The world of application development has undergone significant change in recent years with the move from on-premises infrastructure to public clouds, adoption of new methodologies such as DevOps, and introduction of new tools such as Kubernetes and Serverless.
This article explores the challenges developers face in creating modern applications, as well as the strategies and capabilities that leading businesses are following to meet such challenges head-on by taking a new approach to Application Performance Monitoring (APM). Read on this article to learn how leading organizations are leveraging modern APM to realize benefits such as:
- Control costs of application development
- Create a better end-user experience
- Accelerate time to market of new applications
In this article, Aberdeen analyzes the challenges modern application developers face, as well as the strategies and capabilities that leading businesses are following, such as AI-driven analysis, to optimize their applications. We’ll also delve into the steps that organizations can take to modernize Application Performance Monitoring (APM) and make it ready for the applications of today and the future.
Application developers today face a constant and rapid pace of change.
How today’s developers create and deploy applications has transformed dramatically from just a few years ago. Rather than large, monolithic applications, today’s developers are building microservices based on containers, Kubernetes, serverless and ephemeral infrastructures, and often deployed on multiple clouds — both public and private.
However, many of the APM solutions that organizations are using to monitor and manage applications were not designed to meet these new development paradigms. For businesses with older solutions, understanding, optimizing, and improving their applications using disconnected and siloed APM tools with slow analytics that alert in minutes instead of seconds, rely heavily on clients, and can’t scale to handle thousands of diverse containers, is often a complex and nearly impossible task.
Aberdeen research has found that when leading organizations adopt modern APM tools that have been built from the ground up to support today’s applications, IT Ops and DevOps teams have deep and fast insight into their applications so that they can troubleshoot and prevent issues before they impact end-users.
Defining Modern APM: Designed to meet the needs of today’s applications and microservices, a modern APM provides powerful real-time streaming, full-fidelity data ingestion, open-source instrumentation, and deep AIdriven data analytics
Modern Applications Need Modern Approaches to Monitor
New technologies and trends are bringing significant changes to all application developers, and just as many organizations have finally started to adapt to the changes brought by DevOps, agile, and CI/CD — they now also face microservices, serverless applications, and Kubernetes that disrupt the way that applications are built and deployed.
While modern application architectures and frequent code push help accelerate organizational responsiveness and innovation, they are adding new complexities and challenges to monitoring. IT Ops and DevOps teams are limited by traditional APM tools, which have only become more difficult to use given the many new changes to application environments. In our research into application development, Aberdeen asked organizations to list the top drivers pushing them to upgrade and improve their application monitoring as a result of more modern infrastructure and application environments.
Analyzing the data from Figure 1, we find that while many businesses are still driven by the need to reduce the costs associated with application development, another major pressure to improve how they monitor and optimize applications is the rapid pace of technological innovation and the additional complexity that accompanies it.
Businesses understand the need to be aggressive in adopting technologies that are cloud-native, flexible, and that brings a competitive advantage. However, these businesses and DevOps teams realize that managing and successfully adopting emerging technologies with legacy monitoring tools is a recipe for failure.
The data from Figure 1 also highlights the challenge businesses face with their ability to harness the massive amounts of new data that are generated every day by users, systems, and devices. As always, executives need to ensure that they are getting the most out of their technology investments.
How Leading Organizations Are Transforming Their APM Capabilities
While many organizations are striving to upgrade and improve their APM capabilities, we’ve found that those who are leaders are going beyond simply getting the latest version of what they already have. Businesses that Aberdeen has identified as leaders in application development — meaning they score in the top 30% in uptime, performance, cost savings, and customer satisfaction — are choosing new modern APM solutions that are designed for today’s microservices and cloud-native applications.
What kind of APM solution are leaders identifying and deploying? We’ve found that they are looking for APM with deep analytical capabilities that can handle the massive amount of data from applications, including all metrics, traces, logs, and every other valuable piece of information.
They are identifying APM that can give them analytics in seconds, as they understand keeping customers and end-users happy relies on troubleshooting issues before they become a real problem. And we’ve seen that organizations that are leaders in application development are deploying APM that takes advantage of artificial intelligence to more effectively analyze and optimize their applications, as seen in Figure 2 below.
Leaders also want APM solutions that are based on open standards as the tools and systems that they are using to build and deploy microservices and modern cloud-native applications. By embracing open tools, leading businesses can avoid vendor lock-in and take advantage of high levels of integration and flexibility.
Looking at this data, we see that adoption of monitoring that utilizes AI to provide faster and better analysis and outcomes is nearly universal among leaders. By implementing AI as part of an overall upgrade to modern, cloud-native APM, leaders are achieving the highest levels of application performance and reliability and keeping users and customers free from the frustrations of slow and unavailable applications.
