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Elastic APM OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Elastic APM is #15 ranked solution in APM tools. IT Central Station users give Elastic APM an average rating of 8 out of 10. Elastic APM is most commonly compared to Dynatrace:Elastic APM vs Dynatrace. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 25% of all views.
What is Elastic APM?

Elastic APM is an application performance monitoring system built on the Elastic Stack. It allows you to monitor software services and applications in real time — collect detailed performance information on response time for incoming requests, database queries, calls to caches, external HTTP requests, and more. This makes it easy to pinpoint and fix performance problems quickly.

Elastic APM also automatically collects unhandled errors and exceptions. Errors are grouped based primarily on the stacktrace, so you can identify new errors as they appear and keep an eye on how many times specific errors happen.

Buyer's Guide

Download the Application Performance Management (APM) Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

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PSCU, Entel, VITAS, Mimecast, Barrett Steel, Butterfield Bank
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RangaNathan
Technical Consultant at a manufacturing company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Consultant
The best full stack observability compared to any other tool

Pros and Cons

  • "For full stack observability, Elastic is the best tool compared with any other tool ."
  • "Elastic APM's visualization is not that great compared to other tools. It's number of metrics is very low."

What is our primary use case?

Elastic APM is a kind of log aggregation tool and we're using it for that purpose. 

What is most valuable?

Elastic APM is very new so we haven't explored much on it, but it's quite interesting. It comes with a free offering included in the same license. So we are looking to explore more. It is still not as mature as other tools like Kibana, AppDynamics or New Relic products related to application performance monitoring. Elastic APM is still evolving, but it's quite interesting to be able to get all the similar options and features in Elastic APM.

What needs improvement?

In terms of what could be improved, Elastic APM's visualization is not that great compared to other tools. It's number of metrics is very low. Their JVM metrics are much less while running on CPU memory and on top of that you get a thread usage. They're not giving much on application performance metrics. In that respect, they have to improve a little bit. If you compare that with other tools, such as New Relic, which is also not giving many insights, it would be good to get internal calls or to see backend calls. We are not getting this kind of metric.

On the other hand, if you go to the trace view, it gives you a good backend calls view. That backend call view is also capturing everything, and we need some kind of control over it, which it does not have. For example, if I don't want some of the sequence selected, there should be controls for that. Moreover you need to do all these things manually. Nowadays, just imagine any product opted to do conservation manually, that would be really disastrous. We don't want to do that manually. For now this needs to be either by API or some kind of automated procedure. If you want to install the APM Agent, because it is manual we would need to tune it so that the APIs are available for the APM site. That's one drawback.

Additionally, the synthetic monitoring and real user monitoring services are not available here. Whereas in New Relic the user does get such services.

The third drawback I see is the control site. For now, only one role is defined for this APM. So if I want to restrict the user domain, for example, if in your organization you have two or three domains, domain A, domain B, domain C, but you want to give access to the specific domain or a specific application, I am not sure how to do that here.

Both the synthetic and process monitoring should be improved. For the JVM, Java Process Monitoring, and any process monitoring, they have to have more metrics and a breakdown of the TCP/IP, and the tools are giving me - they don't provide many metrics in size. You get everything, but you fail to visualize it. The New Relic only focuses on transactions, and Elastic APM also focuses on similar stuff, but I am still looking for other options like thread usage, backend calls, front end calls, or how many front end and backend calls. This kind of metric is definitely required.

We don't have much control. For example, some backend calls trigger thousands of prepared statements, update statements, or select statements, and we don't have any control. If I only want select statement, not update statements, this kind of control should be there and properly supplied. The property file is very big and it is still manual, so if you want control agent properties you need UI control or API control. Nowadays, the world is looking for the API site so they'll be able to develop more smartly. They are looking for these kinds of options to enrich their dashboard creation and management.

For how long have I used the solution?

I'm new to Elastic APM, but I do have very good APM knowledge since I have been using APM almost 10 years and Elastic APM for just two years. I see that Elastic APM is still evolving.

How are customer service and technical support?

Elastic APM's technical support is pretty good and we have a platinum license for log aggregation. They respond very quickly and they follow a very good strategy. They have one dedicated resource especially for us. I'm not sure if that is common for other customers, but they assigned a very dedicated resource. So for any technical issue a dedicated resource will respond. Then, if that resource is busy or not available someone will attend that call or respond with support. In that way, Elastic support fully understands your environment.

Otherwise, if you go with the global support model, they have to understand your environment first and keep asking the same question again and again. How many clusters do you have, what nodes do you have, these kind of questions. Then you need to supply that diagnosis. This is a challenge. If they have a dedicated or a support resource they usually don't ask these questions because they'll understand your environment very well because they have worked with you on previous cases. In that sense they provide very good support and answer the question immediately.

