Instana Blog

Date: July 10, 2017

Dynamic APM versus APM 3.0

Category: Conceptual, Featured

When we launched the first version of Instana’s Dynamic APM solution, we referred to it as APM 3.0. And while the premise is accurate since the solution is leading the way into the third generation of APM products, there are some critical differences in this generational shift of APM solutions.

APM Generations

When APM’s second generation of tools emerged, they addressed application challenges that the original solutions struggled to meet. But at their heart, those tools were an improved version of the APM 1.0 technology. APM 2.0 took the same instrumentation techniques and added the ability to track distributed transactions to address the needs of SOA architectures.

Today, we’re at the crossroads of another application technology shift to hyperdynamic application architectures, from Hybrid Cloud environments to containerized microservices. These new applications use a vastly larger set of technologies, must scale dynamically and are in a constant state of flux.

A “better” version of the old tools won’t cut it.

Dynamic Application Map

Dynamic APM for Dynamic Applications

So while we wrote about APM 3.0 on the day we launched, we’ve since reconsidered and now refer to our solution as Dynamic APM.

In reality, it’s not even the same TYPE of APM. Don’t be fooled by the fact that it monitors application performance, traces individual requests and is purpose built to help solve application problems. After all, APM could be defined simply as:

  1. Monitor Performance
  2. Assist with finding root cause

The differences are in the way Instana Dynamic APM is built: Data Collection, Agent Deployment, Architecture and Service Discovery, Visualization, Automated Health and Service Performance Monitoring, and so much more. Of course, it all starts with the Dynamic Graph data model underpinning our solution.

To us, it’s clear. New thinking is required to meet the challenges of these complex, large and dynamic application environments. That thinking led to the Six Pillars of Modern Dynamic APM. In our opinion, to actively manage (meaning monitor and understand service performance and quality) a constantly evolving application technology stack takes new thinking and technology. Let’s not forget that most monitoring tools in the marketplace today were designed before Agile Development or Continuous Delivery were common concepts.

So while we’re quite proud to be leading the way into the third generation of Application Performance Management solutions, we’re happy to just call it Dynamic APM.

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About Instana

As the leading provider of Automatic Application Performance Monitoring (APM) solutions for microservices, Instana has developed the automatic monitoring and AI-based analysis DevOps needs to manage the performance of modern applications. Instana is the only APM solution that automatically discovers, maps and visualizes microservice applications without continuous additional engineering. Customers using Instana achieve operational excellence and deliver better software faster. Visit to learn more.