Application Performance Monitoring (APM)
APM helps you maintain a flawless user experience with responsive applications in a dynamic application environment of continuous integration and delivery.
Why monitor your applications’ performance?
Application performance monitoring (APM) is the monitoring and management of performance and availability of software applications. APM aims to detect and diagnose complex application performance problems to provide end users with a high-quality experience and to maintain expected levels of service.
Why InfluxDB for APM?
According to one recent study, every $1 invested in the user experience of your application will result in a return of approximately $100 - in other words, it brings with it a return on investment of about 9,900%. Not only that, but about 39% of users will stop engaging with something if it takes too long to load or if it's generally unpleasant to use. All of this underlines the importance of application performance monitoring quite nicely — even if your application does what you say it can do, people will still be slow to engage with it (if they choose to do so at all) if it's difficult or cumbersome to use.
Meanwhile, you also have to balance this idea with the fast-paced digital economy we now live in — one where complexity is a given and a responsive application is no longer a recommendation, but a requirement. Visibility into your entire application has become critical for enterprises, in order to offer the best experience possible to users.
An outstanding end-user experience is built on a solid time series data foundation. This is because performance indicators show change over time and are more actionable when examined in the context of real-time full-stack monitoring and transaction observation.
Get deep insights for early detection
Gain early detection of anomalies to help anticipate service disruptions. Use this insight to diagnose and identify root-cause quickly, and thus reduce time to remediation and recovery.
Monitor and optimize the user experience
User experience can be monitored by synthetic or real user traffic to keep experiences consistent and optimal, which translates to higher conversion and retention rates.
Automate workflows and provisioning
Intelligent triggers integrated with auto-remediation unload the burden from IT Ops teams, and help them focus on struggling services and potential breakpoints before they impact user experience.
APM implementation approaches
Application performance monitoring can be implemented with various approaches: synthetic transaction monitoring, real user monitoring and distributed tracing. All three approaches try to get to what matters most — keep the user experience great.
Synthetic transaction monitoring (STM)
Synthetic transactions are used to monitor the user experience programmatically via scheduled use cases (emulate user traffic and load). STM is a cost-effective and proactive way to monitor the application and useful during transition periods, upgrades, updates and new functionalities which are the most risky and error-prone situations.
Real user monitoring (RUM)
RUM provides a view from the user perspective. It is important because it reveals the real deal — real users doing what they do. RUM takes into account every contributing factor to the real end-user experience — from latency of services and bandwidth struggles to limitations at the client-interface (e.g. mobile).
Distributed tracing monitoring
In distributed applications, a transaction can cross many boundaries: process, container, host, domain and location. Maintaining performance visibility of causally-related events in transaction execution is necessary to protect critical business workflows. Distributed tracing monitoring enables detection and preemptive remediation of struggles in any part of the execution path. And in the event of an issue, it is an important tool for diagnosing root-cause when degradation or problems arise.
What is APM?
APM monitoring and various application performance monitoring tools can be used to accomplish a wide range of different things, essentially all at the same time. Some application performance monitoring software can be used by businesses to gain better visibility over their own enterprises, always ensuring that everything meets performance standards. These tools can be used to collect and analyze data in a way that helps them identify bugs and potential issues, all in the name of offering superior user experiences via the close and real-time monitoring of all IT resources.
In other situations, application performance monitoring open source tools are used to gain additional insight into applications themselves. They're very useful for development teams to learn more about how people are actually interacting with their software, along with issues they may be experiencing or concerns that might need to be addressed. This insight is then used to unlock the type of insight necessary to make better, more informed decisions.
These types of tools can be used to identify a large number of scenarios such as:
- Figuring out whether or not your applications or other assets are behaving as they should
- Alerting important team members to issues and providing data necessary to get to the source of the problem
- Helping teams understand the impact that these issues might have on their business
- Adapting an application environment to fix similar problems today before they have a chance to repeat themselves tomorrow
In other words, APM monitoring is all about context. If you know not just that something has gone wrong but WHAT went wrong and WHEN, you can work your way back to WHY it happened at all. At that point, you know everything you need to fix it so that you can get right back up and running again.
Who is APM for?
The two main types of industry groups who benefit greatly from application performance monitoring are IT professionals who deal with maintaining the health of large environments and any development team that creates applications for end-users.
For the former group, APM monitoring is an invaluable way to make sure that everything works exactly as it should — in order to guarantee that people have access to the IT resources and larger environment necessary to do their jobs. The latter group uses APM monitoring to help make sure they have A) the best app possible, and B) one that functions exactly as it should with as few issues as possible, to help create engaging user experiences.
In fact, any professional who deals with user experiences in any way can benefit from the type of insight and analysis that the right application performance monitoring tools have to offer.
InfluxDB for application performance monitoring
APM can be performed using InfluxData’s platform InfluxDB. InfluxDB is a purpose-built time series database, real-time analytics engine and visualization pane. It is a central platform where all metrics, events, logs and tracing data can be integrated and centrally monitored. InfluxDB also comes built-in with Flux: a scripting and query language for complex operations across measurements.
Implementations using InfluxDB for application performance monitoring include:
- Optimization of end-user experience and purchase transactions in ecommerce space (Wayfair Case Study, and Web Shop Fly webinar and application performance monitoring blog)
- Online monitoring of transactions in online gambling and gaming platforms (Playtech case study)
- Real-time monitoring of website availability and performance via end-user emulation (xOps solution)
- Observation of cluster backup transactions in cloud environment (InfluxData Site Reliability implementation)
- Root-cause identification to improve network monitoring, APM and visibility (Riverbed)
“Why InfluxDB? For Playtech, it was very important to have observability, to understand system behavior to predict possible outages and problems in the very early stages.”
Technical architect • Playtech
Read case study
“We recently introduced InfluxDB as our first-class time series database system, where we had the opportunity to work directly with InfluxData to ensure we were on a path that is scalable, robust, and in line with the future direction of their platform.”
Engineer • Wayfair
Read case study
Web Shop Fly
Engineering manager • Bonitoo
Read case study
Read more about application monitoring implementations made available by the InfluxDB community:
Telegraf Zipkin plugin: Zipkin tracing data can be collected via Telegraf and sent to InfluxDB.
Jaeger InfluxDB plugin: gRPC client plugin is used to collect tracing data and send it to InfluxDB.
Synthetic transaction monitoring: xSum emulates the user journey through a site or web application, ensuring that transactions take place error-free. All data is stored in InfluxDB.
Load testing: Flood.io is a distributed load testing platform that supports testing with open source tools like JMeter, Gatling, and Selenium. Flood.io’s platform collects and aggregates real-time data from the tests conducted by their customers in InfluxDB Cloud.
DevOps engineers would love to measure the performance and availability of every page of a website or application. It’s easy enough to do technically. Just attach a Synthetic User Monitor to each page and then see the results in an easy-to-use data presentation tool. The snag is that it can be expensive since Synthetic User Monitoring tools usually come as part of a large Application Performance Monitoring package.