Application performance management (APM) is a practice that involves the process of managing, monitoring, measuring, and optimizing the performance and availability of software applications to meet expected levels of service. It involves constant tracking of how your application is performing at all times and helps you detect, diagnose, and resolve complex issues swiftly to ensure it runs effectively and efficiently to meet end-user expectations.

In this blog, you will learn what application performance management is all about, why it’s important, and how Applications Manager will help fulfill your application performance management requirements to achieve better business outcomes.

Establishing the need for application performance management

In today’s age of fast-paced digital transformation, many companies rely on software applications for their day-to-day business operations. With the increasing complexity of modern applications and the growing demand for a seamless user experience, businesses have started adopting various technologies, like application servers, database servers, web servers, cloud and container platforms, to ensure their customers enjoy a top-notch application performance as well as gain a competitive edge. Even a few minutes of application downtime in any of these applications can cause major havoc in daily business operations, resulting in frustrated customers, losses in revenue, and damage to the company’s brand reputation.

While it can be challenging to ensure top-level application performance at all times, managing and keeping a close watch on your application is the only way to ensure it’s performing at its best. Obtaining complete, real-time visibility into the individual components of your application performance, from frontend to backend, is crucial to deliver first-class business operations. As a result, you can identify and address performance issues before they affect end users, enabling you to ensure a seamless digital experience for your customers around the clock. This is where a robust application performance management solution comes in.

Challenges in application performance management

Challenges in application performance management

When it comes to application performance management, there are a multitude of possible challenges, since it involves tracking the performance of your application end-to-end. While the challenges vary based on the type of application infrastructure you’re managing (e.g., hybrid or microservices), here are some of the common issues when it comes to application performance management:

  • Complexity of IT infrastructure: Since there are multiple components that impact the performance of your application, tracking those components can become very difficult, especially if your infrastructure involves hybrid or microservices architecture.

  • Multiple metrics: Application performance management is a broad section of IT infrastructure, involving multiple metrics that need to be monitored.

  • Distribution of data: Consolidating and analyzing performance data from different sources can become painful, especially when dealing with hybrid or microservices application infrastructure.

  • Performance blind spots: In hybrid and microservice application deployments, coordinating performance management steps between on-premises servers and public cloud services may cause gaps, potentially leading to undetected issues.

  • Lack of skillset: Managing and analyzing performance data requires a qualified professional. Otherwise, it can be painful to devise an effective application performance management strategy.

  • High cost: Working with an effective application performance management solution is usually costly and can elevate your overall spend every time your application infrastructure requires scaling up.

Key features of an application performance management solution

Let’s explore some of the key capabilities of an application performance management solution:

Application performance monitoring 

As the name suggests, tracking the performance of your application is the foremost capability of a monitoring solution. Once your application has completed the development phase and is deployed, keeping a close track of your application performance is crucial to identify and address any irregularities in the functionality of your application in real time.

Applications Manager provides you with comprehensive application performance monitoring that provides real-time insights into how your application is performing at the code level. It offers deep visibility by tracking the performance of individual transactions of your application along with crucial elements such as database calls, transaction traces, thread profiles, application parameters, errors, and exceptions associated with those transactions to give you a clear picture of what’s actually contributing to application slowdown. You can visualize the dependencies between different components of your application architecture with the help of automated service maps. This way, you can obtain real-time insights into your application issues and resolve them before business operations are impacted.

Application performance management in Applications Manager

When it comes to application performance monitoring, there are a multitude of components that need to be tracked to maximize your application performance. The following are some key capabilities that a monitoring solution must have:

Transaction tracing 

A business application comprises many complicated transactions. While performing such transactions, there are instances where some transactions are not functioning as intended, which can lead to slow response times, connectivity issues, memory leaks, errors, or exceptions. In such cases, getting deep visibility into the performance of individual transaction traces through the application can help in identifying the exact culprit behind performance bottlenecks.

Application performance management in Applications Manager

Distributed tracing 

Transaction requests are made across various service methods within your application to perform a specific functionality. Especially in cases of a microservices infrastructure where requests navigate through different services for communication and data transfer, an application can break when these requests fail. Obtaining end-to-end visibility into individual request calls is vital for tracking transaction requests that are flowing across service methods. This gives you a clear understanding of how each method call is contributing to overall application performance so you can quickly troubleshoot performance bottlenecks in your application.

Application performance management in Applications Manager

Database operations

Tracking database calls is crucial when it comes to determining query performance as well as identifying the latency observed in the application while communicating with the database servers. Obtaining detailed insights into the performance of database queries can help you find out whether the issues have occurred because of suboptimal queries or inefficient resources and to take quick actions to enhance the overall query performance in your application.

Application performance management in Applications Manager

Thread profiling

An application triggers a series of method calls required to perform an operation, which involves a multitude of thread requests that are handled simultaneously. Thread profiling can provide you with detailed information on the list of threads that are running in your application, enabling you to identify threads that are performing abnormally. This way, you can narrow down the threads that are consuming time and resources in your stack trace and are contributing to the slowdown of your application overall.

