The days of monitoring networks filled with devices that you can touch and feel are now gone. Now so many services are virtualized that it can be a struggle to keep track of the business applications that SMEs rely on. Application mapping tools have become an essential part of application monitoring.
What is Application Mapping?
Application mapping tools help enterprises to automate the discovery of virtual resources. An application mapping tool discovers applications connected to a network and adds them to a topology map. The topology map provides administrators with an overview of key dependencies they can use to monitor performance and application health.
Here is our list of the 11 Best Application Mapping tools:
- SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (FREE TRIAL) A monitor for your servers and all firmware and software that runs on them. Includes a mapping function that shows the location of servers and also creates a software inventory for each machine.
- Datadog APM Service Map (FREE TRIAL) A cloud-based infrastructure monitoring system that includes live data exchange visualizations and application dependency mapping.
- Site24x7 Application Performance Monitor (FREE TRIAL) A cloud-based monitoring system that covers network, serer, and website performance as well as applications.
- ManageEngine Applications Manager (FREE TRIAL) A leading application and server manager that includes automated and on-demand discovery for hardware and software with a mapping feature.
- Dynatrace An AI-driven performance monitoring system that includes automated equipment and software discovery and mapping.
- Device42 An Enterprise App Mapping package that shows real-time app locations and dependencies.
- ExtraHop A monitoring system that uses machine learning to show application behavior, including a dependencies map.
- ScienceLogic An application mapping system that excels at monitoring virtualizations, cloud services, and hybrid environments.
- Appmigrate A free tool that includes an autodiscovery and mapping feature that shows links between applications.
- Savision Maps services and applications and is available as a cloud service or on-premises software.
- AppDynamics A specialized application performance monitor that includes live application dependency mapping.
The best application mapping software tools
SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor is a server monitoring tool with application mapping capabilities. The software automatically discovers all applications and servers on a network upon installation. The platform identifies service components based on IP ranges and can be scheduled to scan for future devices.
Once applications have been added to the program you can view them in a geographical map graphic. They are searchable by floor, building, department, or geographic location. The map gives you an overview of your application locations across the globe. SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor with OpenStreetMaps add nodes to world maps in real-time.
Outside of the map view, there is a comprehensive dashboard which allows you to monitor the status of connected devices and applications. The dashboard shows the color-coded performance of applications with status categories such as Down, Critical, Warning, Unknown, Unreachable, Up, and External.
- Designed with large and enterprise networks in mind
- Supports auto-discovery that builds network topology maps and inventory lists in real-time based on devices that enter the network
- Can map applications, networks, and infrastructure as well as highlight bottlenecks and dependencies
- Supports geographic location data to map and monitor global assets
- Uses drag and drop widgets to customize the look and feel of the dashboard
- Robust reporting system with pre-configured compliance templates
- This is a feature-rich enterprise tool that can take time to fully explore
The mixture of the autodiscovery, granular map view and clear dashboards make this program a top pick for visibility. The price of SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor starts at $2,995 (£2353.95). There is also a 30-day free trial.
Datadog is an application monitoring tool that is popular in part because of its service map. The service map is used to visualize data flows and application dependencies in real-time. The map automatically recognizes data flows from applications connected to your network and displays status data.
If you hover the mouse over an application you can view data on Requests, Latency, and Errors. These are displayed as graphs on the Trace Search & Analytics dashboard. You can also use Trace Search to filter through by custom tags and error codes.
Once applications are monitored by Datadog, automated analysis flags performance issues immediately. The software uses machine learning to automatically detect anomalous activity out-of-the-box. Machine learning increases the responsiveness of your defenses so you can react quickly to problems within your underlying infrastructure.
The program supports several programming languages including Java, PHP, Node JS, Go, Ruby, and Python. There are four versions available to purchase for Datadog each with its own different pricing structures.
- Great interface, easy to use, and highly customizable
- Cloud-based SaaS product allows monitoring with no server deployments or onboarding costs
- Can monitor both internally and externally giving network admins a holistic view of network performance and accessibility
- Supports auto-discovery that builds network topology maps on the fly
- Prebuilt widgets allows users to create detailed dataflows in just a few clicks
- Allows businesses to scale their monitoring efforts reliably through flexible pricing options
- Would like to see a longer trial period for testing
However the per host, per month packages available for Datadog are priced as follows; Infrastructure $15 (£11.79), APM $31 (£24.37), Log Management $1.27 (£1), and Synthetics $5 (£3.93). There is also a 14-day free trial version.
Site24x7 Application Performance Monitor is a cloud-based system that focuses on monitoring applications but it also monitors websites, servers, and networks.
The monitor looks into the code dependencies of applications built on SDKs such as .NET, Java, Ruby, Node.js, and PHP. It is also able to watch the performance of black-box APIs.
The service creates an application stack that identifies the interdependencies between applications. This mapping extends down to the service resources that underpin applications. The application stack supports a process tracing utility that can identify the root cause of problems that arise in websites or user-facing software.
The APM is able to monitor Cloud servers and applications that run on them. It is also able to follow the performance of serverless microservices.
