When it comes to web-based applications speed is the essence and this is where Application Performance Management comes in.
APM is the art of managing the performance, availability and user experience of any software application. It monitors the speed at which transactions are performed both by the end-user and by the systems and network infrastructure which support the app. It also provides an end-to-end overview of any potential bottlenecks and service interruptions.
Typically, this means the use of a suite of software tools – or a single integrated SaaS (Software as a Service) or on-premises tool – to view and diagnose an app’s speed, reliability and performance metrics to maintain optimal service. One such tool is SmartBear’s AlertSite which uses a range of automated options to continuously monitor website, app or system performance.
Not just for the ops team
APM is no longer just for the system admins or operations teams. It is a more robust, user-friendly process which covers the whole spectrum of the app life cycle from pre-deployment, production and post-development stages:
- Developers can use APM software suites to collaborate more effectively with operations teams, manage the quality of their work through code level troubleshooting and monitor project progress with easily generated reports.
- Testers can use APM software to increase their accuracy, quickly identify performance bottlenecks and conduct load testing on app components and APIs to ensure consistent performance under stress.
- Ops teams can use APM software to conduct synthetic testing across web, mobile, desktop and APIs, to ensure a quality user experience by detecting performance problems before they ever land downstream.
- Business leaders can use APM software to manage web transactions effectively while protecting online revenue from periodic performance hiccups.
When taken together, these multiple uses of APM can give all users a much clearer picture beforehand of what will happen once an app is launched or released in a state of continuous development. This helps ensure fewer reliability issues which could catch them off guard.
Using the same APM results means the entire production team works from the same data, can share discoveries with each other and collaborate more closely to reduce the time-to-market for any development.
How does APM work?
According to tech research firm Gartner, a full-featured approach to application performance management should include some variation of at least these five specific steps:
- End-User Experience Monitoring — As a first step, end-user experience monitoring would pick up a problem as it impacts the application’s user.
- Runtime Application Architecture Discovery, Modelling, and Display — As a second step, the application’s runtime architecture would be generated and/or surveyed to establish the potential scope of the problem.
- User-Defined Transaction Profiling — As a third step, user-defined transactions would be examined as they flow across some subset of the possible paths exhibited by the runtime architecture graph, to ascertain what nodes in that graph are the sources of the problem impacting the end user.
- Component Deep-Dive Monitoring in an Application Context — As a fourth step, deep-dive monitoring of those nodes is carried out in the context of the results of the previous three steps.
- IT Operations Analytics — As a fifth and final step, analytics are brought to bear—on the one hand, to establish root cause in the midst of the vast volumes of data generated in the first four steps, and, on the other hand, to better anticipate and prepare for end-user experience problems that could emerge in the future.
Gartner lists end-user experience monitoring as its first step in APM and lists IT system analytics last, not because data analysis isn’t the foundation of the user experience (it is), but rather because data analysis is meaningless in many cases outside of its effect on human users.
Continually optimising the end-users’ actual experience of your application’s performance, reliability, speed, and functionality is not simply a minor footnote in the APM journey – it is the heart of it.
The future for APM
The number of tools that are being seamlessly integrated into single-vendor solutions like SmartBear’s AlertSite is a clear sign of things to come.
AlertSite more than satisfies Gartner’s five-steps recommendation, covering nearly a dozen different toolsets: Web Application Load Testing, API Load Testing, Real User Monitoring, Transaction Tracing for API Monitoring, Root-Cause Analysis, Real Transaction Monitoring, Synthetic Transaction Tracing, API Monitoring, Real Browser Recording, Core Synthetic Monitoring, and, most importantly, providing a comprehensive User Experience Management Platform.
Adopting a fully integrated, unified APM solution that makes data analytics accepting of the user experience may just be the deciding factor that keeps your company at the evolving edge.
Want to discover how your website is performing? As a SmartBear partner, we are offering you the opportunity to see exactly how your website is performing right this very moment. Request a free website performance report today.