Top 15 Best Application Performance Monitoring Tools In 2021

Application Performance Monitoring applications are extensively used today by I&O leaders as they are easy to use and are automated.

This article has included the 15 best Application Performance Monitoring tools from various vendors after intensive research about their features.

We ensured that the vendors provide Application Performance Monitoring software applications with features such as ADTD core functionality, front end monitoring, and domain-centric AI/ML.

Before we tell you about various Application Performance Monitoring tools, let us help you get a brief idea about Application Performance Management and its dimensions.

What is an Application Performance Monitoring tool?

Application Performance Monitoring tool is a software that facilitates application monitoring to meet three functional dimensions:

1. Front-end monitoring – It is an element of Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) applied in availability and performance monitoring.

2. Application discovery, tracing, and diagnostics (ADTD) – It determines relationships between various elements such as the automated discovery of web servers by server monitoring, microservices, application frameworks, application servers by server monitoring, and platforms like service mesh, containers, and orchestration mechanisms. 

3. Analytics – Application Performance Monitoring tool is expected to provide domain-centric intelligence features for IT operations using Artificial Learning (AI) or Machine Learning (ML) by employing event correlation, root cause analysis (RCA) algorithm, and anomaly detection on data acquired by Application Monitoring tools.

Application Performance Monitoring tools

We have divided the Application Performance Management tool into four categories – Leaders, Challengers, Visionaries, and Niche Players.

(I) Leaders

1. Cisco (AppDynamics)

AppDynamics is one of the best Application Performance Monitoring Tools in the market

Cisco is a well-known IT firm based in San Jose, California. This tech giant became a leader in Application Performance Monitoring software after it acquired AppDynamics in 2017.

AppDynamics mainly focuses on improving scalability, agent-to-controller ratios, metric ingestion rates, and providing users with features like an updated interface and more intuitive workflow to facilitate faster time to root cause.

The company offers users Application Performance Monitoring tools having common architecture across both on-premises and SaaS-based solutions.

Through Cisco account managers and partner networks, AppDynamics has continued selling Application Performance Monitoring solutions to midsize and large enterprises and has been able to garner revenue ranging from $500 Million to $750 Million in 2019 Application Performance Monitoring suites sales.

Advantages:

  • Inclusion in Cisco Enterprise Agreements, AppDynamics can leverage Cisco partners and field sales by combining AppDynamics Visibility Pack. It has also allowed the company to expand new logos.
  • Among all Application Performance Monitoring vendors, AppDynamics has the highest-rated business analysis capability.
  • Leveraging AI-powered root cause analysis, cognition engine by AppDynamics can improve performance and rival its competitors.

Disadvantages:

  • AppDynamics tool expense and pricing, along with the contract, are inflexible.
  • The cloud-native monitoring strategy of AppDynamics lags the cadence feature as compared to its competitors.
  • End users are unsure about the AppDynamics position in the Cisco application stack due to inconsistent messaging about the Central Nervous System.

2. Dynatrace

Dynatrace is one of the best Application Performance Monitoring Tools in the market

Now a public company headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, Dynatrace is a product-based company that offers on-premises, managed, and SaaS services using a common architecture.

Solutions provided by Dynatrace include key features such as core application performance monitoring, elements of network monitoring, AIOps, infrastructure, DEM, and log analytics.

Dynatrace’s offerings leverage real-time topology and AI algorithms to analyze events, traces, and performance metrics that automatically detect anomalies, applications, infrastructure, and business impact and root cause across users.

IPO and Digital Business Analytics product of Dynatrace helped the company increase visibility in the market, allowing it to offer business analytics, IT infrastructure monitoring (ITM), DEM, AIOps in addition to Application Performance Management or Monitoring.

By focusing its sales efforts on 15,000 large global enterprises and technology-focused small and midsize businesses (SMBs), the company could garner revenue between $250 Million and $500 Million in 2019 for Application Performance Monitoring Suites.

