- 1. Lumigo — Best for organizations heavily reliant on AWS services
- 2. New Relic — Best for full observability across your entire stack
- 3. Splunk — Best for log monitoring & analysis
- 4. Gatling — Best for scenario recording
- 5. BMC TrueSight — Best for root cause analysis
- 6. Apache JMeter — Best for broad protocol support
- 7. Datadog APM — Best for test collaboration
- 8. Apache Benchmark (ab) — Best for performance benchmarking
- 9. Google Cloud Monitoring — Best for monitoring Google Cloud Platform services & infrastructure
- 10. Microsoft Azure Application Insights — Best for end-to-end application monitoring
As technology advances and businesses become increasingly reliant on digital systems, ensuring optimal application performance has become paramount. The quest for seamless, high-performing software has led to a plethora of application performance management (APM) solutions flooding the market.
In this article, I delve into the realm of APM software to guide you through the maze of options and help them make informed decisions. Whether you're a tech-savvy professional seeking to enhance application performance or an organization striving to deliver an exceptional user experience, our comprehensive analysis will shed light on the best APM tools available, their key features, and how they can address the challenges you face.
What is Application Performance Management Software?
Application performance management (APM) software refers to a suite of tools and solutions designed to monitor, manage, and optimize the performance of software applications. It encompasses a wide range of functionalities that enable organizations to track and analyze key performance metrics, identify bottlenecks and issues, and proactively address them to ensure optimal application performance.
APM software offers features such as real-time monitoring, performance analytics, error detection, code-level diagnostics, user experience monitoring, and resource utilization tracking, among others. By providing deep visibility into application performance, APM software helps businesses improve user satisfaction, enhance productivity, mitigate downtime, and maximize the overall efficiency and reliability of their software systems.
Lumigo is a company that specializes in cloud-native monitoring and observability solutions, specifically designed for applications and services hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Lumigo provides tools and services that help organizations monitor, troubleshoot, and optimize their serverless and microservices applications on AWS.
Why I Picked Lumigo: Lumigo excels as an application performance management software by offering comprehensive observability solutions tailored to serverless and microservices architectures on AWS. It stands out with its ability to provide distributed tracing, error tracking, and performance monitoring, helping organizations quickly pinpoint and resolve issues within their cloud-native applications. With real-time alerts, seamless integration with AWS services, and a focus on cost optimization, Lumigo empowers businesses to ensure the reliability, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of their serverless and microservices deployments, ultimately enhancing the overall performance and user experience of their applications.
Lumigo Standout Features & Integrations
Key features include automated distributed tracing feature goes beyond traditional manual instrumentation. It automatically traces and visualizes the flow of requests and events across AWS services, eliminating the need for developers to add custom code for tracing. This automation streamlines the observability process and reduces the burden on development teams, making it easier to gain insights into complex, serverless architectures.
Integrations include AWS, Gmail, Outlook, Slack, PagerDuty, Microsoft Teams, VictorOps, and OpsGenie.
- Specialization in AWS serverless
- Provides cost optimization insights
- Free for 150K traces and unlimited users
- Some learning curve for users
- Primary focus on AWS may be a limitation for some
New Relic is a robust and comprehensive observability tool that can help you monitor and debug multiple aspects of your stack.
Why I picked New Relic: This software centralizes your security, issues, and bug tracking in one place, helping you keep an eye across all your tools and data sources. You get a complete overview of health insights at every stage of development, and every part of your stack. Its performance tracking capabilities help you spot and diagnose errors and issues swiftly. The platform's AI assistant, 'Grok', can read your telemetry and identify any notable outliers for you. You can ask it questions, and it can not just help you determine a root cause for an issue but also provide you with potential code changes.
New Relic Standout Features & Integrations
Key features include the software's newly-implemented interactive application security testing (IAST) capabilities. The tool helps you spot and fix high-risk errors and vulnerabilities during the development process. By using the tool, you can troubleshoot issues in your code more quickly and ship more secure, well-tested products.
Integrations include over 500 apps including AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Jenkins, CircleCI, Travis CI, and Slack. It also has an API you can use to build custom integrations.
