Making sure that web apps are performing as expected is essential. To do this, you need modern monitoring tools, of which there are many.
While AppDynamics is one of the most popular and widely used application performance monitoring (APM) solutions out there, it is not perfect.
In fact, plenty of developers will be better off with one of the many alternatives to AppDynamics which are out there at the moment.
To bring yourself up to speed with what the APM market looks like right now and explore why rivals to AppDynamics could be better suited to your needs, read on!
Why does web app monitoring matter?
Tracking web app performance is necessary for a number of reasons. Whether your apps are only used internally or they are customer-facing, if they struggle to function as intended, then this will have a negative impact on everything from productivity to brand reputation.
Rather than leaving this up to chance or trying to manually keep tabs on performance, APM tools have evolved to empower devs.
In addition, monitoring gives you a great baseline against which performance can be measured. Without this, you won't know whether problems are there in the first place, or you might struggle to troubleshoot issues when they become conspicuous.
Automating web app monitoring with modern solutions means you don't need to spend every waking hour worrying about performance. Instead, you can react to alerts on the fly, in addition to carrying out preventative maintenance.
Where does AppDynamics fall short?
In terms of its feature set, it is hard to fault AppDynamics. There are monitoring tools for every single metric you could imagine and extensive opportunities to customize your experience.
However, all of this complexity comes at the cost of usability. And even if you are able to get to grips with the software, you might not actually have a use for all of the abilities it brings to the table. This would make it a wasteful addition to your web development arsenal, as a more streamlined and cost-efficient alternative will serve you just as well.
That is not to say that you might never have the need to switch to using AppDynamics; it's just a case of not assuming that the most prominent brand in the APM sphere is unquestionably the most useful in your specific scenario.
What are alternatives out there?
There is a multitude of APM services to weigh up, aside from AppDynamics. The frontrunners include:
- New Relic
This is just barely scratching the surface of the broader APM market, but it demonstrates that your choices are extensive. In turn, this should motivate you to compare and contrast the monitoring solutions and pick the one that is the most affordable and effective from the top alternative App Stores.
How can you choose the right APM?
This obviously comes down to personal preference as well as being a decision to make based on the scope, scale, and design of your web app.
For example, ease of use may be a priority, both in terms of the setup process and the speed with which problems can be identified and dealt with. If app uptime is a priority and you cannot afford to spend hours getting to grips with an overcomplicated APM user interface, let this guide your choice.
Price is another talking point, and many of the most appealing platforms have scalable packages that are tiered to keep costs in check. Ideally, you'll choose a service that offers a free trial, so you can test it out at no cost.
Support should also be scrutinized because you don't want to be left in limbo when disaster strikes and you are unable to get adequate assistance from the APM vendor.
Development ecosystem compatibility is another obvious factor to look into carefully. Whether you are building within a Linux environment, working in Windows, or specializing in a proprietary equivalent, you want to know that your APM ticks the right boxes in this regard.
Obviously, this is something that AppDynamics offers in spades, but sometimes a narrower solution will be better, as discussed earlier.
Automation and analytics are part and parcel of most tools in this space, although again, there are differences from platform to platform. For example, if you need big data integration, this is not that common at the moment, with Dynatrace standing out from the crowd in this respect.
In short, setting out a list of priorities before you start your search is sensible. This will save your time and also prevent you from making the wrong decision, as much as it points you down the right path.
How do the top contenders stack up?
To help you narrow down your search for alternatives to AppDynamics, let's briefly go over the features and advantages of the competitors we mentioned earlier.
A purveyor of plenty of different monitoring platforms, its SAM performance monitoring solution is known for its straightforward deployability, its broad array of supported app templates, its automated app issue remediation, and its extensive customization.
While the costs of SolarWinds' APM are not the most affordable, it makes up for this with its holistic approach to making web app management easier.
Making impressive use of AI enhancements, Dynatrace manages to detect and deal with performance snafus faster than its rivals and earlier too.
As mentioned, its big data integrations for analytics are also impressive, leading to a lower likelihood of outages as well as shorter periods of downtime when they do occur.
Pinpointing anomalous app behaviors and alerting you to them so fixes can be found is what DataDog does best. It also outshines other APMs with its support for multi-user collaboration, which is ideal for larger teams, or those working remotely.
Encompassing application management alongside the ability to oversee entire network infrastructures, whether locally hosted or on the cloud, Zenoss is a wide-ranging platform.
Even so, it still manages to boast a user-friendly interface that won't feel overwhelming to first-timers while still giving power users plenty to get their teeth into.
Sniffing out the specific line of code which is causing web app conundrums is part and parcel of the New Relic experience.
It can even achieve this in the case that your app is an amalgamation of fragmented, distinct services that feed into it. Rooting out bottlenecks in complex, disparate web app environments is what New Relic does best.
Splunk covers all the bases for modern web app monitoring, with cloud-based setups being the focus here.
Intelligent use of machine learning means incidents can be responded to more rapidly, and the tool will improve its abilities with use, adapting to your needs.
Hopefully, you can now see just how varied and diverse the application performance monitoring market is today. So if you were only aware of AppDynamics and hadn't considered its alternatives, there are many reasons to take the time to do this.
Likewise, you need to be prepared to review how well the APM you choose fulfills your requirements as a developer, create professional website, and migrate to a different solution if it doesn't cut the mustard, rather than staying put.