Advantages:

  • The company offers new features more frequently than its competition.
  • The OneAgent architecture provides simplified agent deployment, which can be done both natively and by auto injecting into containers.
  • Dynatrace provides platform-embedded AI/ML and a common data model that supports consistent analysis across ITIM, Application Performance Monitoring, DEM, and third-party data.

Disadvantages:

  • Digital Business Analytics had fewer features in its first release as compared to its competitors.
  • Dynatrace’s pricing models need to be simplified.
  • Due to migration from synthetic monitoring to a cloud-based approach, there could be challenges in usability and breadth of support.

3. New Relic

New Relic is one of the best Application Performance Monitoring Tools in the market

This San Francisco, California based public PAM provider has been offering the best APM tools since 2008 and was the first company to offer a SaaS only model in Application Performance Management or Monitoring.

New Relic launched the New relic One platform in September 2019, combining all product capabilities in a single UI. It can provide users with context across technologies and products.

With the New Relic One platform, users can ingest data from any source and develop their own applications, creating customized environments across various domains and combining data.

New Relic’s acquisition of SignifAI enhanced its AIOps capabilities, and the acquisition of IOpipe added deeper support for AWS Lambda Monitoring of New Relic APM.

The company could garner revenues between $500 million and $750 million from Application Performance Management or Monitoring sales in 2019.

Advantages:

  • Customers can ingest real time data irrespective of its source and develop custom applications on top of New Relic One’s open and programmable platform.
  • New Relic has strong customer satisfaction concerning overall user experience, service, performance, support, and contract negotiation.
  • Through the acquisition of IOpipe, New Relic has increased its investment in cloud-native support.
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Disadvantages:

  • Compared to competitors having similar capabilities like log analytics, New Relic has been late to the market.
  • Customers’ overlapping capabilities are one of the New Relic One application issues that a customer would have to face.
  • Usage of multiple agents for language and environment monitoring has added complexity that significantly differs from the single-agent architecture models used by New Relic’s competitors.

4. Broadcom

Broadcom is one of the best Application Performance Monitoring Tools in the market

Based in San Jose, California, Broadcom is a leading Application Performance Management software or Monitoring software company in the market after acquiring CA Technologies in November 2018.

Broadcom’s Enterprise Software Division’s AIOps solutions are a key component of the company’s offerings to its users, such as DX SaaS and DX Application Performance Management tools that can be used for SaaS capabilities deployments as well as on-premises.

If users see the roadmap of Broadcom, they can find that it is centered around DevOps automation, AIOps unifying platform across domains, and predictive code level analytics.

Broadcom has kept its application’s focus on cloud-native applications, open monitoring standards, infrastructure environments, code level analytics through AIOps, competing offerings, and data ingestion.

Broadcom application offers its customers one to five years unlimited Enterprise Software Division Portfolio access or specific segments access depending on the type of contract and Portfolio Licensing Agreement (PLA).

Broadcom’s APM tool revenue in 2019 ranged somewhere between $250 Million to $500 Million.

Advantages:

  • Broadcom provides support for distributed tracing with the help of open-source technologies and data ingestion from competing vendor agents.
  • Small and midsize organizations can freely deploy monitoring using Broadcom’s Digital BizOps Starter Edition. They can deploy project and enterprise agile management product categories, testing, and automation without an expiration.
  • Broadcom’s policies, such as the PLA model, are targeted and largely benefit large organizations to increase their performance issues monitoring capacity to gain more investment in infrastructure software.

Disadvantages:

  • The PLA model is not meant for customers who wish to reduce their investment or spending with Broadcom.
  • As compared to its competitors, Broadcom hasn’t penetrated enough in the DevOps and cloud-native operations.
  • Based on inquiry data and surveys, Broadcom appears less on shortlists for best APM tools offerings than its competitors.

(II) Challengers

1. Microsoft

Azure Monitor is one of the best Application Performance Monitoring Tools in the market

headquartered in Redmond, Microsoft is a public company that has been offering Performance monitoring solutions since 2012.

Microsoft’s Azure Monitor is a SaaS-based Application Performance Management or Monitoring solution that has the ability to ingest data directly from non-Azure applications and connect on-premises product System Center Operations Managers (SCOM).