Application performance management in Applications Manager

Service maps

An application infrastructure requires a multitude of hosts and services working together to perform business operations. While keeping track of hosts and services individually can help you to ensure best performance, gaining a visualized overview of the status of your resources and their connections between different service components can pave the way in providing comprehensive insights into your application topology at a single glance. This simplifies the process of identifying the problematic elements of your application at the code level and monitoring the transaction traces as they navigate through the application.

Application performance management in Applications Manager

Error tracking 

One of the core features of a good application performance monitoring solution is to identify and provide detailed insights into errors and exceptions that have occurred in the application at the code level. While it is common to encounter errors and exceptions while performing business operations in your application, gaining detailed insights into the type of errors or exceptions in your application can simplify the process of troubleshooting the problematic elements of your code and can enable you to prevent unexpected performance slowdowns.

Application performance management in Applications Manager

Digital experience monitoring 

Ensuring a positive digital experience for users is crucial for the success of any business application. While application performance monitoring can help you provide code-level visibility to maximize your application’s functionality in the back end, having a close watch on the application’s front end is equally important to ensure your users enjoy a seamless user experience. Gaining a comprehensive view of your application’s front-end performance from beginning to end can help you identify how digital services are operating and how users interact with them in real time.

With the digital experience monitoring capabilities from Application Manager, you can effectively track your web application’s digital experience and gain real-time insights into its front-end performance. This allows you to observe how users from different locations are interacting with your application by simulating critical user actions, monitoring real-user experience, tracking individual page URLs, and API monitoring. By proactively identifying and addressing any issues that may impact the user experience, you’ll see increased customer satisfaction, user loyalty, and business growth.

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Application discovery and dependency mapping (ADDM)

In a fast-paced business environment, it’s crucial to effectively manage multiple infrastructure components. This requires a deep understanding of the individual components and their interdependencies within the application infrastructure. In particular, having a comprehensive view of interconnections is crucial for incident resolution. Understanding the relationships between resources and their impact on application performance is essential for proactive identification and resolution of potential issues, minimizing downtime and ensuring a smooth user experience.

By leveraging the application discovery and dependency mapping (ADDM) feature in Applications Manager, you can obtain a holistic overview of how various resources are interconnected within an application, so you can quickly identify affected resources in case of performance outages. ADDM continuously discovers applications running on different servers, mapping their interconnections in the form of network maps, and updates the maps with newly-discovered resources according to your configured discovery schedule. This ensures that the maps are always up-to-date, reflecting the state of the application infrastructure in real time.

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Infrastructure monitoring

Another important aspect of application performance management is infrastructure monitoring. It ensures that the underlying infrastructure supports the application’s performance requirements, provides early warnings of potential issues, and facilitates optimization, capacity planning, and cost management.

Many businesses adopt a diverse business infrastructure to support their applications with elements ranging from servers to databases, networks, application servers, and more. With the adoption of cloud platforms and other modern technologies, infrastructure monitoring has expanded to include virtualized environments, cloud infrastructure, microservices, Kubernetes, and more.

By leveraging the power of infrastructure monitoring, Applications Manager offers a holistic view of the hybrid-IT infrastructure and the health of various components within a single console. There is pre-built support for 150+ enterprise technologies, such as databases, servers, VMs, containers, middleware components, application servers, web servers, and cloud platforms, running both on-premises and in the cloud. Applications Manager supports popular applications from commercial vendors such as Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, VMware, Amazon, and IBM as well as open source vendors such as Apache.

Application performance management in Applications Manager

Application analytics

Obtaining in-depth performance analytics of your application infrastructure is crucial to enable you to track and measure the performance of your applications over time. While monitoring your entire application stack can help you immensely in performance tracking, gaining deep insights into how your application is performing with respect to different application components can provide a complete understanding on how your application infrastructure is actually performing, especially when your application operates in a hybrid or microservices architecture.

With the intelligent reporting capabilities from Applications Manager, you can gain in-depth visibility into the performance of your applications over different time frames. With the help of advanced reports, you can create customized reports that cover multiple metric categories, like availability, inventory, configuration, and performance metrics. Furthermore, you can generate capacity planning reports to find out whether the resources in your infrastructure meet your business requirements, as well as utilize ML-driven forecast reports to foresee application performance spanning from months to years ahead.

You can then easily embed these reports within customizable dashboards and share them to stakeholders within your organization.

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Start your application performance management with Applications Manager

In today’s competitive business world, ensuring optimal application performance is crucial for success. Applications Manager is an effective application performance management solution that provides in-depth insights into the critical components of your application. With real-time monitoring, end-to-end visibility, and performance analytics, Applications Manager will help you deliver a seamless user experience, increase efficiency, and reduce downtime so you can unlock the full potential of your applications and stay ahead of the competition.

Download a 30-day, free trial and begin monitoring your application performance, alongside the rest of your infrastructure components, today.