They provide immediate support. Usually they get back you the same or the next day. I think it's pretty good compared to any other support. It was even very good compared to New Relic.

What other advice do I have?

There are two advantages to Elastic APM. It is open source and if somebody wants to try it out in their administration it's free to use. Also, it has full stack observability. For full stack observability, Elastic is the best tool compared with any other tool like New Relic or AppDynamics or Dynatrace. I'm not sure about Dynatrace, since I never worked with it, but I have worked with AppDynamics and New Relic. However, with their log aggregation side, there is still a lot to get implemented here.

I'd like bigger flexibility. That means we would get all the system logs, all the cloud logs, all the kinds of logs aggregated in a single location. On top of that, if they could have better metrics for handling data together it would give a greater advantage for observability. The Observability platform is pretty good because you already have logged data and information like that. If you just add APM data and visualize, you will get much needed information. How are you are going to visualize and how are you going to identify the issues?

For this purpose, Elastic is best. If you are really looking for an observability platform, Elastic provides both of these two options, APM plus log aggregation. But still they have to improve or they have to provide APIs for synthetic monitoring, internet monitoring, etc... If I think about synthetic monitoring, you can't compare New Relic with Elastic today. Elastic is much better.

These are the improvements they have to look at. They support similar functionalities of synthetic monitoring, so it's not a hundred percent APM friendly, but if you look at their observability platform, their full stack observability together with their log aggregation, Elastic APM is a greater advantage.

On a scale of one to ten, I would rate Elastic APM an eight out of 10.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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MC
Line Technical Agent at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
A complete tool that's very affordable and offers a good open source version

Pros and Cons

  • "The price is very less expensive compared to the other solutions."
  • "The solution would be better if it was capable of more automation, especially in a monitoring capacity or for the response to abnormalities."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case for our organization is handling login events. We also utilize it for some big data use cases.

How has it helped my organization?

Elastic APM help us anticipate and have a more accurate view in our IT exosystem. We deploy it specially for two mobile applications at the beginning. 

In addition to the fact that we are more proactive in the detection of incident before they occur, we can on one click see the request path from the customer to the backend. It is very useful and permits us to gain time. 

Before Elastic APM, we had to connect to different servers to check where is the issue. Now, we gain about 2h.

What is most valuable?

The solution is more of an optional variety platform. It's more than an APM platform. It goes further than that. I'd describe it as a more complete tool. 

The licenses are unlimited and based on the number of elastic search hosts contrary to the other solutions that are working in a model for a license for each instance monitored, for example, which is actually a very good thing. 

The price is very less expensive compared to the other solutions.

What needs improvement?

Our licensing model isn't a full one. We are in a less interesting model, so we do not have intelligence on it. We don't get system intelligence and machine learning models, however, I don't know if it is relevant to what we use the solution for. 

We don't have the platinum version. We are on the gold version. Our system intelligence and machine learning, and the other things regarding the competencies of everything, we have to build ourselves. It's not easy, as we are in West Africa and sometimes we do not have the relevant competencies. It takes time to get the skills we need to use the solution effectively.

The solution would be better if it was capable of more automation, especially in a monitoring capacity or for the response to abnormalities.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for about one year now. It hasn't been too long.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the solution is decent. There aren't crashes. I don't recall experiencing bugs or glitches.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We currently have a gold subscription. In the platinum subscription, normally we have a Kubernetes version, so the scalability is built into it. With gold, we do not have the scalability capability. We do not have the top subscription license.

That's not to say the solution can't scale. You just need to have the proper subscription if that is your organization's goal.

How are customer service and technical support?

We've had issues in the past and have had to reach out to technical support. They were helpful. We've been satisfied with the level of support we've been getting. It's been great.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is simple, however, you need to have the resources necessary to set it up. We are working in an open source environment. It's simple, but it's a long process. You have to build the core competencies to be able to build the solution. This part is difficult, or, at least, can be difficult for some organizations.

We took approximately three months to run a POC (Proof Of Concept). Then, we started to work with it by covering one application stack. We have covered approximately three applications. This was done over the course of six months. 

However, how long it will take depends on the core competencies that you have and that you are working with. If you have the core competencies necessary, it would go pretty fast.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We are using the open source version, so there's been no need to build anything ourselves. We do not have a lot of casual issues, and, compared to other solutions like AppDynamics, Dynatrace, and New Relic, it's much cheaper. The costs are very, very affordable.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before choosing, we compare the solution to Dynatrace, New Relic and App Dynamics. We had a demo for each solution and compared the prices. We notice that these solutions had almost the same functionnalities. The difference was probably in the effort cost to deploy and implement the different use cases. We choose Elastic for the pricing and the fact that it's include the stack for log and event management.