Microsoft applications support various other environments and languages such as Go, Linux, Node.js, Python, Java, .Net, etc. However, the applications are optimized only for .net core and windows operating systems.

The offering is optimized for Windows and .NET; Java, Go, Linux operating systems, Node, Python, and various other environments and languages are also supported.

The company in 2019 was able to generate between $100 million and $250 million from sales of Performance monitoring suites.

Advantages:

  • The Azure Monitor of Microsoft is a well-optimized and integrated application with Azure Ops and comes with third-party alert, incident, service management tools.
  • Customers have reported high satisfaction with services and support offered by Microsoft Azure Monitor, especially with Azure Services.
  • With Machine Learning (ML) algorithms, Azure Monitor Smart Groups can automatically reduce alerts, false positives, and noise.

Disadvantages:

  • It is a necessity to deploy a SCOM application for Microsoft customers to run the APM tool on-premises.
  • The microservices performance visualization of Microsoft Azure Monitor is not optimal and is deficient when compared to its competitors.
  • Since the Azure Monitor offering is optimized for its own technology stack, user experiences in diverse technology and application environments might face challenges.

(III) Visionaries

1. Splunk (SignalFx)

SignalFx is one of the best visionaries in Application Performance Monitoring Tools in the market

Splunk is a San Francisco, California-based public company founded in 2003 that entered the Performance monitoring market after acquiring SignalFx in October 2019.

This SaaS-only performance monitoring and infrastructure application are focused on cloud-native environments extending Splunk’s “Data-to-Everything platform” that offers a DevOps persona and a wide variety of IT operations solutions as VictorOps, Splunk App for infrastructure and phantom for automation, and IT Service Intelligence.

Splunk aims to provide customers with technologies to modernize the monolithic applications into cloud environments and an observability solution for modern cloud-native environments core of which is provided by SignalFx by open-source agents such as Open Tracing and OpenTelemetry.

Sales of Splunk’s performance monitoring suites in 2019 were estimated to have generated revenue between $250 million and $500 million.

Advantages:

  • Splunk Enterprises can bridge the gap between traditional and cloud-native IT with a portfolio, including ITSI, Signal Fx, and VictorOps.
  • SignalFx provides strong support for buyers that invest heavily in containerized environments and microservice.
  • By investing in deeper ties with Accenture, Carahsoft, and CDW, all of which are large global channels and distributors, Splunk can provide a path for adopting any organization without an in-house resource for adopting its solution.

Disadvantages:

  • The solution provided by SignalFx is of great scale and metric ingestion but has challenging usability.
  • Compared to competitors, DEM and APM-specific features of SignalFx lag in workflows.
  • The business analysis provided by SignalFx is among the lowest in all of its competitors and performance monitoring vendors.

2. Datadog

Datadog is one of the best visionaries in Application Performance Monitoring Tools in the market

Recently expanding into full-stack monitoring application, including performance monitoring. Datadog APM was initially SaaS offering public company (w.e.f. September 2019) focused on cloud infrastructure monitoring.

Headquartered in New York, Datadog offers solutions in core performance monitoring, network monitoring elements, DEM with support for (Real-User Monitoring) RUM and synthetic monitoring, infrastructure, AIOps, and log analytics.

Datadog is a few vendors that offer single-agent architecture for events, traces, and metrics with solutions built on a common data model application that enables AI and ML analytics, event correlation, RCA, and anomaly detection.

Datadog supports open source such as OpenMetrics and OpenTracing and provides support for both client-side and server-side filtering.

With sales investments ramping up globally and revenue around $50 Million in 2019, Datadog grows a network of channel partners, technical support, and professional services for large enterprises.

Advantages:

  • The company offers compelling prices and performance monitoring host-based per-unit pricing comparatively lower than its featured competitors.
  • Datadog’s performance monitoring suites are focused on areas important for newer architecture and are fluent in modern application development and delivery.
  • Datadog provides customers with an extensive integrations library that includes containers, messaging, databases, OpenTracing, orchestration, DevOps toolchain, public cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), and service mesh.
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Disadvantages:

  • Call stack transaction tracing granularity of the company is still in development.
  • The company’s performance monitoring solutions have less mature problem diagnosis workflows than its competitors.
  • The company’s professional services are highly custom, and the application monitoring tools deployment complexities are less mature than its competitors.

