Application performance, which may also be referred to as application performance management (APM), involves the monitoring and management of software applications for electronic devices. The goal of APM is to identify complex problems in the performance of applications in order to improve the overall user experience.
In information technology (IT) terms, APM is about ensuring that an app meets certain standards of functionality. In business terms, it’s a method of ensuring that the product is of value to the user. It’s common for developers of web and mobile applications to use APM techniques.
How is application performance measured?
IT teams develop a set of metrics to assess app performance. There are two general types of performance metrics, both of which define how the app should be experienced by its potential users. These include:
- Average response times under peak load. This set of metrics refers to the maximum volume of actions that can be processed by the application. It is measured in transactions per second, requests per second, or pages per second, among other rates per second. It is important to test this metric it is otherwise unlikely that programmers will catch performance problems without simulating peak load conditions.
- Computational resources used. This set of metrics involves testing the resources used by the application for the load, whether there is enough capacity to support the load, and whether any potential performance bottlenecks exist in the process. These metrics allow programmers to develop the application’s baseline performance, which may then be used to identify fluctuations in performance that may be caused by external events.
It has become increasingly difficult to manage applications that utilize multi-tier, multi-element, distributed constructs that rely on application development frameworks, particularly .NET and Java. Conceptual frameworks have been designed to streamline the approach by prioritizing certain dimensions of APM. In particular, in APM Conceptual Framework, there are five main areas of focus. Areas of focus that are high-priority are known as primary dimensions, while lower-priority areas of focus are secondary dimensions.
Primary dimensions in an APM conceptual framework:
- End user experience. User experience management (UEM) is an important area of focus of APM. This category encompasses how human beings interact with an application and any services it may encompass.
- Business transaction. This monitoring area refers to the business and profit-monitoring side of an application. In particular, it involves metrics which identify how successful the application is in driving transactions.
- Analytics/reporting. Using a common set of metrics to gather and report data for an application is of the utmost importance. If not, it is impossible to compare an application’s data to other data sets. Using the APM model allows all application management professionals to compare performance.
Secondary dimensions in an APM conceptual framework:
- Runtime application architecture. This process allows programmers and testers to map and automate transaction and application processes.
- Deep dive component monitoring (DCCM). This process targets middleware space, including messaging servers and web applications. It is closely related to runtime application architecture.