Updated February 19, 2020
Top Application Performance Monitoring Tools

APM Trends in 2020

Evolving beyond website monitoring, Application Performance Monitoring (APM) extends beyond uptime and performance checks to include visibility into the code level performance of the application. By correlating internal and external performance monitoring data, APM tools are able to show where something went wrong and provide further insights as to why the issue occurred. This has many benefits for modern DevOps environments, namely reduced overhead, inter-departmental synchronization, reduced Mean Time to Repair (MTTR), and an enhanced digital experience (DX) for users.

Here are the Top 16 APM Tools of 2020

1. New Relic: Digital Performance Monitoring and Management

New RelicNew Relic is a powerhouse in the application performance monitoring space. From their inception in 2008, they began as a Rails performance tool, visualizing data layer by layer in the application stack. From there they expanded to target Java, Ruby and JRuby applications, offering on-demand Application Performance Management (APM) in a SaaS based tool. Within a few short months they had thousands of companies utilizing the tool, venture capital funding increased, and the company began to expand.

Dev rollouts included the addition of RUM, App Performance, and Server Monitoring. Soon New Relic boasted tens of thousands of clients, growing the market through awareness campaigns like “A Developer’s Best Friend” and the successful “Nerd Life” marketing campaign. These marketing and brand awareness campaigns were primarily driven by an early 2013 capital raise of $80 million, which brought their valuation to $750 million. New Relic leveraged these funds to launch their software analytics packages for mobile, just as Google began pushing a “mobile first” campaign. The timing worked impeccably, and a year later New Relic raised another $100 million, fueling development growth that lead to the company going public in December 2014 on the NYSE (ticker: NEWR).

Today New Relic has a full suite of application monitoring tools, providing “Real-time analytics and full-stack visibility at cloud scale.” If you’re looking for comprehensive visibility into your entire digital ecosystem, and to couple that with applied analytics driven intelligence, look no further than New Relic.

There are more powerful, robust and enterprise focused APM providers mentioned on this list, however New Relic has the broadest appeal, from webmasters and small business owners to enterprise multi-national corporations, their slick interface and accessible platform delivers to a wide range of needs, garnering them the #1 APM tool ranking for 2020 in this list.

2. AppDynamics: Application Performance Monitoring & Management

AppDynamicsBased in San Francisco, AppDynamics provides automated cross-stack intelligence for BI and APM applications. Founded in 2008, AppDynamics has received funding of $206,500,000 across five rounds. The company was acquired by Cisco in 2017 for $3,700,000,000 and is currently operated within Cisco’s IoT and Applications division.

AppDynamics has been named a leader for APM Suites for 6-years running, in the Gartner Magic Quadrant analyst report. In 2016, they were named to the Forbes World’s Best 100 Cloud Companies List, making the cut for the top 10 global cloud firms.

The AppDynamics platform is comprised of 4 product suites, including Application Performance, End User Monitoring, Infrastructure Visibility, and Business Performance. Their Application Performance Management solution delivers some powerful features, including:

  • Application mapping: discover, map and visualize customer journey through your application.
  • Dynamic baselining: utilizes machine learning to baseline performance, then alerts users via integrations with ServiceNow, PagerDuty, Jira and others.
  • Code-level diagnostics: quickly identify root-cause from individual element levels.
  • Application performance: visualize how application performance impacts end-users.

When coupled with the AppDynamics Business Performance Monitoring platform, the APM product truly becomes an application performance management (vs just monitoring) resource for your organization.

Beyond the seamless functionality and enterprise feature sets of their software, AppDynamics’ growth is organic, based on their proprietary APM platform (whereas Dynatrace, below, has seen much of their growth via acquisition of both users and technologies). Not only is organic growth the recipe for success in the tech world, but it is also a sign of company health and forecasted longevity of the brand and their platform.

3. Dynatrace (Compuware APM): Software Intelligence for the Enterprise Cloud

Dynatrace

Dynatrace provides intelligence into the performance of an application’s infrastructure, the end-user experience, the functionality of the app itself.

