Do you know what is the role of APM in keeping apps active? Applications are the lifeblood of any business. However, they’re only as good as their ability to keep running and effectively serve end-users and the business.

Downtime, application failures, and the associated scrambling around for a solution are never good. They cost businesses money. Modern Application Performance Management (APM) and observability platforms enable enterprises to get on the front foot, fix problems before they impact customers and the business, and prioritise actions based on the business impact.

What is Application Performance Management?

The best way to answer the question on the role of APM in keeping apps active is to start with the definition. APM is a set of tools that allow you to observe and manage all your applications and their environments, particularly the delivered user experiences and the business outcomes. It identifies the root cause of issues and quickly resolves them via automated or manual responses. APM basically speeds up the time of responding to an application issue that needs attention. If done well, the end-user might not even notice there was an issue in the first place.

Still, what is the role of APM in keeping apps active, you may ask? Most APM solutions allow you to observe the front-end, back-end and infrastructure performance of your application.

  • Front-end monitoring puts you in the shoes of the end-user and shows you how they are experiencing the application.
  • Back-end monitoring shows the performance of the services running in your data centres and cloud deployments and keeps them working properly. Both include code-level visibility and the performance of middleware or third-party services integrated into the application.
  • Lastly, infrastructure monitoring involves observing the servers, databases, network, and cloud services that the app is using.

All these APM aspects are important and have to be understood in a wider context for full efficiency. After all, every business is different so the tolerances and expectations will vary a lot. The magic of APM really kicks in when the tool maps the technology stacks needed for proper operation.

Once the system has created a normalcy reference we like to call baseline, it can then determine when an application is deviating from it. When an issue is identified, the tool bundles the necessary information into a digestible format and alerts you to the problem. Take as an example the checkout stage of an ecommerce website that has an average response time four times slower than the set baseline. With APM, IT can quickly explore and address the causes of this delay to remediate the issue quickly, before it affects too many end users and risks shoppers abandoning their cart.

AI enabling proactivity

APM is improving and evolving all the time – traditional software that focuses solely on the manual resolution of issues is on the way out. The volume of data in IT ecosystems is ballooning. Even with real-time insights, IT teams will still struggle without the means of automating the process of finding and understanding the right telemetry data. The sheer quantity of alerts can make discerning the important information from the noise almost impossible, without the tools to highlight priorities and automatically resolve issues where possible.

Artificial intelligence for IT operations, or AIOps, has emerged as a technology that relieves the pressure on IT teams to manually manage systems. Its core elements consist of machine learning, performance baselining, anomaly detection and automated root cause analysis. With an AIOps platform, you have a comprehensive framework you can use to integrate complementary technologies with the APM solution.

AIOps empowers IT teams to solve the right problems, at the right time. For example, if your cloud-based application has been configured well, you could automate the addition of servers to your infrastructure in case your applications lack enough compute, storage or network tiers. This ecosystem benefits the APM customer by giving them both visibility and control across the entire IT landscape and its outcomes. 

Boosting innovation

There’s a couple of things you should keep in mind, though. A single application could have many issues happening at the same time, and you can almost never tackle all of them at once. Prioritising so many alerts can be a nightmare. In this case, more advanced APM solutions are needed because they can link application performance with business and user metrics. This allows organisations to see which issues are impacting the business the most and put them at the top of their to-do list. Observability solutions that correlate technology performance with business outcomes will become increasingly important to modern enterprise organisations.

APM makes sense from a financial perspective as well because you can reduce operational expenses and prevent revenue loss. It also keeps the end user fully connected and designs a smoother customer journey. Even more important, APM reduces the need to use precious developer and ITOps hours on solving problems by providing them with the real-time information they need to prioritise tasks and take action.

Finally, the role of APM in keeping apps active is crucial but businesses should be rigorous in selecting the right platform. A system that only offers manual solutions is short-sighted. AIOps based management delivers deeper automation to handle high volumes across technology stacks. It also sorts out priorities according to business and user impact to help teams focus on the most pressing issues at hand. To draw a conclusion, pursuing the route that best utilises AI and machine learning will deliver results quickly and put IT teams in the best possible position to innovate.

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