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APM for Newbies

Pachi πŸͺ (she/her/ela)
・Updated on ・3 min read

From a Newbie to all the other Newbies out there: What is an APM and why should you care?

As I was learning about APM tools, I found them pretty interesting and useful, so I decided to write this article.

Here I will share what I am learning from the point of view of something who never worked with this before.

What is APM?

APM stands for Application Performance Monitoring.

An APM is a tool that helps you to monitor the performance of your application. It does it in the user-end, server-side and everywhere in between.

That means that each step of your application is being watched, and if there is an issue you will know it. You can see where it happened, and also know why you are having this issue.

Key elements:

A research firm called Gartners gives us three essential elements to define a good APM tool. I will explain each one as I understand it.

  • Digital Experience Monitoring,

This means the experience your users have is being monitored, and you can have a better understanding of what they are experiencing.

  • Application discovery, tracing and diagnostics,

This means that you have data to dip deep into your application, which is great to diagnose problems at a deeper level.

  • Purpose-built Artificial Intelligence for IT operations

AIOPs (short for artificial intelligence for IT operations) collects a variety of data to automatically diagnose and fix issues, in real-time!

And they still provide traditional historical analytics.

It means that your application gets a really smart way of finding and dealing with issues.

How it works

Imagine you have an online store. Someone logged in and purchased something. Your APM tool will kick in and follow the data from the user, to your database and monitor each step of this process.

Let's say the check out is taking too long. In this case the APM will figure out where exactly that slowing down is happening. Is it because of the user connection? Or is it some performance issue on the server side?

A good APM tool will help you answer these questions, so you know where to work on to fix or improve your application.

Why use an APM tool?

An APM tool gives you a single platform to monitor your applications, and it alone can give you more efficiency and productivity. You can identify problems before the user does!

APM tools are a one stop dashboard to performance monitoring, managing updates, correcting errors and keeping an eye on conflicts.

It can helps your team to work faster solving issues and understand better what the clients are actually using.

Conclusion

There are several APM tools out there, and you can use the Key Elements list I mentioned to make sure you are working with a good one.

You also have to take into consideration what are your priorities and what will be the most helpful for you, and how the tool you are using attends to your needs.

New Relic and APM

New Relic offers a great APM tool that is free up to 100gb/month of data, and the APM tool is just a part of the services you have available when you sign up.
They offer support to a variety of languages and frameworks with their APM agents, and they have pretty good documentation.
You can sign up for free here, and try it out.

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