The path to application quality and performance comes in many shapes and sizes. Most organizations today use an Application Performance Management (APM) tool to monitor their software availability and performance. At the same time, many organizations use performance testing tools to ensure application scalability and identify performance bottlenecks. But, like milk and cookies, the real magic comes when you bring APM and performance testing together. Here are the top 5 reasons your organization should use performance testing and APM alongside one another.

Written by: Johan Sandberg, Product Evangelist at Apica

1. Performance testing and APM give full visibility into your system’s performance

As application complexity continues to grow, it can feel overwhelming to stay on top of the multitude of distributed transactions in dynamic application stacks. By using APM alongside your load tests you can get a real-time overview of how the different application layers and metrics relate to each other instead of having to analyze each component’s metrics by themselves. This unified view gives you deeper visibility into how each part of the system– the web layer, the application layer, servers, cloud services, and so on–is performing at varying levels of load.

2. APM helps you sort out priorities your system architecture

Many performance engineers get caught up zooming in on specific transactions and specific parts of an application. By introducing an APM tool you get a dynamic overview of the architecture of the whole application and this, in turn, gives you a deeper insight into dependencies and how the performance of one component can affect other components. This makes it easier for IT Ops and Development teams to prioritize their performance optimization efforts and focus on what’s most important to the end-user experience.

3. APM and performance testing let you fix code issues faster

When a system approaches the edge of its maximum performance, a small percentage of the transactions start to increase in response time. By combining APM and load testing, teams can identify what is limiting an application’s performance through the tests themselves, and dig deeper into the issues by analyzing the application code and extracting real transaction metrics. By drilling down to the stack trace level, teams can pinpoint the most disruptive calls and identify root-cause. This elevates the conversation around the load test results and gives the best possible input for developers to shorten the turn-around time for fixing a performance problem.

4. APM allows you to build a capacity plan based on the real application

Another lesser-known advantage of using APM in performance tests is that it can provide you with very specific metrics for hardware sizing of production platforms.

By using APM metrics of how much each transaction costs in terms of CPU utilization it’s possible to base capacity estimations on the real application. This enables teams to make the right investments in capacity and software licenses and, in the end, save the business money.

5. APM helps define realistic performance tests

Using APM in production gives teams the ultimate, most detailed information for setting up and running realistic performance tests. By having insight into how the system performs in production, teams can reproduce issues in tests more easily and take swift action to troubleshoot issues. Using APM in production then gives the organization instant feedback as to whether a fix has actually solved the problem. It also helps teams engage in more data-driven discussions based on reliable intelligence, not intuition.

More than 50% of IT organizations lack the tools they need to fully manage the application layer. Read our white paper: Extending APM with Synthetic Monitoring and Testing, to learn today’s industry trends in the context of extending APM with user experience monitoring.