Developing Criteria to Choose APM Tool Providers

This is an article from DZone’s 2021 Application Performance Management Trends Report.

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Choosing an Application Performance Management (APM) solution can be a big task as many factors must be considered. Each available tool offers different feature sets; Some tools only provide a view of certain layers of your stack but do not provide a full view.

Moreover, many tool options are designed to run in specific operating environments only. Careful study of each APM solution is essential to ensure that it meets budget and specification requirements. The primary goal is to discover comprehensive toolkits focused on analyzing and improving the performance of end user experiences.

APM tools allow you to monitor and manage the performance and uptime of your applications. For example, APM can enable IT teams to monitor application speeds and response times to maintain Service Level Agreements (SLAs). If requests fall below a certain threshold, the team can be alerted immediately, and the problem can be diagnosed to avoid bottlenecks or delays.

main socketBefore choosing a vendor, identify your APM needs

Consider the system diagram of the web application shown in the image below. In this configuration, there are approximately two dozen IT components that represent potential points of failure. Errors in any subsystems can lead to a complete outage or degradation of application performance.

A recurring challenge is purchasing a new or different APM solution and determining the one that best fits your environmental requirements. A solution that is easy to deploy and maintain while meeting your requirements is the one you should be looking for.

Application performance infrastructure

Start by clearly defining your requirements

The reasons why your organization needs to upgrade its approach to application performance management may seem simple. However, the current technologies and tools that depend on it are insufficient. The reasons you lack are complex but exploring them will help you determine the requirements for the new APM solution you will choose. The chart below should help you get started in identifying your APM needs before reaching out to providers.

Search and evaluate the sample criteria presented here and add your own as needed. Conduct a rigorous proof of concept (POC) with the help of the vendor and work with at least two or more vendors before deciding on a solution.A quick guide to identifying your core APM requirements

Tips to help you choose an APM solution

Every computing environment consists of multiple platforms, operating systems, applications, and networks. It is important to list, review, and compare different APM tools to ensure that the tool (or several) you choose meets the requirements, budget, and staff of your organization. Modern core functions of APM include:

  • Ability to integrate with other automation and service management tools
  • Advanced alerting and reporting
  • Features for error detection (eg, root cause, multidimensional, stack trace for debugging)
  • Analytics for business KPIs and user paths (eg login to logout)
  • Monitoring across application environments (eg, from mobile phone to main computer)
  • Automatic discovery and mapping of applications and their infrastructure components
  • Integration with APM data from external sources
  • Identify problems and analyze root causes
  • The ability to monitor HTTP transaction performance for applications
  • Support for APM integration and plug-ins
  • Support for programming languages ​​and frameworks (eg Python, Node.js, AngularJS, Java, Ruby)

Major APM users include:

  • App owners and business users
  • DevOps, ITOps, DataOps and CloudOps teams
  • Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) and end users
  • Site Reliability Engineers (SREs)

The APM requirements and selection process should quickly reveal which features are essential to your organization. Users can access your apps from anywhere in the world with different browsers, devices, and connection speeds. Define an APM tool or platform that provides real-time visibility into websites, web services, infrastructure, and networks; At the same time, the tool should include features that complement your monitoring objectives

Research APM solutions through industry expert reviews

Descriptions, reviews, and ratings of leading APM features are detailed in the “2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for APM Monitoring,” Solutions Review’s Application Performance Monitoring Solution Manual, and the APM Digest website.

Several reputable resources are available to help guide you through the research process before adopting a solution. Find experts and industry analysts who have conducted research, assessment, and collected reviews of leading service providers and specific tools. In particular, groups such as Gartner and Solutions Review have resources dedicated to APM. The table below contains a summary of notable APM capabilities aggregated by Solutions Review and profiled by one or more of the best described “leading” Gartner providers.