- AI-powered anomaly detection and intelligent alerting
- Wide range of monitoring capabilities
- Integrates seamlessly with popular dev tools
- Has a bit of a learning curve
- Added complexity from reliance on agents installed on application servers
Splunk is a leading application performance management software that specializes in real-time data analytics and monitoring. With its powerful log management, event correlation, and visualization capabilities, Splunk allows organizations to gain valuable insights into their application performance, troubleshoot issues, and make data-driven decisions for improving performance and availability.
Why I Picked Splunk: Splunk is highly effective for application performance management software, particularly in the realm of log monitoring and analysis. Splunk's strength lies in its ability to ingest, index, and analyze vast amounts of log data from various sources. It excels in log monitoring by providing real-time visibility into application logs, enabling users to proactively identify and resolve performance issues. Splunk's robust search and analysis capabilities allow users to perform complex searches, create custom dashboards, and generate insightful reports to gain deep insights into application behavior and performance. Moreover, Splunk's machine learning capabilities enable anomaly detection, pattern recognition, and predictive analysis, facilitating proactive monitoring and alerting for potential performance bottlenecks.
Splunk Standout Features & Integrations
Key features include unparalleled flexibility in data ingestion, allowing users to ingest and index data from a wide range of sources, including logs, metrics, events, and more. Its robust data collection and parsing capabilities enable users to extract valuable insights from structured and unstructured data. Plus, Splunk's ecosystem of apps and integrations is vast, offering a wide variety of pre-built integrations and apps for seamless connectivity with different technologies, platforms, and tools.
Integrations include AWS services, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure services, Kubernetes, Istio, Jaeger, Linkerd, Micrometer, Prometheus, Spring Boot, Telegraf Agent, Zipkin, and other software options in the testing and monitoring space.
- Powerful log monitoring & analysis
- Wide range of integrations
- Rich ecosystem, community support
- Resource-intensive (storage, compute)
- Limited out-of-the-box visualizations
Gatling is a high-performance application performance management software designed for load testing and stress testing. With its powerful scripting capabilities and real-time monitoring features, Gatling allows users to simulate thousands of concurrent users, measure performance metrics, and identify performance bottlenecks, helping organizations ensure the scalability and reliability of their applications.
Why I Picked Gatling: Gatling is a powerful performance testing tool that excels in various areas, including scenario recording. With Gatling, testers can easily record user interactions and generate test scenarios by using the built-in recorder. The scenario recording feature captures HTTP requests and responses, along with user actions, allowing testers to create realistic test scripts without the need for manual scripting. It enables the conversion of user interactions into executable Gatling scripts, saving time and effort in test script creation. Gatling's scenario recording feature provides flexibility, allowing testers to customize and modify the generated scripts as needed, ensuring accurate simulation of user behavior and realistic load testing scenarios.
Gatling Standout Features & Integrations
Key features include built-in support for handling asynchronous requests, such as long polling and web sockets, allowing testers to accurately simulate real-world scenarios where multiple concurrent asynchronous requests are being processed. Gatling also boasts a powerful simulation engine that allows testers to define complex and realistic user scenarios. Its DSL (domain-specific language) provides a concise and expressive syntax for describing user behavior, allowing testers to create sophisticated test scenarios easily.
Integrations include Github Actions, Gitlab CI, Jenkins, Teamcity, and Bamboo. You can build additional connections using the Gatling API.
- Open source & free to use
- Low resource footprint
- Flexible scala-based DSL
- Smaller ecosystem of integrations
- Limited protocol support
BMC TrueSight is an application performance management software that provides comprehensive monitoring and analysis capabilities for complex IT environments. With its advanced analytics, proactive alerting, and deep visibility into applications and infrastructure, TrueSight empowers organizations to optimize application performance, ensure high availability, and deliver superior user experiences.
Why I Picked BMC TrueSight: BMC TrueSight stands out in application performance management software with its strong focus on root cause analysis. TrueSight employs advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms to analyze the vast amount of data collected from various sources, including infrastructure, applications, and user interactions. By correlating and contextualizing this data, TrueSight can identify patterns, anomalies, and potential causes of performance issues. It goes beyond surface-level metrics to delve into the underlying factors impacting application performance. TrueSight's ability to pinpoint the root cause of performance problems enables faster troubleshooting and resolution, minimizing downtime and optimizing application performance.
