Resource Monitoring vs. Application Performance Monitoring (APM)
How Middleware Resource Monitoring is Different from APM
November 14, 2016

Ted Wilson
SL Corporation

Share this

Is middleware resource monitoring the same thing as APM? No – but it is highly complementary with APM and organizations generally need both for complex, large-scale application environments that depend on middleware.

End to end resource monitoring is fundamentally different.


We see four general categories in the enterprise monitoring landscape:

1. Low level infrastructure monitoring, often open source or low-cost

2. Domain-specific admin and monitoring tools including database, server, log, and vendor-specific tools

3. Application-aware resource monitoring of infrastructure

4. APM, including transaction tracing and end-user monitoring

APM, and especially transaction monitoring, has its place. It is an important capability for some types of users such as developers who need to understand the behavior of their transactions and how they are performing. It is also very good at identifying code-based problems. If your problems are in the code, then APM can help. But what if the problem is not in the application itself but the infrastructure that supports that application? Most application performance issues are not code-based problems.

Oftentimes, the problems lie in the middleware tiers, servers and other resources. These are equally as important to monitor.

The Complexity of Middleware

Middleware components are usually distributed, clustered and shared across multiple services and applications. Many organizations use middleware provided by multiple vendors across multiple tiers, on-premise, in the cloud, or hybrid. And a single middleware technology, such as TIBCO EMS, requires real-time and historical metric gathering for the EMS Servers, topics, queues, and destinations to really understand performance. An effective monitoring system will also provide information about other interdependencies. Is a problem with pending messages really occurring because of a CPU issue with a VMware host?

This all makes holistic monitoring tricky. So when an application problem lies in a middleware tier, your application support and middleware support teams require specialized tools to proactively identify the problem before the application is affected. If they are relying on end user or transaction monitoring for this type of problem, chances are the middleware components are going to be a black box. APM tools just don’t provide adequate visibility into the middleware.

So before you increase spending on APM tools, be sure you have the middleware tier covered and those support teams have the tools they need to be proactive in resolving the infrastructure level problems.

Ask yourself how you solve the majority of your Sev 1 incidents today. Are you using tools that help you understand the performance of your clustered middleware? Or are you using tools that help you understand your transactions and transaction throughput? The answer may help you in prioritizing your monitoring investments.


Ted Wilson is Chief Operating Officer at SL Corporation.

Share this

The Latest

December 15, 2017

CIOs around the globe are more determined than ever to achieve digital transformation within their organizations despite setbacks, according to a survey by Logicalis ...

December 14, 2017

The Spiceworks 2018 IT Career Outlook found that 32 percent of IT professionals plan to search for or take an IT job with a new employer in the next 12 months ...

December 12, 2017

Downtime and security risks were present in each cloud environment tested, according to 2016 Private Cloud Resiliency Benchmarks, a report from Continuity Software ...

December 11, 2017

Companies that empower employees with the applications they want and need, and make them readily accessible — anytime, anywhere, on any device — can benefit from measurable gains at the individual and organizational level, according to a survey, The Impact of the Digital Workforce: A New Equilibrium of the Digitally Transformed Enterprise, conducted by VMware ...

December 08, 2017

Metrics-oriented thinking is key to continuous improvement – and a core tenant of any agile or DevOps philosophy. Metrics are factual and once agreed upon, these facts are used to drive discussions and methods. They also allow for a collaborative effort to execute decisions that contribute towards business outcomes ...

December 06, 2017

The recent outage of the University of Cambridge website hosting Stephen Hawking's doctoral thesis is a prime example of what happens when niche websites become exposed to mainstream levels of traffic ...

December 05, 2017

Even as many organizations continue to adopt multi-cloud technologies as part of their dramatic transformation, the mainframe remains a relevant and growing data center hub for many, according to BMC's 12th annual Mainframe Research Report ...

December 04, 2017

Banks are laying the foundation for the digitization of their businesses and anticipate emerging technologies -- from IoT to biometric authentications and blockchain -- to make a substantial imprint on the industry within five years, according to a recent survey of banking professionals commissioned by VMware ...

December 01, 2017

A recent blog on APMdigest — Protecting Network Performance is as Essential as Securing the Network — mentions that performance issues and outages are possible when security tools (like an IPS, WAF, etc.) are inserted inline. However, one easy way to mitigate this concern is to deploy a bypass switch before the inline tool ...

November 30, 2017

While self-service and self-help IT are in common practice, about half of organizations surveyed are still struggling with full deployment and realizing its value, according to a new report by Ivanti and the Service Desk Institute ...