Like AppDynamics, Dynatrace has been consistently named as a leader in the Gartner APM Magic Quadrant. Dynatrace, however, has obtained much of their growth via acquisition of large APM players such as Gomez, Adlex, and Proxima Technology’s Centauri Business Service Manager. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as today’s fast-pasted software world is a ruthless battle for brand space and user market share. Through these acquisitions Dynatrace has been able to leapfrog many of its legacy competitors, beholding technology that would have otherwise taken years to produce.

The APM platform is very user-centric, with actionable insights to optimize each user’s journey through the application. The system moves from APM monitoring to management with visualization of application topology, with AI issue detection, event cause analysis, and code-level diagnostics.

The Dynatrace AI is extremely powerful, and perhaps the most notable feature-set of the APM platform. Dynatrace causation-based AI engine dissects terabytes of data upon error detection, providing detailed insights into application issues with root cause analysis within seconds. The reporting system outlines dependencies, event sequences, and more – determining the true causality of a problem, not just the element detail erroring in the code. This greatly increases the efficiency of dev and IT teams, decreases MTTR, and ultimately maintains a qualify user-experience for the application’s end-users.

4. BMC Software APM

BMC Software APM

BMC TrueSight APM is a suite that consists of three solutions – TrueSight AppVisibility, TrueSight Operations, and TrueSight Capacity – to help monitor, detect, and manage the health and performance of diverse application architectures.

BMC’s advanced APM solutions utilize artificial intelligence targeting towards IT Operations (called AIOps) which automatically detects root causes, prioritizes events and notifications, and uses dynamic behavioral learning to empower your IT team in it’s application stack monitoring and maintenance. End-User experience monitoring is captured and correlated to UX simulations to provide deep diagnostics on application performance under both peak usage scenarios and during normal operation.

Key Features:

  • Easy and quick deployment
  • Application-centric infrastructure monitoring
  • Simulate user behavior using synthetic transactions
  • Gain real-time visibility into end user transactions
  • Pinpoint source of problems by mapping app topology

5. Dotcom-Monitor

Dotcom-MonitorFounded in 1998, Dotcom-Monitor’s flagship website and web application monitoring solution allows you to simulate a customer’s journey by recording the browser actions (cursor movements, navigating, typing, shopping cart, etc.) of a typical user as “steps” moving within a site or web application using the EveryStep Web Recorder.

The EveryStep Web Recorder supports a wide range of RIA (Rich Internet Application) technologies, including AJAX, Flash, Flex, HTML5, Java, QuickTime, Ruby, Silverlight, and Windows Media Player.  The recorded scripts can then be re-run by each agent to ensure that content, page layout, and applications meet functionality, performance, and content standards.  Dotcom-Monitor offers the following monitoring solutions:

  1. Web Services Monitoring: Monitors web services such as SOAP, GET/POST, TCP, ICMP, and SSL certificates for uptime, performance and functionality.
  2. Web Page Monitoring:Monitor single page load times at an element level using real browsers from data centers around the world to gain valuable end user insights.
  3. Web Application Monitoring:Script and monitor multi-step web transactions, such as shopping carts, portals, and logins for performance, functionality, and accessibility from around the globe.
  4. Infrastructure Monitoring:Full end-to-end monitoring for total visibility into IT infrastructure health. Includes media streaming, FTP servers, DNS, SMTP and POP3/IMAP4 email servers, VoIP, and network protocols and ports.
  5. Performance Counter Monitoring: Monitor memory, disk utilization, and bandwidth through Linux, Windows, and custom performance counters across multiple locations.

Dotcom-Monitor Key features:

  • Monitoring network of nearly 30 global locations
  • Simulate over 40 desktop/mobile browsers and devices
  • Chrome, Internet Explorer, and mobile device playback
  • Private Agents, monitor from behind the firewall
  • Network throttling
  • Real-time dashboards and reports
  • API Testing
  • Configurable alerts
  • Integration with popular third-party tools
  • 24×7 support

6. Solarwinds Application Performance Monitor

Solarwinds Application Performance Monitor

SolarWinds provides tools and technology that helps IT manage their infrastructure.  Through their AppOptics platform, this APM tool allows for monitoring across the stack, providing insight to into various application performance dynamics over historical releases.  The AppOptics solution supports cloud and hybrid environments and provides monitoring and visibility into infrastructure and applications, along with supporting metrics and analytics.

