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If you have ever been responsible for an application and still you were the last to know about an outage, you are not alone. This used to happen more often than you would imagine. Luckily, those days are over thanks to application monitoring tools.
Software applications are now more complex and dynamic than ever before, even their formats have changed from standalone to cloud-based solutions or mobile. The last two have also changed the way in which applications are used by the end-user, making them available anytime and anywhere, on any device.
This means that application performance monitoring has moved beyond the application development phase, where it was just used to check that the application met a specific set of requirements at the time of deployment. Now, real-time monitoring on native devices across the world is necessary if you want to avoid irritated customers and angry bosses.
Application performance monitoring is a process that ensures that a software application is performing all its processes as expected. This is done by identifying, measuring, and evaluating its performance and then providing the necessary information to isolate and resolve any abnormalities.
This monitoring process is enabled through an application performance monitoring or management (APM) software. As defined by Wikipedia:
Application performance management (APM) is the monitoring and management of performance and availability of software applications. The purpose of APM is to detect and diagnose complex application performance problems to maintain an expected level of service. APM is the translation of IT metrics into business meaning or value.
Therefore, in order to have successful application performance monitoring, and management, you have to focus on the 4 Ws: what, when, where, and why. Not only it is necessary to track an application’s performance but also identify when and where along the journey an abnormality was found and why it happened. That is the reason why reporting is key in monitoring an application’s performance and overall back-end health. Some of the most common metrics to track are:
If you want to learn how to automate transaction time using automated stopwatches, read this article: Automated Performance Testing: Using Stopwatches in Test Automation
There are different methods and techniques for monitoring software. The most common three are technical monitoring, functional monitoring, and business process monitoring. They follow a hierarchical structure, meaning that if all business processes are performing as expected, we can assume that there are no functional or technical abnormalities. On the other hand, if we find a technical abnormality, it is an indication of a low-impact problem.
Application performance monitoring has now become an integral part of any company’s day-to-day operations. Why? Because you don’t want to annoy or lose any customer with an outage.
Every company that owns or makes use of an application that’s important to their cashflow, wants their software to respond to requests as accurately and quickly as possible. And the only way of ensuring that is by monitoring that application 24/7.
You should think of a software application like a human being. There are a million ways in which an application can become unhealthy. Not only they can have major outages, but also partial outages or even intermittent performance problems.
On top of that, an application can respond to all requests correctly but do so in an extremely slow manner. Therefore, just like human beings, they require constant, intelligent monitoring to ensure they stay healthy.
APM tools work just like a human’s brain would. They continuously monitor performance and send alerts whenever an abnormality has been found. This way, decision-makers can rely on this data to make well-grounded decisions that will make or break a company’s business performance.
Now that we understand how complex and unique each application can be, these are three of the most important reasons why application performance monitoring is essential for an application’s health:
Nowadays applications are accessed from different platforms such as desktop, web, phones, or tablets. At the same time, these platforms are comprised of different software platforms, operating systems, and security setups. Therefore, real-time monitoring is essential to ensure that the application is performing as intended in all these different platforms.
Any disruption to business processes can cost an organization money. Therefore, business continuity is highly is dependent on application performance. As mentioned before, APM data serves as the basis for real-time analysis of a business’s operations.
Users have a set of expectations when using certain applications and, just like in any other business, you want to understand your customers so that you can keep them happy. Keeping a close eye on key metrics will give you a better overview of your business’s user satisfaction.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where hackers are lurking at every corner, waiting for the right time to attack. By monitoring your applications, you can identify any unwelcome intrusions and promptly act upon them.
If you want to learn how to do application performance monitoring, and which best practices to follow, read our article: How to do Application Performance Monitoring: Best Practices
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