We all have faced the problem when the system gets too slow. Have you wondered why this problem occurs? Well, there could be several reasons but one of them is application performance. In today’s time, the term application has become very large and complex. Users using these applications often choose different mediums, as they have separate goals and requirements as per their needs.
This diversity in consumption medium brings complexity in a configuration which is only increasing in today’s time. Application performance means how available your application is for this real-world which brings us to APM. In this blog, first of all, we will discuss, what is APM, why it is needed, and what are the APM tools, which can help us obtain the information and health of the system.
Let’s start with the difference between application performance monitoring and application performance management because both of them are called APM which makes people confused.
Management vs. Monitoring
Application performance management is a strategy by which we manage the overall performance of our application starting with our code and covering application dependencies, transaction time, user experience, etc. The monitoring is a small part but critical, which indicates that there is a problem to be tackled.
Such a complete strategy ensures full visibility into app performance, helping DevOps to spot trends and be better prepared to respond to similar issues in the future.
What Is APM?
Application performance monitoring (APM) is the practice of continuously monitoring and tracking application performance and availability, as well as end-user experience – its purpose is to detect oddities, troubleshoot issues, understand patterns, make the best resource usage, and gather a deep understanding of what something is like which helps in making the application better, something that the customer and the developer are satisfied with. It leads to business growth in turn.
Why is APM so important?
Every day we access applications to shop online, stream TV shows (Netflix, prime), connect to social media (FB, insta), manage finances, and work. We all have access to all these applications. Sometimes when we try to open them, they’d either take too much time to open, just keep on loading or not open at all in other words, they crash. Well, it doesn’t happen easily with the ones mentioned above, only because they have excellent APM in place. But in other smaller or newer applications, we might see it happening.
The variables that can impact the performance of an application vary from coding errors or ‘bugs’ in the software, database slowdowns, hosting and network performance, to operating system and device type support.
Before diving into the logistics, let’s understand why we need APM. Without it, the problems we face in live run time may take longer to figure out and resolve. And if the problem does not go away at the right time, then the users get upset which is not a good thing this may force them to leave our services/products resulting in loss of business.
And for the company itself, the impact of applications that are unreliable, unavailable, or offer a poor user experience can cause brand damage, lost revenue, and for internal business applications, reduced employee productivity.
Key monitoring features of APM tools:-
- Synthetic monitoring
- Real user monitoring
- IoT monitoring
- Infrastructure monitoring
- Server monitoring
- Network monitoring
- Database monitoring
- Cloud monitoring
- End-User monitoring
Full-stack monitoring means you can monitor your entire infrastructure from end-2-end, including everything from applications, performance, and the end-user.
What are APM tools?
APM tools include monitoring solutions that track various components of two types of performance metrics:
The performance that users experience, including load and response times during peak usage
The capacity of computational resources, which helps establish a baseline for performance and identifies possible bottleneck locations.
How Does It Work?
Application performance monitoring works by:
- Tracking if your app is behaving as it should, within normal parameters.
- If not, sending alerts and collecting data regarding the source of the problem.
- Analyzing the data while considering the impact it has on business.
- Offering insight on how to adjust your app environment so that you can easily spot and fix similar issues in the future before they impact the end-user.
Controlling a situation by making things happen rather than waiting for things to happen and then reacting to them. Thus, APM helps you in troubleshooting
There are a variety of APM solutions in the market but if you’re not familiar with the ELK Stack, let me introduce it to you. I have been using it and it has proven very helpful in all my requirements.
Elastic APM allows you to monitor applications in real-time, collecting detailed performance metrics on response time for incoming requests, database queries, external HTTP requests, etc. Elastic APM provides an open source tool to quickly and easily visualize the health of our installations by utilizing a few components:
- APM java agent to gather application statistics
- APM server to receive statistics and ship them to ElasticSearch
- ElasticSearch to create easily searchable indices
- Kibana for visualization of the data
- APM server
- APM agent.
APM agents are responsible for collecting the performance data and sending it to the APM server. The different agents are instrumented as a library in our applications. The APM server is responsible for receiving the data, creating documents from it, and sending the data forth into Elasticsearch for storage
We need an APM because it helps how the application behaves over time and how it will respond if a new process runs in a system.
Application performance monitoring in DevOps
APM is very helpful for the DevOps team because whenever a new commit, releases, and build goes, one can learn from the previous APM analysis and make sure of the necessary steps to take as well as standard to maintain for quality delivery. Apart from this, there are monitoring tools that help in automatic application-deployment with little or no manual intervention. All this leads to the best feedback that the DevOps team can give to the developers. Develops can learn from it and together they can deliver with little to no harmful impact on applications in the future.
Opstree is an End to End DevOps solution provider