application performance monitoring (APM) definition

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Cloud application performance management: Doing the job right
Contributor(s): Eugene Demaitre, Mark Brunelli

Application performance monitoring (APM) is an area of information technology (IT) that focuses on making sure software application programs perform as expected. The goal of performance monitoring is to provide end users with a quality end-user experience.

Application monitoring tools provide administrators with the data they need to quickly discover, isolate and solve problems that negatively impact an application's performance. Such tools can be specific to a particular application or monitor multiple applications on the same network, collecting data about client CPU utilization, memory demands, data throughput and bandwidth

One of the most important steps in any application performance monitoring initiative is combining data from disparate monitoring "silos" into a correlation engine and dashboard. The dashboard makes data logs easier to read and saves IT staff from memory-dependent and error-prone manual correlation and analysis.

In virtualized environments, application monitoring software helps administrators watch application servers so that they comply with service-level agreements (SLAs). Business rules can be set to alert an administrator when there is a problem, assuring that business-critical applications and functions are given priority. 

The monitoring of resources that support application program performance in private and hybrid cloud environments is called cloud application performance management (CAPM). The change to a more distributed network architecture in the cloud has inspired vendors to increase the performance monitoring capabilities of networked applications.


This was first published in December 2013

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