APM is commonly used to describe two different practices: application performance management and application performance monitoring. While seemingly almost identical, these terms mean—and can lead to—two different things. Application performance management is a subset of digital experience monitoring (DEM), while application performance monitoring has a narrower scope of a specific application's functionality. Both involve identifying when an application is up and fully functioning, so what's the difference?

Application Performance Monitoring and Management Definitions

Application performance monitoring is very specific to the application. Gartner defines application performance monitoring as  

"one or more software and hardware components that facilitate monitoring to meet five main functional dimensions: end-user experience monitoring (EUM), runtime application architecture discovery modeling and display, user-defined transaction profiling, component deep-dive monitoring in application context, and analytics."  

This monitoring process involves a detailed analysis of the application stack itself. From here, the tool can monitor how well the application is functioning in each step or process the application goes through. Application performance monitoring can purely identify where specifically in an application it is failing.  

Application performance management is more of the overall picture with a greater focus on resource utilization. It involves more awareness of the end user and their interaction with the application. Application performance management can lead to the identification of impact for an end user due to its ability to provide context. While one may encompass the other, they have their clear differences. With these concepts in mind, there are three main differences between application performance monitoring and application performance management. 

1. One Versus All 

Application performance management is looking at the whole scope of all applications for each end user. An application performance management tool can provide insight into which applications may require more optimization than others. 

Application performance monitoring is monitoring each step within a specific application. An application performance monitoring tool can be used to diagnose where specifically in an application is it going wrong. Due to its lack of scalability, oftentimes, it's not practical to have an application performance monitoring tool monitoring all applications enterprise wide. 


Histogram illustration about application by CPU Avg, Mem Avg, etc. from our application performance management software.
SysTrack can compare applications by resource consumption across the scope of an enterprise. IT can use this information to pinpoint the worst performing applications and the most widely used. This helps with prioritizing IT actions.


Check out this short demo video to see application performance management in action.

2. Differences in Data 

The data collected between the two methods are different due to the difference in end goals. Application performance management has an overall scope of data. Since this method is focused on user interaction with the application, it involves looking at metrics such as CPU consumption or memory usage. Due to its wide scope of data, application performance management helps identify the root cause of the impact an end user may be experiencing (an application could be consuming one too many resources).  

Application performance monitoring collects time-oriented data. An application performance monitoring tool analyzes each step of the application running and sees how long it takes to move on to the next step and compares that against what is expected. If the problem originates from the application itself, then an application monitoring tool can go in and pinpoint where it may be not fully functioning. 


Spreadsheet with a detailed report on the latest results from our application performance monitoring software.
SysTrack analyzes many key metrics for each application, allowing IT to see what experience is like at the endpoint. Beyond transaction data, these KPIs assist in faster root cause analysis and issue remediation.

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3. End Goal 

Application performance management is directly correlated with the endpoint and thus the end user. It involves being aware of the consumption of resources for each application to provide an overall picture of an end user's experience. It also includes understanding how an end user might interact with an application. Application performance management goes beyond the scope of how a specific application is functioning on its own; it connects to a higher level of how all applications are running on a system together and how the end user is interacting with them. Therefore, an application performance management tool can provide context to why an end user may be experiencing impact. 

Application performance monitoring is purely focused on how well one specific application is performing. If the application is passing the time thresholds that it should, then it meets the criteria and end goal. It can be assumed that if the application itself is running through its application stack in the appropriate time, then the user using it will theoretically have a high productivity. Therefore, an application performance monitoring tool can tell you that an application is moving a little slower between processes. 


Flowchart showing how our application performance management software works.
SysTrack can track application dependencies to identify which components may need to be looked at.

SysTrack is a digital experience monitoring solution that helps perform application performance management by providing greater visibility into endpoint performance and end-user experience. As displayed above, SysTrack can monitor various metrics associated with each application across an enterprise to help get to root cause quicker and optimize applications. It also provides insight into application dependencies that can help an IT admin identify why an application may not be working. While SysTrack is not an application performance monitoring tool, it can be used alongside one to provide a complete view of how well an application is functioning independently and with other apps in the environment. 

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