AppOptics Key Features:

  • Supports many popular frameworks and languages (Java, .NET, Python, PHP, Ruby, etc.)
  • 150+ integrations and plugins (AWS, Apache, MongoDB, NGINX, MySQL, etc.)
  • Live dashboards and customizable alerts
  • View behavior of individual requests in real-time
  • Collect and correlate custom metrics (cURL commands, open-source agents)
  • Implement trace methods during production
  • Identify and remedy bottlenecks within applications

7. Radware

Radware

Application Performance Monitoring (APM) from Radware detects application performance issues before your customer does.  APM is an end-to-end monitoring solution that assures full application SLA, providing complete visibility into app performance, allowing you to proactively maintain application performance, protect SLAs with real-time error detection, and track real user transactions and response time.

Radware Key Features:

  • Complete visibility of web application performance
  • Fast, real-time root cause analysis
  • Monitor actual transactions and real user traffic
  • No dedicated scripts per web application, lowering costs
  • SLA’s can be drilled down to the geo-location level
  • No scripting or complex agent integration required

8. Oracle Enterprise Manager

Oracle Enterprise ManagerOracle’s management platform, Oracle Enterprise Manager, provides a single view into a customer’s Oracle environments, whether in the data center or cloud. The platform consists of three agents – Cloud Control Console, Oracle Management Service, and Oracle Management Agents.

Oracle Enterprise Manager Key Features:

  • More secure and scalable management with the support for TLS1.2 and IPv6 protocols.
  • Support for Exadata X6-2 and X6-8, Oracle VM 3.4, ASR integration and out-of-box Solaris compliance checks.
  • Improved hybrid cloud management with automated service discovery of public cloud (DBCS and JCS)
  • Support for Fusion Middleware 12.2.x in JCS and SOACS environments

9. Catchpoint

Catchpoint

Catchpoint gives you visibility into your end-user’s experience from where they connect to your business.  Monitor and manage every aspect of your customer’s experience – every interaction, network, app, and infrastructure part.

Catchpoint Key Features:

  • Correlate synthetic insights with real user impacts and business metrics
  • Monitor apps, network, infrastructure, API’s, and real users
  • Analyze performance issues across the Internet and inside your enterprise
  • Scale On-Demand
  • Integrate Catchpoint performance monitoring data with your APM or other tools

10. Datadog

Datadog

Datadog APM, offered as an upgrade to their Pro and Enterprise plans, provides insight into an application’s performance. From automatically generated dashboards to detailed traces of individual requests, you have visibility to every layer of your stack.

Datadog APM Key Features:

  • Trace end-to-end requests from across distributed systems
  • Track app performance with auto-generated service overviews
  • Graph and alert on error rates or latency percentiles
  • Instrument your code using open source tracing libraries

11. Broadcom DX Application Performance Management (formerly CA Application Performance Management or CA APM)

Broadcom DX Application-Performance ManagementBroadcom’s DX Application Performance Management software helps teams discover and repair issues across various environments and applications.  Offering analytics-driven insights, DX APM delivers app experiences where every transaction becomes a loyalty-building transaction, differentiating your business and allowing your experts to focus only on impactful issues.

DX APM Key Features:

  • Provides intuitive root cause analysis workflows based on analytics
  • Simplify complex app topologies through task-relevant views
  • Easily locate where performance problems originate
  • Quickly recognize and understand the most critical problems
  • Mobile-to-mainframe APM gives you full insight into your apps
  • Digital Experience Insights delivers APM as a SaaS-based monitoring and analytics solution
  • Collect deep transaction traces when a problem occurs

12. Stackify Retrace

Stackify Retrace

Retrace helps improve application quality and performance at every stage of development.  Quickly identify which part of your application stack is the bottleneck and which web requests are being affected.  Retrace takes it to a new level by combining your logs with lightweight code profiling.

Retrace Key Features:

  • App performance monitoring
  • Code profiling
  • Error tracking
  • Centralized logging
  • App and server metrics

13. ManageEngine Applications Manager

ManageEngine Applications Manager

ManageEngine Applications Manager is an application performance management solution that proactively monitors business applications and helps businesses ensure their revenue-critical applications meet end user expectations. Applications Manager offers out-of-the-box monitoring support for 100+ applications and servers.