What other advice do I have?

We're a customer. We don't have a professional relationship with Elastic Path.

The solution is fantastic. I would rate it nine out of ten. It's practically perfect for our purposes and meets our needs. We still have to build it out. We're relatively new to using it.

To make it a perfect ten, for me, the ideal solution would be one that could automate a bit more for monitoring of our whole information system. If we could deploy something, and then discover automatically all our stacks or all of our infrastructure (like the one agent for Dynatrace), it would be perfect. 

Overall, I would recommend it. It's the most cost-effective. However, If you do not have an on-premise infrastructure, and you want to work on the cloud, or maybe you don't want to be involved in the management of the software as a service solution, you can look for software solutions like Dynatrace, AppDynamics, or New Relic.

New users will need to ask: do I have the core team with the core competencies? It may be the most cost-effective solution, however, it's really important to have the core competencies required, or you may run into issues.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Find out what your peers are saying about Elastic, Dynatrace, Datadog and others in Application Performance Management (APM). Updated: November 2021.
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AG
SDE-IV at a tech company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Good at tracking performance metrics and latency but needs more AI

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution allows us to dig deep into data."
  • "The solution needs to use more AI. Once the product onboards AI, users would more effectively be able to track endpoints for specific messages."

What is our primary use case?

We basically use Elastic APM for our metrics to look at our performance. Whenever people say that there's a latency of more than a certain amount, then we just open this APM and see why exactly the latency is high. We can choose that data set, and then we can go deeper. 

What is most valuable?

The solution allows us to track performance via metrics.

We're able to see where latency is happening. 

The solution allows us to dig deep into data.

What needs improvement?

There needs to be less boiler code. That's where I see a solution such as Dynatrace as being very good. We need to just deploy the Dynatrace and then it just uses all the TCP packages et cetera, to figure out what the endpoint to endpoint mapping is. It can give more insight into performance.

I can see mistakes in annotations. If a developer uses a different annotation, these performance metrics are not in the portal. When I go to the portal, I do not see many insights on the endpoints or where there could be latencies. I'd like overall fewer mistakes.

The solution needs to use more AI. Once the product onboards AI, users would more effectively be able to track endpoints for specific messages.

For how long have I used the solution?

I do not have more than six months' experience with this solution. I'm a senior engineer here and I just was looking at a few issues in our system, and then I could see that how we are doing this APM integration.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I may not be able to comment on the stability as that is something DevOps should know. My understanding is that it is stable. That said, in use cases, it lacks insights features. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I came to this organization from a financial background. In all the major banks, capital markets, they use this ITRS Geneos. I have experience in that tool.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I don't have any details in terms of pricing. It's not an aspect of the solution I am familiar with. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I see that there are a few features that are not there in that Elastic APM. I have been looking at another APM that we can use in our C systems.

I am looking into Dynatrace and Azure Monitor.

What other advice do I have?

We are just a customer and an end-user.

With so little experience with the solution so far, I do not have any specific advice to share with others. 

I'd rate the solution at a six out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Steven Johnson
Enterprise Monitoring / Data Protection Manager at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Inexpensive and economical with good license count, but auto-discovery isn't nearly as good

Pros and Cons

  • "We use AppDynamics and Elastic. The reason why we're using Elastic APM is because of the license count. It's very favorable compared to AppDynamics. It's inexpensive; it's economical."
  • "The auto-discovery isn't nearly as good. That's a big portion of it. When you drop the agent onto the JVM and you're trying to figure things out, having to go through and manually do all that is cumbersome."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for monitoring the application performance and development.

What is most valuable?

We use AppDynamics and Elastic. The reason why we're using Elastic APM is because of the license count. It's very favorable compared to AppDynamics. It's inexpensive; it's economical.

What needs improvement?

The auto-discovery isn't nearly as good. That's a big portion of it. When you drop the agent onto the JVM and you're trying to figure things out, having to go through and manually do all that is cumbersome. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We just started using it in the last month.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable. We didn't find any issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

You could scale it nicely. Currently, we have 400 or so app devs who are using it.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have used their tech support, and they've been great. I'd give them a 10 out of 10.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were using New Relic.

How was the initial setup?

It's more complex. AppDynamics does a lot more auto-discovery in the setup.

What other advice do I have?

You're not going to get around not having to do the work.

I would rate Elastic APM a seven out of 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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