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The Application Performance Monitoring Primer (Part 2 of 3)

Application Management (AM) includes project management, development, testing, quality assurance, release management, application monitoring, and responding to the information supplied by monitors.  Application Performance Monitoring(APM) is application monitoring that is focused on performance rather than security, availability, planning, or some other matter.This article is part two of a primer for those who have never heard about APM.  It is helpful to read part one first.

Five Components of APM

There are five specific dimensions to application performance monitoring:

End-User Experience Monitoring watches the quality of application transactions.  Quality takes the form of performance benchmarks that are defined by the application’s users and the monitoring of those benchmarks.  The thrust here is to identify when quality benchmarks are about to be crossed.

User-Defined Transaction Profiling watches a transaction as it works its way through the application stack and infrastructure services.  It measures how long it spends within each layer or service.  These data help identify the layer or service that is slowing the application down.

Application Component Discovery and Modeling records what software and hardware components are exercised as application transactions are executed.  This is the least mature of the five dimensions.

Application Component Deep-Dive Monitoring is a more-detailed, under-the-covers look within the application.  While the preceding three dimensions provide health portaits, this dimension digs deeply to search out the causes of failing health.

Application Performance Management Database:  While the preceding four dimensions are views of application behaviour, the fifth dimension filters and correlates the mass of acquired data to convert it into usable information.

Where We Stand Today

As with all things new in our industry, there is an initial time of turmoil.  Technology created during this phase is in its infancy and is not expected to be a long-term solution.  Everyone knows that the methodologies, framework, and protocols are subject to change, so some potential customers hold back on their purchases.  Others purchase the new products because the benefits to be gained outweigh the short-term nature of the product.  During this phase, potential customers are getting up to speed on exactly what this new thing is all about.

This is pretty much where we stand today.  However, there are indications that we may be headed for the next phase, which includes awareness by the masses, development of industry-wide standards, and a maturing of the product offerings.  There are already industry leaders, and a number of their products are being used by large companies on multiple continents.

Expect to see more APM articles and seminars from various sources in the near future.  Watch for follow-on releases of existing products and the launch of new products.  Keep your ears open for anecdotal evidence of the benefits achieved by using APM, but don’t expect to see statistical evidence just yet.  Even though we are moving forward, we are a long way from maturity.

The Paid Monitor Advantage

Paid Monitor has been supplying many of these services in a stable environment for years.  Paid Monitor Transaction Monitoring, for example, monitors application transactions and alerts you when any of the various steps in a transaction works slowly or doesn’t work correctly.  This is an example of end-user experience monitoring.

The Paid Monitor Open API offers total flexibility.  You can send any data to a monitor from anywhere within your source code.  You can use these data not only to time individual application transactions, but also to identify the application layers and system services being used by the application transaction.  This allows the development team to effectively implement user-defined transaction profiling; application component discovery and monitoring; and application component deep-dive monitoring, all with just one tool.


The Application Performance Monitoring Primer by Warren Gaebel.  Part One published 2011.12.05 by Paid Monitor at blog.monitor.us/2011/12/the-apm-primer-part-1-of-3.  Accessed 2011.12.05.

Magic Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring.  Published 2010.02.18 by Gartner, Inc. at www.quest.com/Quest_Site_Assets/WhitePapers/Gartner-Magic-Quadrant-for-Application-Performance-Monitoring-from-Quest-Software_1.pdf.  Accessed 2011.12.05.

Paid Monitor Open API.  Published by Paid Monitor at portal.monitor.us/api.  Accessed 2011.12.05.

Paid Monitor Open API Documentation.  Published by Paid Monitor at monitor.us/api/api.html.  Accessed 2011.12.05.

Paid Monitor Transaction Monitoring.  Published by Paid Monitor at portal.monitor.us/index.php/products/transactions-monitoring.  Accessed 2011.12.05.

Try Paid Monitor For Free.  A 15-day free trial.  Your opportunity to see how easy it is to use the Paid Monitor cloud-based monitoring system.  Credit card not required.

The Paid Monitor Exchange at GitHub.  This is the official repository for scripts, plugins, and SDKs that make it a breeze to use the Paid Monitor system to its full potential.

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About Warren Gaebel

Warren wrote his first computer program in 1970 (yes, it was Fortran).  He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Waterloo and his Bachelor of Computer Science degree at the University of Windsor.  After a few years at IBM, he worked on a Master of Mathematics (Computer Science) degree at the University of Waterloo.  He decided to stay home to take care of his newborn son rather than complete that degree.  That decision cost him his career, but he would gladly make the same decision again. Warren is now retired, but he finds it hard to do nothing, so he writes web performance articles for the Monitor.Us blog.  Life is good!