Is An APM Solution Worth The Investment?
Application performance monitoring (APM) solutions are a crucial tool for modern software companies in 2023. They offer invaluable insights into application performance, including response times, error rates, and more. But are they worth the investment?
In this article, we'll dive deep into the economics of application monitoring, including the costs, benefits, and potential ROI. By the end of it, you should have a clear understanding of whether an APM solution is worth the investment for your business.
Let's get started!
What is application performance monitoring?
Application performance monitoring (APM) platforms are software solutions designed to monitor the performance of applications in real time. They typically provide in-depth visibility into response times, error rates, and other key metrics.
The goal of an APM platform is to help businesses identify and troubleshoot problems quickly and accurately, so they can keep their applications running smoothly. This helps them avoid costly downtime and improve user experience.
How can APM solutions help?
As an example, let's imagine you're operating a popular to-do list app built in Python. Your application works with a number of microservices, including a front-end web server, a back-end database, and an authentication service.
One day, customers begin complaining that user data isn't loading properly in the app. You & your development team spend hours trying to figure out the root cause, but you can't seem to pinpoint it.
After a (costly) day, you discover that a misconfiguration in your authentication service was leading to repeat requests which clogged up your database and significantly slowed down your user experience.
That's exactly where APM platforms come in. Instead of spending hours trying to figure out the root cause of a problem, looking for bottlenecks, and manually testing each service, an APM platform can let you quickly and accurately pinpoint the cause of your issue. This saves you and your developers a significant amount of time (and money!) in troubleshooting.
In addition to helping you identify problems quickly, APM solutions also provide detailed insights into application performance which allow you to optimize and improve it over time. For example, they can be used to identify slow database queries or backend services that are taking too long to respond.
Ultimately, this enables businesses to ensure their applications are running optimally and delivering a superior user experience. And — since development time is often expensive, APM solutions routinely save businesses thousands by helping them identify, streamline, and fix problems fast.
What are the costs?
The cost of an APM solution depends on a variety of factors, including the number of applications you're monitoring and the features you need.
For most small to mid-sized businesses, an APM solution will typically cost between $200 and $300 per month for a single application. This includes error monitoring, response time monitoring, and other features.
If you need a more advanced setup — such as application tracing or distributed logging — the cost can go up significantly.
Many mid-sized enterprises spend several thousand per month on APM solutions because it's generally more cost-effective than hiring additional staff to manually monitor applications.
Are APM solutions worth the investment?
Consider development time. Many developers are often paid upwards of $50-$100/hour. If your team spends a week troubleshooting an issue that could've been identified in minutes with APM, the cost is almost invariably much higher than the $200-300 subscription fee.
For a more specific example, let's say the user authentication problem we discussed earlier took your team two days to identify and fix. At a rate of $100/hour, that's $4,000 in development costs — much higher than the cost of an APM solution.
Additionally, companies often suffer significant opportunity costs as a result of downtime, including lost customers, missed revenue opportunities, and brand damage. An APM solution can help you avoid such costs by ensuring your applications are running smoothly and delivering a superior user experience.
Generally, you think of APM solutions as a special form of insurance (with a twist). Most of the time, your application is functional and operating normally. But in the event of a major problem, an APM solution can help you diagnose and fix it quickly — saving your team time (and money) in the process in exchange for a small monthly fee.
And as a cherry on top, you also get valuable insights into application performance which can help you optimize it and ensure your users are receiving a premium experience.
Features you should look for in an APM solution.
When shopping for an APM solution, there are a few key features you should look out for.
First and foremost is scalability. You want to make sure the platform can grow with your needs — whether you're monitoring one application or 100.
Second, consider the breadth of metrics available. The more data points you have access to, the easier it will be to identify issues quickly and accurately. Look for solutions that provide in-depth visibility into (at minimum) the following areas:
- Database monitoring,
- Error logging & debugging,
- Response time monitoring,
- Deploy tracking,
- Transaction traces,
- Memory & CPU usage,
- Logging & tracing.
Finally, make sure the platform is user-friendly — you don't want to spend hours trying to understand how it works. Look for platforms with good documentation and a clean, straightforward dashboard so you can quickly start monitoring your applications.
Scout APM: a comprehensive APM solution
Scout APM is a comprehensive application performance monitoring platform that checks all the boxes. It provides in-depth visibility into response times, errors, and more — so you can quickly identify & fix issues before they become costly problems.
Plus, Scout APM has an intuitive dashboard which makes it easy to get started right away. And with its affordable pricing, it's an excellent option for small to mid-sized businesses. Most teams that switch from other solutions like New Relic see over 30% cost savings immediately, with no compromise on features.
In closing: Is an APM solution worth the investment?
In short, yes — in most cases, an APM solution is definitely worth the investment. Not only will it save you time & money by helping you identify & fix issues quickly, but it'll also help improve user experience and protect your bottom line from costly downtime.
Looking for a comprehensive monitoring platform that won't break the bank? Scout APM is a great choice. Our feature-rich platform offers in-depth visibility into response times, errors, and more — at an affordable price. Plus, we provide excellent support & documentation so you can get up and running quickly.