(IV) Niche Players

1. Riverbed (Aternity)

Riverbed is one of the best niche players in Application Performance Monitoring Tools in the market

Riverbed is a private company with headquarters in San Francisco, California, since 2007 has been offering Application monitoring products.

AppResponse, NetIM, SteelCentral Portal, AppIntervals, and Aternity are included in Riverbed’s portfolio.

Riverbed’s new subsidiary Aternity, created in January 2020 and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, offers agent-based bytecode instrumentation and focuses on AppInternals, APM, and DEM product lines end-user experiences products that can be deployed on on-premises or SaaS.

AppInternals is coupled with Aternity’s End User Experience Monitoring (EUEM) product and provides DEM functionality from the end-user device’s vantage point.

Aternity derived a revenue between $100 million and $250 million in 2019 from application monitoring suites sales.

Advantages:

  • Aternity offers flexible pricing options with single-agents providing both APM and DEM to its customers to optimize their use-case environments.
  • The need to monitor complex application environments is supported by Aternity’s ability to collect fine-grained data in large amounts.
  • By separating from Riverbed, which is network-focused, Aternity can focus R&D resources on APM and DEM.

Disadvantages:

  • Aternity is moving away from the extensive channel network of Riverbed as a stand-alone entity, due to which buyers will have to ensure that the new entity’s partner network can meet their needs.
  • The Application monitoring’s product workflow of Aternity is complex and requires investment in skills to solve problems.
  • Aternity provides limited usefulness for DevOps buyers as it lacks integration within DevOps toolchain ecosystems.

2. IBM Cloud App Management

IBM Cloud App Management is one of the best niche players in Application Performance Monitoring Tools in the market

Starting in 1911, IBM is headquartered in Armonk, New York, and has been a part of the application monitoring market since 2003.

IBM’s current application monitoring solution introduced in 2018, IBM Cloud App Management, is a cloud-native app with the capability to be deployed on both on-premises or in the cloud.

Previously IBM’s Application monitoring portfolio included numerous products, from which IBM has now simplified and shifted its focus only on cloud-native architectures.

From the cloud-native app runtimes, the CAM solution can harvest metrics and traces by focusing on lightweight data collectors with the help of a single web-based UI having configurable dashboards.

By focusing on cloud-native environments, IBM can improve trend analysis, run book automation by integrating with Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, and complex thresholding for events and metrics.

IBM, in 2019 was able to derive a revenue between $100 million and $250 million from current and legacy APM tool sales.

Advantages:

  • The integration with Red Hat has provided IBM with opportunities in automation and DevOps.
  • In IBM WebSphere middleware environments, IBM’s legacy APM tools solutions provide strong monitoring and code-level diagnostics support.
  • By focusing on cloud-native environments, IBM has simplified its APM tool roadmap, offering, and messaging.

Disadvantages:

  • IBM focuses on cloud application monitoring and CloudOps functions, but APM tool solutions need many legacy solutions if support for traditional applications such as .NET is required.
  • APM tool functions in IBM Cloud App Management, such as dashboarding, root analysis, reporting, and predictive insights, lack depth.
  • IBM is rarely included on shortlists for stand-alone APM tools procurements.

3. Oracle

Oracle is one of the best niche players in Application Performance Monitoring Tools in the market

Headquartered in Redwood City, California, Oracle is a public company offering APM tool capabilities since 2008 alongside Oracle Enterprise Manager (EM).

The Oracle Management Cloud (OMC) applications are offered as a SaaS product, but customers can choose EM for on-premises deployment.

Oracle has added the ability to add custom instrumentation to non-Oracle technologies, support for a synthetic transaction recorder to complement existing support for Selenium, Kafka Monitoring, clustering for outlier detection, and control over the storage of personally identifiable information (PII).

OMC applications are heavily aligned to Oracle products and services targeted primarily at midsize to large organizations.

