WTF is Application Monitoring? Do you Need it? | Hacker Noon

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Now that you’ve built the swanky software application of your dreams, what’s next?

Well, if you’re an experienced programmer or a veteran product manager, you already know that you now need to put a robust application monitoring system in place.

For those readers who do not fall in the above categories, an application monitoring system is a set of processes (usually made available via a standalone application) to help provide an admin with runtime metrics of the software system’s performance. 

Think of it as the dashboard that has information from diverse sources and tracks multiple datapoints to present to you an easier-to-read graphical user interface with charts and graphs.

But, Why Would I Need an app for That?

From a purely technical standpoint, you don’t and there are two reasons for that:

  • You can build your own dashboard (by diverting resources from your main software).
  • Your software would already be a smash-hit on launch and application monitoring is for “other people.”

For all else, application monitoring is not a question of why but more of a “How quickly can I integrate it” and “How Deep does the Instrumentation go?”.

Let’s Start With The Basics First, Shall We?

Maybe, you’re a one-man-army and built your software on your own. Or, it was a team effort.

In both cases, your code needs to be evaluated for memory bloats, poor performance, or even, a database query that could be faster. 

You could do all of that manually or simply let a software take care of ‘your software’. There’s a reason why we all clamor for automation — this is one of those.

So, It’ll Consume Resources To Save Resources?

There are two ways of looking at this:

You get a cat to catch the mice eating away at your grain. Then you get a cow for milk to feed the cat. Then, you get a person to care for the cow — that’s wasteful resource allocation. We all need to avoid that.

The second way is how armies fight wars. Tactics aside, it’s almost always a numbers game. When resources are optimized, you get a better output — you won the war

Makes Sense?

APM software is sort of like the second category. They’re fine-tuned to not consume resources recklessly while also providing you with a unified dashboard to visualize and evaluate a lot of seemingly unrelated process flows such as end-user journeys or component-level performance.