ManageEngine Key Features:

    • Application Discovery and Dependency Mapping (ADDM)
    • Fault management with root cause analysis
    • SLA management
    • REST APIs
    • World map business view
    • Flexible view of your IT resources
    • Anomaly detection
  • APM for mobile/Windows mobile client
  • Multi-user access

14. Quest Foglight

Quest FoglightMonitor, optimize, manage and fix performance issues across your virtual environment and databases.  Using a single GUI, Foglight monitors data across your environment and integrates with your existing toolset.

Foglight Key Features:

  • Improve your cloud, hypervisors and VM’s by adjusting the configuration, performance and utilization
  • Visibility across your hybrid environments
  • Reporting for historical and real-time data
  • Automate and fine-tune capacity for hypervisors, cloud environments, VM, and physical servers.
  • Ensure your databases are performing at optimal levels.

15. JenniferSoft

JenniferSoft

JENNIFER APM is an intuitive, integrated performance management solution, providing real-time data and individual transaction monitoring.  Its capabilities also include real-user monitoring for the Web, a topology view for Web environments, cloud architecture compatibility, and HTML5 based N-screen monitoring.

JENNIFER Key Features:

  • Individual transaction monitoring
  • True real-time monitoring
  • Real-time dashboard and topology view
  • Web service real-time topology view
  • Cloud environment support
  • Big data processing and analysis
  • Web service real-user monitoring

16. SmartBear (formally Lucierna)

SmartBear

SmartBear builds tools for development, testing, and operations teams for monitoring software applications and websites. Their APM suite includes API lifecycle products, software testing platforms, application monitoring tools, and code collaboration and optimization tools. SmartBear has recently acquired the continuous testing platform, HipTest, as well as test management solution, Zephyr.

SmartBear Key Features:

  • CrossBrowserTesting platform runs Selenium-based tests in the cloud (supports desktop and mobile browsers)
  • TestLeft automates functional tests for web and desktop applications
  • Create and playback scripts with InstaPlay Recorder for load testing
  • API testing (REST and SOAP)
  • QAComplete organizes your tests in one place
  • Synthetic monitoring for web and API’s monitoring
  • DejaClick plugin for point and click scripting

Application Performance Monitoring vs Application Performance Management

If you’re new to the APM space, it is important to understand the difference between monitoring and management tools. The two terms were relatively synonymous just years ago, but with the continued evolution of web-based ecosystems and the increasing priority placed on user experience by stakeholders, the terms have now divulged into two unique subsets of the UX and APM marketplace. Below are some key differences between the two branches of APM.

  • Application performance management tends to deal with the higher-level of resource utilization, user-experience, and the entire scope of an application’s ecosystem, while application performance monitoring deals directly with the functionality of an application.
  • One may set up a monitoring script to step through various phases of an application, to determine its availability, performance and functionality. This data may then be aggregated and fed into an Application Performance Management platform, correlated with additional analytics and BI information to garner user-experience insights.
  • An application performance management strategy will look more broadly at the whole user experience, determining root cause of any issues detected by monitoring, and assessing the impact of this issue on the end-user.
  • Application performance management tends to look at the aggregate data, while performance monitoring will look at a real-time flow of data to determine the application’s active status.

Generally speaking, the case for implementing APM Monitoring vs APM Management may be determined by your organization’s need to answer the following questions:

APM Monitoring: Is the application functioning and performing properly? (typically focused on a single application)

APM Management: How is the end-user interacting with our application(s)? (single application or all applications across our network)

APM Monitoring will provide visibility into application health, as it relates to function and performance data. APM Management will provide insights into endpoint performance and end-user experience.

Alternative to APM Tools – Website Monitoring

If your organization doesn’t require full APM insights quite yet, but finds it necessary to monitor the uptime and availability of it’s network infrastructure, see our article on the top website monitoring tools. Typically performed via external synthetic checks, website monitoring can instantly alert you if your servers go down, website or web application experiences performance degradation, or one geographical location becomes inaccessible due to a network error. You’ll notice our website monitoring tools list has a few solution providers mentioned above on this APM list, but for the most part they are different market segments with different focuses in the performance monitoring space.

Did we miss a top APM tool that should be included on this list? Contact us with your suggestions or requests for inclusion on this list.