Project owners and developers turn to open source APM tools to lessen the cost of application performance monitoring. In this entry, let’s examine the attributes of these open source tools.
Years ago, traditional APM solutions were designed for IT only, particularly network operations. The APMs were used to monitor data to ensure the network’s Quality of Service(QoS). However, the landscape has changed. Today, APM tools assist project owners, developers, DevOps, and others in performance monitoring. APM solutions work directly with the code.
For a software company, implementing the right Application Performance Management (APM) software is critical. Thus, it leads to the fierce competition of building robust APM solutions.
As a result, the price skyrocketed. Leading names in the industry usually charge per instance per month. Plus, it has fees for add-on features such as real-time notification, 24/7 monitoring, in-depth log analysis, etc.
While there are APM tools that offer trial versions or free simplified versions like Prefix from Stackify, the developers still have other options―open-source APM tools.
But before delving deeper into our list of open-source APM tools, let’s understand why you need APM in the first place.
Why do you need APM tools?
Any organization, regardless its software project, needs APM tools for performance monitoring. APM works like an X-ray machine that examines all the activities inside a black box. This black box contains all the complexities of your software project. These include load time, the response time of the application, etc.
APM performs intensive monitoring, gathers logs, and transforms it into insights to take your application’s performance to the next level.
Whether you opt for a paid or open-source APM tools, here are its primary functions:
- Enhance the project’s development lifecycle
- Audit code execution and performance
- Gather insights for frequently used features
- Understand application dependencies
- Discover performance issues
- Monitor the impact of your code changes
- Real User Monitoring (RUM)
- Monitor network performance
Top Open-source APM Tools
Let’s examine the top ten open-source APM tools you can leverage to build a robust software application.
Apache Skywalking APM is one of the most popular open-source tools from Github. Currently, it has 14.7k stars, 4.3k forks, and has 250 contributors. It is under the Apache License 2.0.
Apache SkyWalking works perfectly for teams dealing with microservices, cloud-native, and container-based architectures. Its initial design was for tracing applications but has evolved into an APM tool with monitoring and diagnostic capabilities.
Its root cause analysis feature fuels its popularity and other functionalities such as:
- Slow services and endpoints detection
- Supports multiple programming languages
- Service, service instance, and endpoint metrics analysis
- Performance optimization
- Distributed tracing
- Minimal resource consumption
- Topology mapping and analysis
- Custom dashboard
Another popular open-source APM tool from Github is Pinpoint. Currently, it has 10.8k stars, 3.3k forks, and it has nearly a hundred contributors. It is an open-source APM tool for large-scale distributed systems. Written in Java and PHP, it helps developers monitor Java code and is an excellent choice for enterprise deployment.
Companies that will use Pinpoint can expect an extensive analysis of their system’s structure and components interconnectivity. It is all possible using its tracing technology.
Here are other Pinpoint’s functionalities:
- A quick analysis of the application topology and network infrastructure
- Real-time application monitoring
- Code-level visibility in all processes
- Easy APM agent installation without changing any code
JavaMelody is also under the Apache License 2.0 and currently has 2.3k stars, 639 forks, and 21 contributors. It monitors Java and Java EE applications in both QA and production environments. Further, it effectively measures and calculates statistics based on actual deployment and usage of the application.
Developers find it easy to use as it integrates seamlessly with Jenkins. It provides information in a chart format. These include memory, CPU, system loads, head dump, thread dump, and others. Overall, it works as a statistics collector for application logs. Then, it interprets data logs and provides insights like possible errors that can cause performance issues in production environments.
Additionally, it has the following features:
- Low consumption of CPU resources
- Seamless plugins and third-party integrations
- Custom PDF report generation
- Real-time notifications and alerts
- Centralized Monitoring Server (CMS)
- Real User Monitoring (RUM)
- Database monitoring
Stagemonitor is an open-source APM tool for Java server applications. According to Github, it has 1.6k stars, 269 forks, and 25 contributors. It has a set of tools for testing, production, and performance monitoring of Java-based web applications. Also, it’s monitoring agent is built with support for clustered application stacks.
Here are some of its main features:
- Provides in-browser widget
- Analyze requests using the Kibana dashboard
- Monitor and gather cluster metrics
- Supports creating new plugins
Scouter recently released its version 2.10 and showcased its metrics mechanism in performance assessment. Meaning, it’s functionality revolves around metrics involving users (e.g., active, recent).
It also shows metrics in services such as active service, Transaction Process System(TPS), response time, application profiles (e.g., method profile, SQL profile, external call profile, etc.). Additionally, it provides metrics about resources (e.g., CPU, memory, network and heap usage, connection pools, etc.).
App Metrics is an open-source and cross-platform APM tool. It is a .NET library used to record metrics and run on both .NET Core and .NET framework. It has 1.7k stars, 217 forks, and 35 contributors from Github.
App Metrics measure application metrics including the rate of requests, number of user logins(on any time frame), amount of time taken to execute a database query, amount of free memory, and more.
Codespeed is an APM tool used to monitor Python-based web applications. It performs an in-depth performance analysis of the code. CPython, PyPy, and Twisted use Codespeed for performance monitoring as well. At present, it has 513 stars, 106 forks, and 36 contributors.
For a Golang application, GoAppMonitor monitors performance data using system-level and business-level based monitoring. The latter means custom monitoring wherein developers can add the repository and other items into the app. Then, identify and input the metrics they want to monitor.
To date, GoAppMonitor boasts of 458 stars and 47 forks.
App Perf is an open-source APM tool that aims to provide project owners and developers with an easy to set up, navigate, and use. It has 347 stars, 44 forks, and ten contributors. Read about App Perf to learn more about its prerequisites, setup processes (localhost, Docker, Kubernetes, etc.)
InspectIT Ocelot works as a Java agent for collecting application performance. It applies a traceability matrix to the JavaEE application’s behavior data. NovaTec Consulting GmbH developed InspectIT but became an open-source in 2015.
InspectIT is known for its ability to:
- Conduct trace-based analysis and remote traces
- Provide alerts
- Conduct end-user monitoring
- Report SQL and exceptions
- Integrate third-party open-source tools (e.g.,Prometheus, Jaeger, or Elasticsearch)
Currently, it has 108 stars, 31 forks, and 20 contributors.
Finding the right APM is Critical to your Success
APM solutions monitor the performance of software applications and ensure quick resolutions to problems related to it. As technology continues to evolve, applications may become complex and distributed. Hence, this leads to stiffer competition to bring the most value to end users.
Not only that, APM tools aid development teams in adopting Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipeline practices. Therefore, a high-level monitoring solution like Retrace from Stackify is beneficial. It offers centralized logging, code profiling, error tracking, app and server monitoring, and others. Retrace can pinpoint the exact locations of errors and fix problems at the source before it becomes a problem with customers. Use Retrace for high-level monitoring, learn from your data, and speed up your application building. Try your FREE, two week Retrace trial today!