Common Capabilities of Leading APMS Companies in 2021
possibility Describe
App Analytics • Allows users to analyze the content of critical processes across application hosts to identify performance bottlenecks
• Taking into account your network’s blind spots, providing a more realistic user experience
Applied intelligence Allows users to detect, diagnose, and resolve problems before their IT staff or customers notice them, enabling them to identify and explain abnormalities for proactive and rapid response and diagnosis
Automated anomaly detection • Uses machine learning to automate the detection and response to defects, and to find and fix problems that affect application performance
• Helps clients reduce MTTR with root cause diagnosis capabilities
Built-in Integrations Many APM solutions offer built-in (built-in) integrations in various categories, including coordination, containers, service network, public cloud, messaging, DevOps toolchain, Internet of Things (IoT), and databases.
Monitor transactions at the token level • Provides comprehensive monitoring of code-level transactions affecting KPIs, including conversion and revenue
• Helps users clearly understand the impact on business performance
Code-level visibility Code-level visibility checks methods, classes, and threads for requests
Distributed end-to-end traceability • Provide distributed traceability from the front end of the database
• Traces requests from RUM sessions to services, serverless functions, and databases, then associates API and browser testing failures with backend errors
Full Observation Possibility It allows users to visualize, analyze and improve the entire software suite, including distributed services, applications, and serverless functionality
Hybrid environment management For businesses moving to the cloud:
• Implement automated, real-time performance insights before, during and after the cloud transformation process
• Provide a unified offer of application services and infrastructure
Integrated health monitoring • Provides digital performance monitoring that tracks all layers of the application, including server hosts and network health
• Application performance metrics can be aggregated with server resource metrics to provide an integrated view of network and application health
smart note • Provides intelligent monitoring of applications and networks with contextual information, artificial intelligence and automation
• Helps users to understand the full context of the observed data of user impact through interdependence between entities
telemetry data platform • Ingest and store all user operational data, including logs, in one place with live alerts and dedicated application support
• Features several hundred proxies and integrations, including OpenTelemetry

Develop checklists and questions for APM suppliers

Are you aware of the features and behavior that your APM solution should offer? Defining business goals and objectives (for example, increasing revenue and reducing risks and costs) is a critical step in choosing the best APM solution for your business. For app owners using the due diligence list, keep in mind the importance of the following information:

Predefined APMS Question and Consideration Categories
possibility Evaluation questions and considerations
APM data and reporting • What is the full selection of APM charts and charts available?
• What type and number of users will access and use information – Group C executives who want simplified visualizations to quickly understand data, or are data experts the key people on the team who must access and interact with information output?
• To process and visualize APM data, how many servers are required?
• Do I need a supporting APM database on separate devices?
• If APM uses proxies to collect data, how many and what types of proxies are necessary to support my implementation? Will it all be on our network or the network of sellers?
• Is APM able to extract data from other existing tools and link data?
• Do you need to restore the data manually, or can it be sent to your development team’s existing alert tools?
• Does it include an API that allows other tools to extract data from it?
Budget and Pricing As you use your new tools (and new experiences) to solve more APM problems, you may be presented with opportunities to innovate by thinking outside the box. Ask yourself:
• How much can you spend?
• Does the seller’s pricing scheme work for you?
• What is included and what options could be more expensive?
complication • Can your APM solution manage a few applications or hundreds?
• Are all of these applications on-premises or are they also in the cloud?
• What application models do they adhere to (monolithic, service, and/or microservice)?
• What programming languages ​​are the applications written in?
• What is the state of your infrastructure upgrade?
• Do you need SaaS solutions alone, on-site, or both?
• What additional hardware, software, and/or applications are required to support APM?
end user Some APM tools are designed with digital experience monitoring explicitly designed for application developers, which can be very restrictive for users not involved in development.
Key Performance Indicators Does the solution you’re considering measure the KPIs you need? For example, is the exact data you need to provide in areas such as code-level diagnostics or performance tracking within specific parameters such as user location?
Merge You likely have other tools in your organization to help manage and monitor your IT environment. You’ll want the new APM tool to slide directly into it without creating another place to look for the data, so:
• Find out what tools the APM product you’re considering integrates with.
• Compare the APM tools under study with those you already have or are considering implementing.
scalability • Should an APM solution only address application and service management issues now, or should it be able to grow as your operations expand?
• Does APM associate you with proprietary hardware and/or software?
supports • What are the available options? Are they 24/7?
• Does the seller establish himself as one or more partners as a supplier of the product?

conclusion

Implementation of well-chosen APM solutions can rejuvenate your computing processes. The economic value that your chosen APM solution will provide is impressive and easily quantifiable. IT infrastructures have grown so complex that the traditional “silo” approach of APM no longer works. Many organizations have a variety of monitoring products deployed. They can be reduced to one or a few in most cases, thus lowering costs and increasing value.

If you haven’t evaluated your current application performance management process and tools lately, start looking now to avoid stress later. And if you don’t have an existing APM solution, it’s time to consider setting up a proof-of-concept demo with potential providers. It won’t cost you anything up front, and the sellers will be sure to show you how their products can bring value to you and your team.

This is an article from DZone’s 2021 Application Performance Management Trends Report.

For more:

Read the report

.

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