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This article is part of our Buyer's Guide: Assess and select the right application monitoring tools

An up-close and in-depth look at APM software vendors

Read this in-depth roundup on some of the top APM tools in today's market and what they can provide for root cause analysis, infrastructure monitoring and AI.

Application performance monitoring is a highly competitive market, so naturally, choosing the right platform for your needs can be a challenge. To help make this decision, read about these 12 notable APM software vendors on the market today. This article should also serve as a good beginning step toward understanding the APM market as a whole.

Understanding which platforms work for your particular needs can help drastically narrow down the search. One thing to remember about APM software vendors is that users can utilize many tools together to provide a more cohesive coverage of application performance metrics, so it is important to identify what your needs are and the specific ways each platform can ultimately benefit your organization.

AppDynamics

AppDynamics is an enterprise-level APM platform with an emphasis on analyzing the business impact of application performance issues. With full-stack infrastructure monitoring, code-level diagnostic analysis and cross-platform end-user monitoring modules, AppDynamics is a flexible platform aimed at enterprise-scale applications.

Available for both on-premises and cloud-based deployments, AppDynamics provides cross-platform infrastructure monitoring with code-level analysis for a full end-to-end monitoring system. AppDynamics offers a wide range of end-user monitoring platforms; from browser-based to cross-platform mobile monitoring, it is an excellent tool for organizations with more than one client-side interface. AppDynamics covers APIs, web and mobile applications, and even IoT appliances.

Cost: Starting at $330 per month

License: Commercial

Market: Enterprise

Scope: Server/Mobile/Web

Editor's note

With extensive research into APM software, TechTarget editors have focused this series of articles on vendors that offer APM capabilities as a separate platform rather than as part of a larger system. Our research included Gartner, Forrester and TechTarget surveys.

CA Technologies

CA Technologies is one of the largest independent software corporations in the world, so it's no surprise that it has a high-quality APM platform that integrates with the suite of other platforms it offers. Aimed at post-startup to enterprise-level organizations, CA Technologies' APM tool offers a powerful root cause analysis feature that can identify the exact cause of performance issues down to the code level. The true value of the CA Technologies platform, however, comes from the use of the entire CA Technologies suite.

If you are already using other CA Technologies products to manage your application infrastructure, then CA Technologies' APM tool is an excellent addition to your existing tool set. By integrating data from its other products, CA Technologies' APM product can create service requests, monitor single sign-on metrics and even run and investigate load tests through its BlazeMeter integration.

Cost: Starting at $195 per month

License: Commercial

Market: SMB/Enterprise

Scope: Server/Mobile/Web

Datadog

Datadog is an extensible APM platform marketed with visibility in mind. What sets Datadog apart from other APM software vendors is its impressive collection of third-party integrations and an API that users can build on their own. With a generous free tier and pricing per host -- as opposed to per collector -- Datadog is sold with scalability in mind, which makes it a good APM choice for businesses of any size.

A cloud-based tool, Datadog is a modular APM tool that not only integrates with popular cloud infrastructure platforms, but also mobile application analytics platforms, like mParticle, and third-party product management tools, like Pivotal Tracker and Jira. Additionally, Datadog has built-in communication tools that are perfect for collaborating on issues from within the application itself, which, in turn, helps keep stakeholders on the same page.

Cost: Starting at $0 per month

License: Commercial

Market: Startup/SMB/Enterprise

Scope: Server/Mobile/Web

Dynatrace

Dynatrace is a full-service application monitoring platform with a strong focus on end-user usability. While it supports thousands of technologies, as well as third-party integrations with popular CI/CD and product management platforms, Dynatrace's standout feature is its built-in AI and machine learning functionality.

Priced competitively for startups and enterprises alike, Dynatrace offers a strong suite of tools for identifying the root cause behind performance issues using its built-in AI functionality. Additionally, Dynatrace offers user session replay for web applications, which helps you understand usability problems by recording and replaying every user session for faster and more visual troubleshooting. With these two features combined, admins can identify issues as users experience them rather than after issues occur.

Cost: Starting at ~$25 per month

License: Commercial

Market: Startup/SMB/Enterprise

Scope: Server/Mobile/Web

Grafana

Understanding which platforms work for your particular needs can help drastically narrow down the search.

Grafana is a unique platform as it is a fully open source analytics tool with a highly extensible and usable visualization interface. With a large plug-in library, Grafana is a good choice for building easy-to-understand analytics dashboards that aggregate and analyze metrics from a number of different sources. Much like the other open source platforms in this article, Grafana has the added benefit of the security and stability that often comes from open source platforms.

A particularly unique aspect of Grafana's system is that it integrates with many of the other APM software vendors in this article, enabling you to pick and choose the APM features that are right for you, while you can create the right analytics and monitoring dashboard for your application. While Grafana is a self-hosted, open source tool, there is also a self-service cloud-based platform available to help reduce IT costs, as well as enterprise-level support for both on-premises and cloud-hosted platforms.

Cost: Starting at $0 per month

License: Apache 2.0

Market: Startup/SMB/Enterprise

Scope: Server/Mobile/Web

LogicMonitor

LogicMonitor is a SaaS-based APM platform marketed with an emphasis on ease of use and automation. With a library of over 1,000 prebuilt monitoring templates, LogicMonitor offers full data center visibility with minimal overhead. Because of LogicMonitor's automated device configuration and network scanning, it can automatically monitor and analyze new devices, hence providing intelligent, actionable analytics without any additional management.