BMC TrueSight Standout Features & Integrations
Key features include a holistic, multi-domain visibility by collecting and correlating data from diverse sources, including applications, infrastructure, and user experience. This comprehensive view allows organizations to understand the entire application stack and identify performance issues across various layers and components. TrueSight also excels in automation with its intelligent automation capabilities. It leverages machine learning and artificial intelligence to automate routine tasks, such as event correlation, impact analysis, and remediation actions.
Integrations include many Amazon and AWS products and services, all MIcrosoft Azure products, Google Virtual Machine, Google App Engine, Pivotal Cloud Foundry, Docker, Kubernetes, Kafka, Oracle Weblogic, SAP platforms, and other popular testing, monitoring, and database solutions.
- Robust root cause analysis
- Enterprise-grade capabilities
- Comprehensive integration & automation
- Yearly maintenance fees
- Complexity & learning curve
JMeter is a robust and versatile application performance management software widely used for load testing, performance testing, and stress testing applications. With its user-friendly interface and extensive set of features, JMeter allows users to simulate realistic user behavior, generate high loads on applications, and measure their performance under various scenarios.
Why I Picked JMeter: JMeter supports multiple protocols such as HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, JDBC, SOAP, and more, making it compatible with a wide range of applications and systems. JMeter provides powerful reporting and analysis capabilities, enabling users to gather performance metrics, analyze response times, identify bottlenecks, and make informed decisions to optimize application performance. Its scalability, open-source nature, and community support make JMeter an excellent choice for organizations of all sizes seeking to effectively manage and enhance the performance of their applications.
Standout Features & Integrations
Key features include its extensibility and distributed testing capabilities. JMeter provides a highly extensible framework that allows users to customize and extend its functionalities through plugins and scripting. JMeter also supports distributed testing, allowing testers to distribute the load across multiple machines and simulate high user loads more effectively, making it suitable for large-scale performance testing scenarios.
Integrations include Maven, Gradle and Jenkins.
- Open source & free to use
- Broad protocol support
- Robust reporting & analysis
- Limited UI polish
Datadog is a comprehensive application performance management software known for its powerful monitoring and observability capabilities. With its extensive range of integrations, customizable dashboards, and real-time analytics, Datadog enables users to monitor application performance, track key metrics, detect and resolve issues, and gain valuable insights for optimizing application performance and user experience.
Why I Picked Datadog: Datadog excels in application performance management software, particularly in the realm of collaboration tools, due to its comprehensive monitoring and analysis capabilities combined with robust collaboration features. Datadog provides a centralized platform where development, operations, and other teams can collaboratively monitor, analyze, and troubleshoot application performance in real-time. It offers a rich set of visualizations, dashboards, and alerts that enable teams to gain deep insights into their application's performance metrics and identify performance bottlenecks quickly. Moreover, Datadog's collaboration tools allow team members to share dashboards, collaborate on resolving issues, and even set up automated workflows. These features foster cross-functional collaboration and empower teams to work together efficiently, ensuring that application performance management becomes a collaborative effort.
Datadog Standout Features & Integrations
Key features include its vast integration ecosystem, offering out-of-the-box integrations with over 600 technologies and platforms. This extensive coverage allows users to easily collect and correlate data from various sources, including infrastructure, applications, databases, and cloud services. Datadog also leverages advanced machine learning techniques to provide intelligent insights and anomaly detection. Its algorithms analyze historical data to identify abnormal patterns and deviations, enabling proactive identification of performance issues.
Integrations include 600+ out-of-the-box software solutions like Active Directory, Adobe Experience Manager, SAP BusinessObjects, SAP S/4HANA, several Amazon and AWS tools/services, Ansible, Apache, Workday, Microsoft Azure, BigPanda, Campfire, EverSQL, tons of Google software/tools, Jenkins, and hundreds more.
