn that it’s 5 minutes to take a customer order because of too much load on the database. Then you can go about fixing the problem…applying a solution.

And you want to make sure that your APM goes beyond just measuring app system health and performance. Pick an APM that offers reporting tools, such as trending charts. And it’s also valuable to receive alerts so that you can act quickly and fix the problems.

But the best APM solution will always focus on the end-user experience monitoring and make that audience its primary focus for measurement, in my opinion. Yes, other metrics will provide you with troubleshooting details. But the #1 goal is to keep your customers happy and coming back, and APM data that helps you support that goal is the most valuable.