How to choose between APM and an end-to-end monitoring tool

Created on March 14, 2023 at 5:01 pm

In the past, APM was the go-to tool for monitoring older monolithic web services. APM tools provided detailed insights into web service performance, allowing administrators to identify potential issues before they became widespread. However, while many teams continue to use traditional application monitoring and are satisfied with the results, there are questions to consider when it comes to APM tools like Scout APM.

Firstly, it’s important to ask if your team is committed to open standards. Open standards can save time and resources by avoiding the need for complex proprietary workarounds or bespoke protocols. They also provide a well-defined framework for engineering teams to collaborate on developing better operational processes and systems. Standard APM tools transmit data in their own protocols, which can lead to gaining specialized vendor experience rather than open standards.

Secondly, it’s important to consider if you’re locked into one vendor. Some APM vendors claim to embrace open standards, but in reality, they may be holding your data hostage. This makes it difficult to move to different services, as historical data portability may not be possible. If you’re using an APM tool, you may have to commit to a single tool for a long time, possibly years.

Thirdly, it’s important to consider the monolithic nature of your architecture. While APM works well in a monolithic environment or with a limited number of services, it can become difficult to manage once you have many services running.

Lastly, it’s important to consider the flexibility and customization you need. A closed-source APM tool may limit you to the uses predicted by its creators, whereas with OpenTelemetry and the OpenTelemetry Collector, you can send, format, and view data from your services no matter your use case.

OpenTelemetry is particularly useful for monitoring large numbers of microservices efficiently. It allows for the quick diagnosis of issues and the detection of performance bottlenecks in distributed systems. With TelemetryHub, you can easily view and share distributed traces, showing how requests are traveling across your application.

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