2017’s Top 4 Application Performance Monitors (APMs)

As DevOps principles become more and more ubiquitous, so does the offering of tools to support DevOps teams in their day to day challenge of keeping performance at an optimal level. At Scalyr, we’re specialized heavily into Log Management and providing the fastest logging solution on the market to DevOps teams. We were built by seasoned DevOps leaders and we’ve aimed to build a tool that we always wanted — something we’re proud of. Most of Scalyr’s customers are also looking for an Application Performance Monitoring (APM) solution to round out their performance monitoring goals and we’ve — of course — worked with many APMs ourselves.
With the many new APM tools available to teams today, we explored the most current offerings by the leading players in the APM space. The goal?  Cover the basics on your best choices for 2017 and make decision making a little easier.
To complete this quick post, we examined various online resources including references to findings within Gartner’s 2016 Magic Quadrant for APM, Go2Crowd, and company websites themselves. Here are your four best-bets this year.

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AppDynamics is a clear industry leader. Their entire platform is built specifically around APM and the tools they’ve created weren’t secondary to a separate initial focus. AppDynamics works with many well known brands and they have a well-established record of success. Based on their “visionary” status, they are arguably the leader of the market in Gartner’s 2016 report and they’re indispensable in any conversation around APM.

Points to Consider

  • Primarily suited for enterprise applications
  • Pricing comes in around $230 per server, per month
  • Available as SaaS or deployable on-premise
  • Supports many languages & technologies (.NET, Java, PHP, C++, Python, Node.js, GO, and more)
  • Automated performance baselining and alerts
  • Most users report comprehensive dashboard features and a clean, readily understandable UI

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While a brand new entrant into the APM space, DataDog is definitely one to check out. Their APM tools actually released to all users just this February in 2017 but they’re already receiving positive user reviews. Pricing is much more accessible than that of many competitors in the space and this makes DataDog’s offering pretty interesting to many teams who may not yet need an enterprise-scale APM. As DataDog explains, most of their clients today use their standard service for either infrastructure monitoring or high-level KPI analysis. With their APM features, DataDog is aiming to bridge the gap between these two use-cases and provide full-stack visibility.

Points to Consider

  • Well suited for teams of many sizes — and, of course, current DataDog users
  • Accessible Pricing: Typically ranging from $15 to $23 per host, per month
  • Built to be part of DataDog’s larger service offering and, therefor, works with all of DataDog’s platform features
  • Easily deployed through a simple agent install
  • Comprehensive host request tracing – identify bottlenecks at any step in the application process
  • 150+ turn-key integrations to work with your stack

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Dynatrace has one of the most impressive on-site breakdowns of services that we’ve seen and their Gartner rating is pretty impressive as well. In terms of user experience and ability to run the platform to your needs, they’re another arguable contender for first place across all APM platforms. While not entirely tied to their core APM product, we’re big fans of the “UFO” that they’re rolling out. It’s a IoT pendant-lamp-like device that displays system performance in a pretty unique way — through flashing UFO-like lights. Anyway, let’s not get off track from their platform…

Points to Consider

  • Suited for many infrastructures and application needs
  • Pricing for is not specifically listed on the website but is calculated based on actual consumption needs. You have to speak with a representative to discuss needs & pricing.
  • Able to simulate website and app user experience to identify performance issues proactively.
  • We’ve not tried this ourselves, but DynaTrace reports to utilize machine learning in order to provide actionable performance intelligence.
  • May be deployed on premise or as SaaS

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Last but certainly not least, New Relic. New Relic is a standout amongst competition and is highly regarded both for their platform’s diverse capabilities and for their consistent voice in the DevOps community. New Relic, like Dynatrace and AppDynamics, places highly within the Gartner report and places first if you have a combined need of both deployability and visionary leadership from your platform.

Points to Consider

  • Popular amongst very well established players with enterprise needs
  • Pricing Calculator available on site. Expect anywhere from $70-$600 per server, per month
  • Works with many technologies, including Ruby, Java, .NET, PHP, Python, GO, and Node.js
  • A flexible, scalable, multi-tenant SaaS
  • Highlights SOC 2 Compliance as a core component of the platform
  • Performance metric visualizations for distributed applications, architectures, and external services in one centralized map.


The Rest

Of course, there are numerous options available to you for Application Performance Monitoring and — in fact — there may even be a tool built specifically for your stack’s various components. As stated, we want to quickly profile the 2017 APM leaders here but be sure to explore all of your options by asking your community or visiting comparison sites before buying. The good thing? Like Scalyr‘s log management tool, most offer a free demo & trial.