In 2019, Oracle derived revenue between $50 million and $100 million from APM suites sales.

Advantages:

  • With a significant investment in the Oracle stack, customers can extend monitoring capabilities using OMC.
  • OMC’s support for monitoring business applications such as Siebel, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, E-Business Suite, Fusion Applications, and PeopleSoft has become a major differentiator among its competitors.
  • The well-integrated platform of OMC via SaaS includes infrastructure monitoring support.

Disadvantages:

  • Although Oracle has made some improvements in Performance Monitoring tools solutions, it is rarely in competitive bids.
  • Oracle’s breadth of language support is limited to Java, .Net, Node.js, and Ruby agents.
  • The APM’s product workflow of Oracle is complex and requires investment in skills to solve problems.

4. Instana

Instana is one of the best niche players in Application Performance Monitoring Tools in the market

This Solingen, Germany based private company is an APM insight solutions provider offering a single APM product called Instana APM that can be deployed as SaaS and on-premises.

With core capabilities as APM, analytics, and end-user and infrastructure monitoring, Instana Performance Monitoring tools provide competitive pricing and give extensive support for all major application databases, languages, orchestration environments, and containers.

Instana lacks broad support for various legacy environments, due to which the company’s reach is limited to hybrid enterprises.

Instana, in the year 2019, was able to raise a revenue of less than $50 million by APM sales, excluding professional services.

Advantages:

  • The full-feature APM insight capabilities of Instana with a single licensing pricing model are at a lower price than various other competitors.
  • Instana provides open-source technologies with strong native support. This support includes APM, metrics, and infrastructure.
  • Instana’s single-agent architecture facilitates automated instrumentation.

Disadvantages:

  • Keeping aside monitoring tools, Instana lacks various capabilities such as log management.
  • There is no direct bidirectional integration with IT Service Management (ITSM) solution from ServiceNow.
  • Compared to Instana’s support for legacy environments, its traditional monitoring tools competitors better cater to customers using hybrid environments.
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5. SolarWinds

SolarWinds is one of the best niche players in Application Performance Monitoring Tools in the market

SolarWinds, a public company, headquartered in Austin, Texas, entered the APM market following its acquisition of SaaS based APM assets from Loggly, AppNeta, and Pingdom.

The company offers infrastructure software applications with core capabilities in APM, synthetics with Pingdom, infrastructure monitoring with AppOptics, and log analytics with Loggly.

AppOptics, Loggly, and Pingdom enjoy the company’s consolidated APM offerings, which have been given to Application and Server Monitoring for the past seven years. The company free trial.

The company generated revenue between $50 million and $100 million in 2019 by sales of APM suites.

Advantages:

  • The company’s APM products are complemented by other solutions in network, configuration management, and security, among others.
  • SolarWinds provides point solution products that help customers gain strong visibility in specific domains such as infrastructure and log monitoring.
  • Many SolarWinds’ products come with simple installation models for smaller deployments and can be self-serviced.

Disadvantages:

  • Compared to its competitors, SolarWinds lags in its ability for anomaly detection using AI or ML.
  • The overlap in the SolarWinds product portfolio has kept the customers confused about which capabilities are available in which product.
  • In terms of platform architecture, SolarWinds’ roadmap lags behind its competitors.

6. Tingyun

Tingyun is one of the best niche players in Application Performance Monitoring Tools in the market

Based in Beijing, China, Tingyun is a private company that provides APM and DEM tools and other offerings such as monitoring support for WeChat mini-programs.

The SaaS APM of Tingyun comprising of Tingyun DEM, Tingyun NeurAlert, Tingyun APM, and Tingyun Business Performance Intelligence (BPI), provides a solution for monitoring business performance, monitoring digital end-user experience using synthetic transactions and (Real User Monitoring (RUM), monitoring log files, mobile, database, containers, and cloud.

Tingyun supports languages like Ruby on Rails, Java, .Net, PHP, Node.js, C/C++, Golang, and Python.

In 2019, Tingyun generated less than $50 million in revenue from APM suites sales.