Modern, AI-enabled APM Boosts All Application Management
Leaders in application development are taking advantage of APM with powerful real-time streaming, full-fidelity data ingestion, open-source instrumentation, and deep AI-driven data analytics. But what are the capabilities and advantages that even organizations that aren’t leaders are gaining when they adopt these solutions? To understand, Aberdeen analyzed our research data to identify businesses that had adopted cutting-edge, modern APM. We then compared these organizations to competitors who aren’t leveraging APM with streaming analytics and AI capabilities.
We discovered that application development organizations that adopt modern APM (as defined on page 2), outpace their peers in a number of key capabilities for understanding and managing today’s complex cloud-native applications and microservices.
With a modern APM powering their monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities, development organizations are reaping the benefits of realtime alerting, meaning that they are likely to have the capability to identify issues in seconds rather than the minutes or hours businesses with legacy APM experience. A modern APM also leads to better adoption of strong application performance monitoring across the board, and AI enables the ability to perform deep and accurate root-cause analysis for application issues.
It’s clear that the adoption of a modern APM leads to better end-to-end capabilities for managing today’s complex application environments. But Aberdeen’s research shows that the benefits extend beyond capabilities and is helping organizations improve ROI, reliability, and customer experience.
We’ve found that among the top pressures pushing development organizations to improve their application infrastructure is the increasing complexity that new technologies such as Kubernetes, containers, and hybrid cloud are bringing. But IT Ops and DevOps teams are still driven by traditional demands of performance, data demand, and the bottom line. Application developers who are leaders in performance, data management, and ROI are adopting modern APM that provides streaming analytics and artificial intelligence-enabled monitoring. But given the near-universal adoption of modern APM among the leaders (as shown in Figure 2), it’s valid to ask if modern APM is a big part of what makes these businesses Best-in-Class.
When Aberdeen looked at the benefits that application development organizations gained by adopting modern APM, the answer to this question is yes. Across the board, businesses with modern APM are seeing significant gains over their competitors, as shown in Table 1.
Table 1: Meeting Complex Application Demands with Modern APM Organizations with a modern APM are:
- 95% more likely to speed the resolution of application issues
- 45% more likely to see high levels of application availability
- 80% more likely to have lowered the costs for application development
- 2x more likely to see lower defect rates
- 3.7x more likely to report higher levels of customer and end-user satisfaction with applications
Compared to their peers that are still making use of traditional APM, organizations with modern APM that give them vital insight and proactive analytics are more likely to have high application reliability, less application downtime, and fewer application defects. With AI tied to realtime analytics, modern APM users are also addressing issues much faster than their competitors, speeding the resolution of application problems before they become an issue for end-users and customers.
Most importantly, by upgrading to an APM that is designed from the ground up to handle today’s application environments, they are building high-performing and user-friendly applications that keep customers and users highly satisfied. And with more reliable applications that work well with modern development environments and solutions, these modern APM organizations are more likely to have lower overall costs for application development.
Application developers have been in a constant state of change in recent years. They adopted DevOps and agile, they are shifting left in testing, and they are deploying containerized, Kubernetes-based, cloud-native applications instead of traditional monolithic apps.
This transformative change requires a new approach to APM. As we’ve seen, organizations that adopt modern, open standards-based APM, with full-fidelity tracing and end-to-end, real-time analytics that leverages AI for increased insight into the rising amount of data, gain increased capabilities and see significant benefits.
To join these leaders, and bring their APM capabilities into the modern age, application developers, IT Ops and DevOps teams should:
- Know what is happening right now. When end-users experience an application problem before operations know about it, negative results such as poor productivity for employees or dissatisfied customers speaking out on social media will occur. Real-time monitoring in seconds and incident alerting detect application issues as they occur and lead to the swift resolution of problems.
- Add deep, continuous, and AI-driven monitoring and analytics. Today’s complex applications create a wealth of data that is both valuable and overwhelming. Leading businesses leverage APM that can pull data from all sources, such as traces and metrics, and can use strong AI to analyze this massive amount of data to gain better understanding and management.
- Take immediate action. The sooner an application issue is fixed, the less potential it has to affect users (and decrease productivity and revenue). Modern APM systems with streaming analytics and AI capabilities can take quick steps to limit the effect of an application issue and provide the information needed to avoid future problems.
- Be open and break down silos. Today’s applications are built with open standards and frameworks and are designed to easily integrate with any other application or service. The solutions that developers use to manage and monitor applications need the same kind of openness. Leading organizations leverage open standards-based APM systems that consolidate monitoring into a single screen and give them the ability to replace their APM at any time, control and own their data, and not be locked in with a single APM vendor that uses a proprietary agent.
Modern applications based on cloud, containers, microservices, and serverless functions need modern application performance monitoring tools. Ephemeral infrastructure, complex service interdependencies, and much more frequent code pushes are quickly becoming the norm and legacy tools are limited in their ability to support these more dynamic and distributed environments.