- 600+ out-of-the-box integrations
- Customizable notifications & alerts
- Comprehensive monitoring
- Convoluted pricing schema
- Complexity for beginners
Apache Benchmark, also known as ab, is a lightweight and command-line based application performance management software. It is specifically designed for quick and straightforward load testing, allowing users to send a high volume of concurrent requests to a web server and measure its performance and response times, making it a popular choice for simple performance testing scenarios.
Why I Picked Apache Benchmark: Apache Benchmark (ab) is a command-line tool developed by the Apache Software Foundation that is widely used for performance benchmarking of web servers and applications. It works well for application performance management software due to its simplicity and effectiveness in measuring the performance of a system under different loads. By simulating multiple concurrent requests, ab generates a significant amount of traffic and measures various performance metrics like requests per second, latency, and throughput. This allows developers and system administrators to evaluate the scalability and efficiency of their applications, identify bottlenecks, and make informed decisions for optimizing and fine-tuning their software to deliver optimal performance.
Apache Benchmark Standout Features & Integrations
Key features include a wide array of customizable options, allowing users to tailor their benchmarking tests to specific requirements. Users can define the number of requests, concurrency levels, and even customize HTTP headers, enabling them to simulate real-world scenarios and fine-tune their performance tests to match their unique application environments. This flexibility makes Apache Benchmark a versatile tool that can adapt to a variety of performance benchmarking needs.
Integrations can be built from scratch using the Apache Benchmark open source framework.
- Free to use
- Integration with Apache ecosystem
- Lightweight & efficient
- Single-purpose tool (load testing HTTP servers)
- Limited features & flexibility
Google Cloud Monitoring is a comprehensive application performance management software that provides robust monitoring and observability capabilities for applications running on the Google Cloud Platform. With its scalable architecture, real-time metrics, and powerful dashboards, Google Cloud Monitoring enables users to track performance, detect anomalies, and optimize application performance, ensuring reliable and efficient operations in the cloud environment.
Why I Picked Google Cloud Monitoring: Google Cloud Monitoring is an excellent application performance management software that excels in monitoring Google Cloud Platform (GCP) services and infrastructure. With deep integration into GCP, Google Cloud Monitoring provides comprehensive visibility into the performance and health of GCP resources, including virtual machines, databases, storage, networking, and more. It offers a wide range of pre-configured metrics and dashboards specifically designed for GCP services, enabling users to monitor key performance indicators and track service-level objectives. Google Cloud Monitoring provides real-time alerts, anomaly detection, and powerful data visualization, allowing users to proactively identify and respond to performance issues. Its seamless integration with other Google Cloud services, such as Stackdriver Logging and Error Reporting, further enhances the monitoring capabilities for GCP applications and infrastructure.
Google Cloud Monitoring Standout Features & Integrations
Key features include a vast ecosystem of integrations with other Google Cloud services, including Stackdriver Logging, Error Reporting, and Trace, enabling seamless data correlation and analysis across various components of the application stack. Additionally, Google Cloud Monitoring leverages advanced machine learning algorithms to automatically detect anomalies, predict future trends, and provide intelligent insights into application performance. This powerful machine learning functionality enables proactive monitoring, efficient root cause analysis, and smart alerting.
Integrations include Apache Web Server, Apache ActiveMQ, Apache Airflow, Apache Cassandra, Apache CouchDB, MySQL, Redis, Kubernetes Engine, Active Directory Domain Services, Aerospike, and many others.
- Access to other Google Cloud services increases functionality
- Customizable dashboards & alerts
- Integration with other monitoring tools
- Complexity for non-GCP environments
- Learning curve for advanced features
Microsoft Azure Application Insights is a powerful application performance management software designed for monitoring and analyzing the performance of applications hosted on the Azure platform. With its deep insights, automatic instrumentation, and integration with Azure services, Application Insights enables developers to identify performance bottlenecks, track user behavior, and gain valuable insights to optimize application performance and deliver exceptional user experiences.
Why I Picked Microsoft Azure Application Insights: Microsoft Azure Application Insights is a robust application performance management software that excels in providing end-to-end application monitoring capabilities. Application Insights offers deep visibility into the entire application stack, including the front-end, back-end, and dependencies. It collects and analyzes performance metrics, logs, and telemetry data from various sources, allowing users to track and monitor every aspect of their application's performance. With its powerful monitoring and diagnostics features, Application Insights enables real-time tracking of application health, response times, and availability. It also provides detailed insights into exceptions, dependencies, and performance bottlenecks, allowing developers and operations teams to proactively identify and address issues.
