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APM vs. NPM - What's the Difference?

Posted On: April 24, 2019

Topic: Multi-Cloud

APM vs NPMTwo terms that get thrown around a lot in our industry are APM and NPM, and it seems they are often interchanged (or confused). So, what is the difference between APM (Application Performance Monitoring) and NPM (Network Performance Monitoring)?


APM tools are inherently software-based and usually use agents that monitor the application run-time to track performance and connectivity details around application transactions. These details can be used for alerting on slow transactions, troubleshooting and user experience optimization.

NPM tools on the other hand are agent-less appliances that live on the network, capturing packets and analyzing them as they’re sent over the network. NPM gathers metrics like response times, server and port protocols and route analytics, with the goal of monitoring the health of the network infrastructure.

One or Both?

With the rapid explosion of cloud-based applications and mounting data congestion, there are going to be performance issues which cause slowing on both the applications and the network. This is where network and application visibility can play a critical role in the customer experience (aka, today’s new currency).

With today’s application-centric world, organizations need deeper visibility at the application layer regardless how fast packets are traveling through the network, and NPM can’t necessarily provide the real-time detail your application and DevOps teams need to diagnose, troubleshoot and identify problem root causes. Even though it’s possible to achieve some level of performance monitoring with NPM, you’ll find yourself running into limitations in application visibility pretty fast.

OneNeck’s VP of Advisory Consulting, Jeff Budge sums it up like this… “Overall, the broad advantage of APM is the ability to shift the focus of service delivery measurement by centering it on the user and application. This model differs from traditional bottom-up approaches which focus on disconnected server, network, database, etc. metrics and then attempt to piece meal these and interpret the user experience. In the APM context, IT and the Business initiate conversations on similar footing – the user perspective; and by seeing a common view, become more aligned by allowing this to drive action into the technology stack.”

Who Rules the World? Apps do!

It’s an application-run world we live in today. And your customers aren’t going to settle for less than stellar engagements – and more importantly, they’re loyal to the brands that deliver them. That’s the new reality. An effective APM strategy helps businesses deliver consistently flawless digital experiences by connecting end-user experience and application performance to business outcomes in the most complex, distributed, multi-cloud environments.