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.

In short, 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?

Let's start by zeroing in on our definitions of APM.

What Is Application Performance Monitoring?

Application performance monitoring examines the components and/or infrastructure of a given application. This is how Gartner defines application performance monitoring

"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 (also known as a trace or transaction) the application goes through. Application performance monitoring can identify where specifically an application is failing.  

What Is Application Performance Management?

Application performance management provides an overall picture of a software environment with a greater focus on resource utilization. It involves more awareness of the end user and their interaction with the application.

Application performance management helps IT spot application performance issues and identify correlations with the performance of other software and hardware in the environment. This approach is valuable for IT departments and business leaders wanting to understand which applications are necessary for end users to do their jobs as well as to what extent application performance problems are hindering productivity.

Three Ways to Spot the Difference Between APM Tools

While management somewhat encompasses monitoring, 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 monitoring is monitoring each step within a specific application. An application performance monitoring tool can be used to diagnose code-level problems within an application. Due to its lack of scalability, often it's not practical to have an application performance monitoring tool monitoring all applications enterprise-wide.

In contrast, 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. 

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 APM methods varies 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 (for example, an application could be consuming one too many resources).  

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.