Microsoft Azure Application Insights Standout Features & Integrations
Key features include seamless integration with other Azure services, allowing users to leverage the full potential of the Azure ecosystem. This integration enables enhanced monitoring and diagnostics, as well as the ability to correlate application performance data with other Azure resources, such as virtual machines, databases, and containers. Application Insights also provides powerful analytics capabilities, leveraging machine learning algorithms to analyze vast amounts of telemetry data and provide actionable insights.
Integrations include AIMS AIOps, Alert Logic Log Manager, AppDynamics APM, Atlassian JIRA, BMC Helix, Botmetric, Circonus, CloudHealth, CloudMonix, Datadog, Dynatrace, Elastic, Grafana, InfluxData, LogicMonitor, LogRhythm, Logz.io, and hundreds of other options. Being a popular and well-known tool, most related software will connect in some way to Azure Application Insights.
- Access to other Azure services increase functionality
- End-to-end application monitoring
- Auto-instrumentation, ease of use
- Free credits expire after 30 days
- Limited support for non-Azure environments
Best for organizations heavily reliant on AWS services
Free for 150K traces
|$99/month (paid annually)||Visit Website|
Best for full observability across your entire stack
Free version available
|From $49/user/month||Visit Website|
Best for log monitoring & analysis
14-day free trial
|From $15/host/month||Visit Website|
Best for scenario recording
|Free To Use||Visit Website|
Best for root cause analysis
30-day free trial
|From $80/license + maintenance fees||Visit Website|
Best for broad protocol support
|Free to use||Visit Website|
Best for test collaboration
|From $6/month||Visit Website|
Apache Benchmark (ab)
Best for performance benchmarking
|Free To Use||Visit Website|
Google Cloud Monitoring
Best for monitoring Google Cloud Platform services & infrastructure
First 50 GB/project free
|From $0.50/GB||Visit Website|
Microsoft Azure Application Insights
Best for end-to-end application monitoring
$200 free credits
|From $0.615/GB||Visit Website|
- IBM Cloud APM
Best for enterprise-grade capabilities & scalability
- Riverbed SteelCentral AppResponse
Best for deep packet inspection
- Stackify Retrace
Best for code-level insights
- SolarWinds AppOptics
Best for transaction tracing
Best for application dependency monitoring
Best for detailed issue reports
- ManageEngine Applications Manager
Best for visualizing application service maps
- CA Technologies APM
Best for digital experience (DX) analytics
- Elastic APM
Best for end-to-end distributed tracing
- Apache SkyWalking
Best APM for microservices
Selection Criteria for Application Performance Management Software
Perhaps you're wondering how I selected the best application performance management software for this list. To build this top 10 list, I evaluated and compared a wide range of application performance management software with positive user ratings. After determining a long list of top choices, I further honed down the list by using the selection criteria below to see how each platform stacked up against the next one. I also drew on my years of QA experience to pinpoint the features that add significant user value.
Here’s a short summary of the main selection and evaluation criteria I used to develop my list of the best application performance management software for this article.
APM software typically includes various features and capabilities to monitor and optimize the performance of applications. While the specific functionalities may vary depending on the software provider and the needs of the application, here are the core functions that must be covered to be considered for inclusion on this list.
- Provide comprehensive monitoring of the application's performance, including tracking various metrics such as response time, latency, throughput, error rates, CPU and memory utilization, network traffic, and database performance.
- Offer diagnostic capabilities to troubleshoot and analyze the root causes of performance problems, providing detailed insights into the application's internal behavior, code execution, and dependencies.
Application performance management (APM) software typically offers a range of features to monitor, analyze, and optimize the performance of applications. While the specific feature set may vary across different APM solutions, some key features commonly found in APM software include:
- Application Monitoring: Real-time monitoring of application performance metrics such as response time, latency, throughput, error rates, CPU and memory utilization, network traffic, and database performance. This feature enables administrators to track the overall health and performance of the application.