Advantages:

  • Tingyun works with Chinese government enterprises and supports monitoring mini-programs on WeChat, supporting the company in strengthening its presence in the Chinese market.
  • It offers support for database, mobile monitoring, languages like Java, .Net, PHP, etc., and domain-centric AIOps.
  • The company offers innovative pricing for business intelligence solutions.

Disadvantages:

  • Due to security application performance issues, limited data storage, and lack of local support, Tingyun’s expansion outside China has struggled.
  • Many manual steps in Tingyun’s complex agent deployment process.
  • A narrow ecosystem of integration partners is provided by tingyun.

7. ManageEngine

ManageEngine is one of the best niche players in Application Performance Monitoring Tools in the market

ManageEngine is a division of the IT management private company Zoho headquartered in India, offering APM solution in flagship products such as Applications Manager (on-premises) and Site24x7 APM Insight (Saas).

Both these products have improved with support for Oracle cloud-based environments, Node.js applications, Google Cloud-based Platform (GCP) cloud environments, Amazon Web Services (AWS) billing stats, Nutanix, and Kubernetes.

While the AM focuses on remote agentless monitoring, Site24x7 APM insight provides performance-agent-based monitoring using bytecode instrumentation. Site 24×7 also provides a free trial of its tool.

From APM suites, ManageEngine generated revenue between $50 million and $100 million in 2019.

Advantages:

  • The company’s support for monitoring hyper-converged infrastructure and COTS applications differentiates it from its competitors.
  • ManageEngine’s easy to use offerings to SMBs are available on-premises and SaaS and cover a broad range of infrastructure for cloud and legacy.
  • ManageEngine is low cost, simple to deploy, has an accurate alerting system for SMB data center environments, and is easy to configure.

Disadvantages:

  • Since the company is focused on SMBs, others with complex architecture should ensure that the company isn’t adding any high degree complexities while addressing their needs.
  • ManageEngine lags in its ability to scale as compared to competitors.
  • Since the integration with the DevOps toolchain ecosystem is limited, ManageEngine has difficulty using the APM solution to support CI/CD initiatives.

8. Micro Focus

Micro Focus is one of the best niche players in Application Performance Monitoring Tools in the market

Newbury, U.K. based public company Micro Focus provides on-premises APM products with a few SaaS components in offerings such as Business Process Monitoring (BPM), Code Level Diagnostics, RUM, and SiteScope at different maturity levels and deployment requirements.

As part of its ITOM portfolio, it offers a broad collection of monitoring tools such as primary support for modern and legacy environments.

Micro Focus has shifted its ITOM efforts towards Operations Bridge (OpsBridge), which collects topology, events, and metrics and Collect Once Store Once (COSO) Data Lake that ingests data from company and other third-party monitoring data sources. Both of these work in conjunction.

In 2019 the company’s estimated revenue from APM suites sales was between $50 million and $100 million.

Advantages:

  • Micro Focus’s recent addition of metric support by Prometheus will resolve the buyer’s concern about the company’s microservices environments and will make a better appeal to them.
  • APM solutions are offered as part of ITOM tools’ broader portfolio.
  • Powerful data ingestion and analytics platforms are represented by OpsBridge and COSO that can maximize value from Micro Focus ITOM products.

Disadvantages:

  • The competitiveness of Micro Focus in APM has been decreasing that has caused minimal new features in APM. This has caused difficulty in end-user experience in staying updated with fast-moving application monitor tools.
  • Micro Focus’s strategy is focused on acquiring infrastructure software and on maximizing mature offerings. This has led to sacrifices in innovation.
  • End-Users are required to switch between products and inconsistent UIs due to Micro Focus’s complex mix of products in APM solutions.

Final Words

As a subsegment of the ITOM market, the APM market is one of its largest, having a forecast spending of $4.48 billion in 2020 and an 11.1% CAGR for 2023.

With the deployment of multi-cloud platforms for the app, various vendors are likely to step into this market.

However, the three huge public cloud service providers’ entrance – Google, Microsoft, and Amazon – is yet to be seen in the market with a multi-cloud APM solution.

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