AppDynamics vs Dynatrace for Application Performance Monitoring

Posted by UpGuard

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Most of us take SaaS availability and uptime for granted: we assume that our favorite cloud-based tools will always be available when we need them. For cloud service providers, however, meeting these expectations is a magnanimous effort, usually involving elaborate CI/CD toolchains and sophisticated frameworks for failover and continuity. Application performance monitoring (APM) solutions form part of these frameworks—in this comparison, we'll take a look at two such popular offerings, AppDynamics and Dynatrace.

For today's SaaS providers, web developers, and even organizations with homegrown apps, application performance management (APM) solutions are instrumental to reducing mean time to repair (MTTR). A lower MTTR enables firms to curb financial losses from downtime, reduce any security and/or compliance risk exposure due to outages, and better salvage customer satisfaction when disruptions occur. APMs monitor how applications perform and behave in production, enabling vigilant developers and operators to spot issues in the application stack before they spiral out of control.

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AppDynamics

AppDynamics  was created in 2008 as a developer's tool for diagnosing application performance problems and IT infrastructure bottlenecks. The solution has since evolved into a platform for so-called "unified monitoring," or monitoring across the infrastructure and application stack.

The AppDynamics UI.

The AppDynamics user interface. Source: blog.appdynamics.com.

The comprehensive offering from AppDynamics—its Application Intelligence Platform—rolls 4 modules into one platform: APM, end-user monitoring, infrastructure visibility, and application analytics.

Dynatrace

Previously part of enterprise software dinosaur Compuware, Dynatrace was broken off as a separate entity when its almost four decade-old parent company was acquired by Thoma Bravo. Dynatrace continues to develop and sell its popular APM platform and is credited with establishing the digital performance management category—that is, taking APM one step further by measuring the correlations between customer experience, IT performance, and business outcomes.

The DynaTrace Dashboard. Source: apmblog.dynatrace.com.The Dynatrace user interface. Source: Dynatrace.com.

The Dynatrace solution is a comprehensive website monitoring platform that features visibility across multiple channels—its so-called "Customer Experience Cockpit."

Side-by-Side Scoring: AppDynamics vs. Dynatrace

1. Capability Set

AppDynamics and Dynatrace are both competent platforms for application monitoring, but AppDynamics is the more comprehensive of the two, out-of-the-box. As mentioned previously, APM, end-user monitoring, infrastructure visibility, and application analytics come standard with the AppDynamics Application Intelligence Platform. For an additional cost, Dynatrace can be extended to perform standalone synthetic monitoring and datacenter real user monitoring.

Capability Set

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2. Ease of Use

Both platforms offer straightforward dashboards and navigation elements; that said, Dynatrace's UI with its fully customizable, tile-based dashboards is more approachable than AppDynamic's list-based, monotone interface.

Ease of Use

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Dynatrace
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3. Community Support

Dynatrace hosts several community-based support options including the community.dynatrace.com and support.dynatrace.com websites. A plethora of user groups and 3rd party online resources round out the platform's community support options. AppDynamics also hosts a community site and has many user groups dedicated to the platform.

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4. Release Rate

Both platforms have been assembled over the years through various acquisitions, and in Dynatrace's case-- complete spunoff following Compuware's going private. Dynatrace is currently at version 6.3; AppDynamics is at version 4.2.

Release Rate

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5. Pricing and Support

Dynatrace can cost upward of $10,000 for a one-year subscription, making it a non-option for organizations with limited budgets. AppDynamics is certainly the more affordable of the two, available for far less than half of Dynatrace's price tag.

Both vendors offer extended phone, web, and onsite support for an additional cost. AppDynamics offers professional services for more complex implementations, while Dynatrace works primarily through its partner and expert network to offer such services.

 

Pricing and Support

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Dynatrace

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6. API and Extensibility

Dynatrace's uses the Apdex (Application Performance Index) open standard for reporting, benchmarking, and tracking application performance. Apdex was developed by an alliance of companies that include other vendors such as AlertSite Pro and Pingdom. AppDynamics, on the other hand, does not support the open standard—opting to use its own set of metrics. Despite going its own way for performance metrics, the vendor offers an open platform for developers to create their own plugins to add to the Exchange marketplace. Both platforms offer REST APIs for building custom integrations.

API and Extensibility

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7. 3rd Party Integrations

The Dynatrace APM plugin page features a decent selection of ecosystem , big data, notification-related plugins, among others. These include plugins for Docker, Splunk, JIRA, PagerDuty, and more. AppDynamics possesses a more expansive library that features 140+ plugins. And—as mentioned previously—the open nature of the platform allows developers to easily create and share their own plugins.

3rd Party Integrations

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8. Companies that Use It

AppDynamics and Dynatrace are both market leaders in their category; as such, they lay claim to many of the Fortune 500 on their customer lists. Pandora, Nordstrom, Intuit, Whirlpool, and Volkswagen are a few of Dynatrace's marquee customers; not to be outdone, AppDynamics cites Cisco, Hallmark, Expedia, DirecTV, Nasdaq, and Kraft as some of its satisifed customers.

Companies that Use It

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9. Learning Curve

Both products are easy to get up-to-speed with, with clear documentation and an abundance of support materials to be had online.

Learning Curve

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10. CSTAR Score

Dynatrace performs poorly when it comes to managing digital resilience and cyber risk, as quantified by its CSTAR score. Various website perimeter and email security risks exist, among others.

CSTAR Score

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Scoreboard and Summary

  AppDynamics Dynatrace
Capability Set score_570.png score_570.png
Ease of Use score_570.png score_570.png
Community Support score_570.png score_570.png
Release Rate score_570.png score_570.png
Pricing and Support score_570.png score_570.png
API and Extensibility score_570.png score_570.png
3rd Party Integrations score_570.png score_570.png
Companies that Use It score_570.png score_570.png
Learning Curve score_570.png score_570.png
CSTAR Score score_appd.png score_dyna.png
Total  4.6 out of 5  4.3 out of 5

AppDynamics and Dynatrace are both competent, comprehensive APM platforms for monitoring and troubleshooting today's complex web applications and SaaS offerings. Based on cost alone, Dynatrace is certainly more feasible for enterprises—with AppDynamics being the preferred choice of software startups and mid-sized organizations. For developers interested in adding mobile testing to their APM suites, Dynatrace may be an attractive option: the firm's acquisition of cloud-based mobile app testing/monitoring company Keynote Systems last year will certainly give the Dynatrace platform more breadth and depth.

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