APM refers to application performance management or application performance monitoring. You could argue that they are the same thing, or perhaps management infers being more proactive and monitoring only being reactive when it comes to the performance of your application. Either way, APM is an essential tool to help optimize and monitor the performance of your apps.
What is Application Performance Management (APM)?
For my definition, APM, or application performance management, is largely an industry or vendor created term for anything that has to do with managing or monitoring the performance of your code, application dependencies, transaction times, and overall user experiences.
APM is all about understanding the “why” as fast as possible
If you want to measure the performance of a web application, it is pretty trivial to parse the access logs and get an idea of how long web requests take. This would give you an idea about overall performance and which pages are slow. Unfortunately, it doesn’t answer the key question of why.
The heart of APM solutions is understanding why transactions in your application are slow or failing.
For example, a development or operations team can instantly tell from this visual that their database is causing some performance spikes. They can also leverage their APM to identify exactly which database query and web requests were affected.
APM solutions can help identify common application problems quickly:
- Track overall application usage to understand spikes in traffic
- Find slowness or connection problems with application dependencies including SQL, queues, caching, etc
- Identify slow SQL queries
- Find highest volume and slowest web pages or transactions
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