- Real User Monitoring: The ability to track and monitor real users as they interact with your application, looking for pain points, errors, conversion drops, or UI frustrations. Real world data is critical to understanding your target users, what they need, and what issues they face.
- Transaction Tracing: The ability to trace and analyze individual transactions or requests as they traverse through the various components and layers of the application stack. Transaction tracing helps identify performance bottlenecks and understand the flow of execution, making it easier to pinpoint issues and optimize performance.
- Code-level Diagnostics: APM software often provides visibility into the application's code execution, allowing developers to identify performance issues at the code level. This may include features like code profiling, which measures the execution time of different code segments, and identifies hotspots or areas of inefficiency.
- Error and Exception Monitoring: The capability to capture and analyze application errors, exceptions, and log messages. This helps in identifying and resolving issues that impact the application's stability and performance.
- User Experience Monitoring: Monitoring and tracking user interactions and experiences with the application. This includes metrics such as page load times, user session information, click paths, and conversion rates. User experience monitoring helps identify performance issues from the user's perspective and optimize the application's usability.
- Database Monitoring: Monitoring and analysis of database performance metrics such as query execution time, database response times, and resource utilization. This feature helps identify and optimize database-related performance bottlenecks.
- Alerting and Notification: The ability to configure custom alerts and notifications based on predefined thresholds or conditions. This ensures that administrators and developers are promptly notified of any performance degradation or anomalies in the application's behavior.
- Reporting and Analytics: APM software often provides reporting capabilities to generate performance reports, trend analysis, and insights into application performance over time. Advanced analytics features may include anomaly detection, root cause analysis, and predictive analysis.
- Scalability and Distributed Architecture: APM solutions should be capable of monitoring and managing applications deployed in complex, distributed environments such as microservices architectures or cloud-based deployments. This includes support for scalability, auto-discovery of application components, and the ability to handle large volumes of monitoring data.
Usability is crucial when selecting APM software because it determines how effectively and efficiently users can leverage the tool's features and functionality. A user-friendly interface and intuitive navigation make it easier for administrators, developers, and other stakeholders to monitor and analyze application performance without extensive training or technical expertise. For example, a clear dashboard with visualizations and easy-to-understand metrics allows users to quickly identify performance issues and take appropriate action. I also consider compatibility with multiple programming and scripting languages (Python, Java, Ruby, PHP) to be a usability win.
Software integrations are vital when selecting APM software because they allow seamless connectivity with other tools and systems within the application ecosystem. Integrations enable organizations to gather comprehensive data from various sources, providing a holistic view of application performance. For instance, integrating APM software with popular logging platforms like Splunk or ELK allows correlation of performance metrics with detailed log data, facilitating efficient troubleshooting and root cause analysis. Integration with collaboration tools like Slack or Jira enables streamlined communication and issue tracking between teams, enhancing collaboration and problem resolution. Furthermore, integrations with cloud platforms like AWS or Azure enable monitoring of application performance in dynamic and scalable cloud environments.
Automations are crucial when selecting APM software because they streamline processes, reduce manual effort, and enable proactive management of application performance. Automated tasks and workflows help save time and resources while ensuring continuous monitoring and optimization. For example, automated alerting can notify administrators or developers instantly when performance thresholds are breached, enabling prompt action. Automated baselining and anomaly detection can identify performance deviations automatically, reducing the need for manual monitoring. Additionally, automated scaling and provisioning of resources based on performance metrics ensure efficient resource allocation in dynamic environments, such as cloud-based applications.
How much does APM software cost?
What is APM in SAAS?
What is an example of application performance management?
What are the benefits of APM software?
Other Application Testing Reviews
If you’re looking for APM software, you might also benefit from checking out these other articles:
- Performance Testing Software
- Web Application Testing
- Mobile Application Testing Tools
- Web Application Penetration Testing Tools
- Static Application Security Testing Tools (SAST)
Selecting the best application performance monitoring tools is a critical decision for organizations aiming to optimize their application performance with the end-user experience in mind. Through our comprehensive comparison and review of top APM solutions, it is evident that each software offers unique features and strengths to address specific needs.
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