Many of us have heard the term APM, and just as many are confused as to what it truly means. Gartner put together their own definition – you’ll find it here. When writing this post I was thinking about 2 of the 5 “functional dimensions” Gartner outlines as making a proper APM solution. These are:


  • Runtime application architecture discovery modeling and display: As I like to think about it, this means discovering and providing useful metrics on the full range of paths that an application can take between software and hardware in your environment as part of proper execution.
  • User defined transaction profiling: Similar to the above, but more focused on how real users are using the application, and thus the paths their actual application requests take through the same hardware and software topology. Think about it like choosing those paths which are most critical to your actual users. This allows the solution to provide real-time metrics surrounding user experience and satisfaction.

We all have a number of web based apps running in our IT world, many of whose topology we may not fully understand. Capabilities such as the above can be helpful in identifying, troubleshooting and isolating the cause of user issues with those apps. After all, the issue could be anywhere in the various layers of our environment, and no one wants to start a guess and check game of servers, databases, etc. you stand to lose while wasting valuable time. At the same time, we’re all curious how exactly users are interacting with our environment, but don’t possess the sixth sense to tell us just which DB has the most users hitting it at any given time. With those two capabilities combined, you can begin to imagine being given visibility into which issues are impacting the most users at any given time (thus where the most helpdesk tickets will come from) as well as the components along their application request path that could be the root cause – all in real time.


In thinking about all the above, I’m curious about the following:

  1. Do you or your company currently use any software today that helps provide this sort of information?
  2. If you do, what sort of problems has it helped you to solve? With what type of applications? What do you feel is missing?
  3. Would knowing your various applications’ topology be interesting to you or your company? How about the real user transaction paths within those same applications?
  4. What sort of problems do you think could be solved if you knew all of that?
  5. In general, do you wish you knew more about how your real user’s actions affect the IT environment you work hard to monitor and maintain?


Don’t be shy and comment! I know I’m not the only one that struggles with this and, after all, misery loves company.