To find the best Application Performance Management (APM) solution for your business, you first need to know the right questions to ask about an APM tool. A lot of solutions offer various functionalities and features, but only a few can give the benefits your company needs. Asking the right questions of your solution vendors will help you determine the right application performance management tools for your business. 

What Is APM and Why Is It Important?

Gartner defines application performance management as one or more software and hardware components that facilitate monitoring. APM should meet five main functional dimensions:

  1. End-user experience monitoring
  2. Runtime application architecture discovery modeling and display 
  3. User-defined transaction profiling
  4. Component deep-dive monitoring in an application context
  5. Analytics

questions to ask about an apm toolIn short, APM comprises the tools and solutions used to analyze and track a software application’s performance, as well as to alert the system administrator or other stakeholders of any problematic performance issues. Sometimes the term is used interchangeably with application performance “monitoring.” Either way, performance management tools help IT professionals discover the root causes of infrastructure or application issues.

At their best, APM tools and solutions ensure business growth and continuity while providing a better customer experience. Research by the Aberdeen Group reveals that even a 1-second delay in performance can lead to no less than a seven percent dip in conversion rate. This affects not only immediate revenue but customer response and satisfaction as well. Poor app performance can also reduce employee satisfaction and productivity.


Questions to Ask about an APM Tool: Evaluation and Selection

Before you commit to an APM solution from any vendor, here are some important issues to consider:

  • Can the solution correlate the applications to the infrastructure, from node-level to application-level, and show you the root cause of a performance problem?
  • Can the solution instrument everything on your big data platform?
  • Can the solution collect sufficient granular real-time metrics on jobs and tasks, including CPU, RAM, disk I/O, and network usage to help you isolate and identify problems?
  • Can the solution continuously collect real-time data from applications and platform resources (history servers, resource managers, etc.)?
  • Can the solution scale to support your organization as it grows to hundreds or thousands of nodes?
  • Can the solution help you automatically optimize resource capacity to help you meet your SLAs?
  • Can the solution provide you with queue-level information and help your workload better fit the cluster?
  • Can the solution be applied in complex, multi-tenant cluster environments?
  • Can the solution help you get more out of your investment?

These are just some of the questions to ask about an APM tool when it comes to evaluation and selection. 

Why Should an Effective APM Tool Also Deal with Infrastructure?

Many enterprises maintain separate Infrastructure Performance Management (IPM) and APM services to monitor and manage performance issues for individual vendors, technology, or domains. However, siloed APM and IPM systems are problematic. They discourage collaboration and complicate efforts to correlate and analyze IT performance data and application performance data.

Assuming an application’s code is working properly, the performance of the application ultimately depends on physical infrastructure. In distributed computing environments, shared physical resources (CPU, memory, storage, and networking) support virtual machines (VMs), and those resources may become overcommitted—especially during peak usage times. For example, a VM may be under-provisioned because it is configured with inadequate memory, a situation similar to that of an application running on a physical server with inadequate memory. One impact of this is constant memory swapping, which can slow application performance.

The most efficient approach is a converged solution that blends APM and IPM within a unified big data performance platform. This provides IT professionals with comprehensive visibility of their platform and any issues impacting their services, and it enables them to be more proactive with infrastructure and application issues, rather than being reactive. This approach not only delivers greater user satisfaction and productivity, but is also more scalable. 

Why You Should Choose the Pepperdata Performance Management Solution

A true big data performance management solution must be able to determine (a) how applications are impacting infrastructure performance and (b) how the infrastructure is impacting application performance. Without tight integration of APM and IPM, it’s not possible to meaningfully correlate the two. 

Unlike fragmented and limited approaches to managing big data performance, Pepperdata provides a unified solution that combines APM and IPM into a single, comprehensive platform. 

Pepperdata not only helps optimize applications but also helps your operators understand what’s happening across the system. Driven by AI and machine learning, the Pepperdata unified IPM and APM solution automatically detects performance roadblocks. Moreover, the Pepperdata platform continuously learns, identifies, and addresses abnormalities in infrastructure and application behavior by adjusting policies to account for changes in usage and performance.

Additionally, Pepperdata big data performance management solutions can provide IT with answers to important APM-related questions like:

  • What application is blowing up our cluster right now?
  • What applications are reading/writing small files?
  • What drives are about to die?
  • Which application just flooded HDFS and is hammering the NameNode?
  • Who are my most expensive users?

As a result, most Pepperdata users see a 30-50% throughput increase without any code or configuration changes. This means they get up to 50% more compute power without purchasing additional hardware.

Request a free trial now, and learn more about how Pepperdata can help you achieve more uptime and better performance.

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