With full-stack support for cross-platform on-premises, virtual and cloud server monitoring, LogicMonitor can monitor and alert on everything from server uptime to fan and motherboard state. While LogicMonitor does offer a self-serve deployment strategy, it also partners with IT service providers to provide more depth.

Cost: Not provided

License: Commercial

Market: Startup/SMB/Enterprise

Scope: Server/Mobile/Web

Nagios

Originally launched as a self-hosted, open source monitoring tool, Nagios is an infrastructure-focused APM platform with a licensable enterprise-class extended interface, configuration manager and toolkit. While many APM platforms focus on the entire application stack, Nagios heavily targets infrastructure monitoring. With its popular open source core, there is a strong emphasis on security and quality that can only come from the transparency open source provides.

While the Nagios core is open source, its commercial platform -- called Nagios XI -- provides an additional layer of automation and support for larger organizations. From additional reporting to extended configurability, Nagios XI is an excellent complement to an already popular tool that aids in large-scale configuration, forecasting and scheduled reporting, with each license including 12 months of maintenance and email support.

Cost: Starting at $0 per month

License: GNU General Public License v2/Commercial

Market: Startup/SMB/Enterprise

Scope: Server

New Relic

New Relic is one of the more popular APM software vendors that prioritize the performance aspect of the tool set. With thread profiling, transaction tracing and deployment analysis, New Relic is an effective platform for debugging specific performance issues within a production application. With cloud-based and self-hosted environments, New Relic is priced to scale.

While New Relic offers six distinct APM tools, each one covers a different facet of traditional application infrastructure, enabling you to build the right platform for your needs. From mobile analytics to synthetic monitoring, New Relic is a solid self-service platform that can analyze and identify exactly what is happening within an application and where.

Cost: Starting at ~$10 per month

License: Commercial

Market: Startup/SMB/Enterprise

Scope: Server/Mobile/Web

Sensu

Another open source APM platform, Sensu is a self-hosted APM tool with a focus on server-side and infrastructure monitoring. With an open plug-in architecture, Sensu is a flexible platform with a well-documented API for building and deploying custom integrations with your own internal systems.

One thing that makes Sensu stand out from other open source APM platforms is that it is designed to be a drop-in replacement for legacy monitoring tools, like Nagios. This means that you can reuse monitoring checks and plug-ins from Nagios within Sensu with minimal overhead. This is particularly useful for organizations that are looking for a more modern open source platform to replace an existing monitoring tool.

Cost: Starting at $0 per month

License: MIT/Commercial

Market: Startup/SMB/Enterprise

Scope: Server

SolarWinds

SolarWinds is one of the more unique APM software vendors, with a number of separate and distinct monitoring tools that customers can use to create a custom monitoring tool for any size organization and application. Offering popular cloud-based tools, like Pingdom web performance management, AppOptics Infrastructure Monitoring and Loggly log monitoring and analytics, as well as enterprise-level full-stack performance monitors, SolarWinds is a dynamic vendor that can potentially be a fit for several different types of companies.

While SolarWinds offers a host of unique monitoring tools for every size organization and application, each individual tool is highly targeted for one particular use case. What this means is that each platform is designed with the specific challenges of each individual component of the stack in mind. One thing worth mentioning is that SolarWinds' products are self-servicing, meaning that, from cloud-based to bare-metal infrastructure, SolarWinds' unique suite of tools does not require any professional service.

Cost: Starting at ~$10 per month

License: Commercial

Market: Startup/SMB/Enterprise

Scope: Server/Web

Stackify

A SaaS-based APM platform, Stackify's Retrace is an affordable tool for companies of all sizes. What is particularly unique about Stackify is that it offers a unique pricing scheme to accommodate different size servers and environments. With a built-in code profiler and exception and log monitoring, Retrace is an excellent choice for smaller organizations, with the ability to scale as a company's application needs to grow.

One particularly unique component of Stackify's Retrace is that it is built specifically with Microsoft Azure hosting in mind. Retrace's Azure support stems from its own use of Microsoft Azure as a development and hosting platform, which makes it particularly well-suited for supporting applications with a similar infrastructure.

Cost: Starting at $10 per month

License: Commercial

Market: Startup/SMB/Enterprise

Scope: Server/Web

Splunk

Splunk is a popular IT operations analytics platform that offers some APM tools. Splunk's strength as one of the more visible APM software vendors lies in log aggregation and analytics via log-based monitoring, rather than more traditional agent-based monitoring. Targeted toward the enterprise, Splunk is an excellent platform that can complement any of the other APM software vendors on this list for an incredibly cohesive analytics and monitoring platform.

Similar to Datadog, Splunk has the ability to aggregate data from other APM software vendors to provide a more cohesive picture of an application's performance. Specifically, Splunk has partnered with Dynatrace to better visualize Dynatrace's performance data in the context of the data collected by Splunk -- namely, logs, events and infrastructure performance.

Cost: Starting at $0 per month

License: Commercial

Market: Enterprise

Scope: Server

This was last published in April 2018

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