10 Application Performance Monitoring (APM) Trends for MSPs


When we launched ChannelE2E back in September 2015, I vowed to look beyond some of the established VAR and MSP software markets. While acronyms like RMM (remote monitoring and management), PSA (professional services automation) and BDR (backup and disaster recovery) remain on my radar, most readers know I've spent considerable time studying up on APM (application performance monitoring).

Why's that? The short answer involves the next big step for MSPs. As servers, endpoints and networks become increasingly reliable, MSPs will be forced to increase their focus on application performance. I'm not necessarily referring to Office 365, Salesforce.com and other mainstream cloud applications. Instead, turn your attention to DevOps, customized code and home grown applications.

As customers increasingly move workloads and applications to public clouds like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, they'll need new ways to monitor, manage, optimize and troubleshoot that code. That's where APM enters the picture. MSPs that leverage APM actually dive right into application code, pinpoint code problems, and make corrections and optimizations from there.

10 APM Trends, Tips and Links to Track

So how can you get up to speed on APM? Here are 10 first steps:

1. Reading about APM: You can get up to speed and track our ongoing updates here: www.ChannelE2E.com/category/APM.

2. APM-Centric Conferences: Keep an eye on New Relic FutureStack and AppDynamics AppSphere. Both of those gatherings happen to be this week. FutureStack conferences also are held regionally throughout the year. I don't know if AppSphere has a similar regional approach.

3. APM Tool Providers: In addition to New Relic and AppDynamics, there are at least 40 APM software providers, according to ProfitBricks.

4. Look for Web- and Cloud-Scale Capabilities: I'm not in a position to make specific product recommendations. But when you make your evaluations, check to see if the offering has web- or cloud-scale capabilities. That means each time a new application resource goes live on AWS or Azure, the APM tool automatically tracks and monitors it. In other words, you don't have to manually scale APM up or down. It should scale with the cloud application itself.

5. APM Meets Infrastructure Monitoring: Similar to how RMM and PSA software tools converged in the MSP market, ChannelE2E is witnessing APM and Infrastructure Monitoring converge. An example: Datadog is extending from infrastructure monitoring to APM. On the flip side, New Relic is pushing from APM to infrastructure monitoring.

6. APM, Infrastructure Monitoring Meets Service Desks: Yes, APM and cloud infrastructure monitoring tools are starting to connect with service desk platforms. For example, Datadog just confirmed its Zendesk integration while also reiterating its Salesforce Desk support.

7. MSP Software Companies Prep APM Moves: Keep an eye on SolarWinds MSP, in particular. The company's parent (SolarWinds) promotes APM tools to midmarket enterprises. It's a reasonably safe bet that SolarWinds MSP will eventually promote those APM tools to MSPs.

8. APM Partner Programs: In many cases, APM partner programs are just getting started or reaching the formalization stage. New Relic points to MSP and reseller momentum involving 2nd Watch, Atea, Slalom Consulting and SoftwareONE, among others. Similarly, Datadog is starting to gain partner momentum and AppDynamics has partner momentum as well.

9. Still Confused?: Then check out this quick video from New Relic CEO Lew Cirne. (Disclaimer: Jump right to 1:56 in the video to avoid Wall Street Pundit Jim Cramer’s usual cheerleading intro.)

Video link

10. APM Integrated Into Public Clouds: It's already happening. For instance, AppDynamics is building deeper integrations with Microsoft Azure -- potentially giving MSPs and customers a deeper look at their application stacks. New Relic has made similar moves with Google Cloud Platform. More moves are coming...

11. Bonus: What APM tools, technologies, business needs and trends did we overlook? Feel free to email me your thoughts: [email protected].

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.