Every aspect of our modern lives is influenced by technology, and we spend a large portion of our lives using various devices and looking at various screens. From the computers we use for work and school to the televisions and monitors we use for entertainment to the smartphones that are involved in nearly every part of our lives, we depend on these screens and the advanced technology that works behind the scenes to ensure they function properly.
Behind the Screens
Behind the screens we see, there are countless processes and functions, moving at unimaginable speeds that determine the elements we see. The average consumer is obviously somewhat familiar with the basic concepts of computer software and applications, but few of us have a full understanding of all that goes into ensuring our digital systems continue to flow and functions properly.
Even beyond our everyday consumer goods, there are governments, corporations and entire economies that depend on the proper functioning of software and systems to avoid complete global chaos. While that may seem like a bit of a dramatic overstatement, it really is not far from the truth. If certain systems-- dependent on certain applications-- were to fail, the major social systems we depend on could be interrupted.
Of course, there are countless safeguards to keep this kind of interruption from occurring, but it is important to understand how crucial application monitoring and management can be to nearly every aspect of our daily lives and the systems we rely on to keep us safe and happy.
Application Performance Management
Application performance management (APM) is a specific subfield within the overall IT fields that is designed to ensure these applications behind the screens continue to function properly. It is geared at monitoring application performance, identifying problems and providing the tools necessary for developers and other IT professionals to understand and remedy the problems. The acronym APM has also been used to mean application performance monitoring and application performance maintenance, but these all mean essentially the same thing.
APM is not only crucial to the proper functioning of software and applications that are already in use, it may be even more important during the development of these applications. Developers need to be able to monitor the advanced workings and data of certain applications in development in order to fix any bugs, ensure proper functionality and improve the performance of applications and software before they enter the market. To do this, they utilize APM software.
Effective APM software should collect analytical data on a number of levels and compile said data into easily consumable formats. The most important data developers and IT specialists need from APM software includes performance, availability and user experience, as well as in-depth analysis of each. This often includes statistics such as:
- Individual web request and transaction performance
- Application dependency usage including databases, web services, caching and others
- CPU, memory and other basic server metrics
- Application framework metrics
- Custom metrics as set by the business or the developer
- Application log data
- Application error information
Additionally, the software should also include the necessary tools to identify, isolate and resolve the problems or potential issues. After all, the data itself is only so helpful if developers, designers, specialists and managers are provided with the tools and processes needed to repair the issues and improve the performance, based on that data.
Choosing APM Software
There are a number of options for APM software, depending on the specific needs and the budget of the developer or the company. Software may be deployed on-sight, but much like other business software these days, SaaS is becoming an increasingly popular option.
There are also several other factors which must be considered before purchasing APM software. But luckily application management has become somewhat of a booming industry in recent years, and there will be no shortage of options to fit any budget, need or application.