The Site24x7 Application Performance Monitor has an alerting mechanism that is based on acceptable performance thresholds. The threshold levels are set by AI routines that eliminate false-positive reporting. Alerts can be forwarded on to technicians by SMS, voice call, instant messaging post, or email.
- One of the most holistic monitoring tools available, supporting networks, infrastructure, and real user monitoring in a single platform
- Uses real-time data to discover devices and build charts, network maps, and inventory reports
- The platform is intuitive, little training is needed to get it fully functional
- User monitoring can help bridge the gap between technical issues, user behavior, and business metrics
- Supports a freeware version
- Is a very detailed platform that will require time to fully learn all of its features and options
The Site24x7 Application Performance Monitor is a subscription service. The base package costs $35 per month when paid annually Site24x7 offers a 30-day free trial of the Application Performance Monitor.
ManageEngine Applications Manager also has a detailed application discovery tool and dependency mapping feature. ManageEngine Applications Manager can discover applications, servers, databases, and storage within an IP range of your choice. You can also schedule future application scans to add new network devices to your monitoring environment.
To develop a detailed geographical perspective, there is a business service dependency map. The business service dependency map shows a global view of your applications complete with the connections and dependencies between them.
The overview provided by this feature helps you to troubleshoot much more effectively. For example, if an application is experiencing difficulties you can view nearby infrastructure to find from where the problem originated.
- Offers on-premise and cloud deployment options, giving companies more choices for install
- Can highlight interdependencies between applications to map out how performance issues can impact businesses operations
- Offers log monitoring to track metrics like memory usage, disk IO, and cache status, providing a holistic view into your database health
- Can automatically detect databases, server hardware, and devices for real-time asset management
- Can take time to fully explore all features and options available
ManageEngine Applications Manager is available for Windows and Linux. If you’d like to know the price of ManageEngine Applications Manager you will have to request a quote from the sales team directly. You can trial the software free for 30-days.
Dynatrace is an application performance monitor with network topology discovery and application mapping. Dynatrace discovers applications in real-time and plots them on a topology map. The map displays dependencies between applications, websites services, hosts, networks, cloud services, and more.
The platform uses anomaly detection to identify performance anomalies. Dynatrace detects anomalies by using performance baselines and artificial intelligence. AI can automatically detect anomalies and prevent false flag alerts. Using AI has the advantage of providing complete visibility while reducing the need for manual oversight.
Dynatrace supports a range of providers meaning it can function in almost any environment. Dynatrace can monitor such technologies as:
- Amazon Web Services
- IBM WebSphere
- IBM z/OS
- Microsoft IIS
- Microsoft SharePoint
- SAP Hybris
- SQL Server
- Sleek, customizable interface
- Real-time LAN and WAN monitoring that supports virtual environments, great for MSPs and large enterprise networks
- Can visualize complicated physical connections with ease
- Offers application performance tracking as well as resource monitoring on the process level for in-depth LAN management
- Is more geared towards larger networks and enterprise organizations
- Pricing reflects its value but can be expensive for small to medium size networks
Overall Dynatrace is a tool designed for those looking for state-of-the-art application monitoring. The application mapping features are second to none. You can download the 15-day free trial.
Device42 is a purpose-built application and device mapping tool. The platform produces application dependency maps that display the interdependencies between applications. The dependency maps are quite basic but they are clear enough to show you the relationship between your applications and devices. You can view maps on an application, device, room, building, or rack level.
Application maps also have autodiscovery to ensure your network stays updated when the topology is updated. Automatic updates help to make sure that you never get left behind when adding new devices. Automation also carries over into RESTful APIS which allow you to add additional different features.
- Can produce automatic topology maps as well as dependency mapping.
- Offers a unique rack-level visualization to help on-site technicians map physical infrastructure to certain services
- Designed to scale in enterprise environments
- Initial configuration can be complex and time-consuming
- Would like to see it easier to create custom affinity groups
There are three pricing options for Device42: Core, Enterprise App Mapping, and Resource Utilization. The Core version starts at $1500 (£1,178) for devices 1-100 up to $25,000 (£19,649) plus for 2500 or more devices.
Enterprise App Mapping starts at a cost of $8 (£6.29) per node per month. Resource utilization starts at $14 (£11) per node per month and includes enterprise app mapping. There is also a free trial available here.
ExtraHop is one of the top application monitoring providers in this list. ExtraHop uses extensive application dependency mapping to highlight the interdependencies between connected applications. The map is automatic and will update when you connect new devices to your network.
One of the most compelling features included with ExtraHop is machine learning. Machine learning is supported by over 4,700 wire data metrics and can automate the investigation of source application performance issues to help you find the root cause much faster. Automated responses help to address application errors quickly.
- Designed for enterprise use to assist system administrators
- Great user interface, comes with an easy to view dark mode
- Automatically detects network issues and provides correlation assistance
- Supports widget-based visualization for quick application mapping
- Must contact their sales team for pricing
- The web-based management console could be made more intuitive
- Filtering traffic has a fairly steep learning curve
If you’re looking for an application monitor that offers an advanced UI and performance analysis capabilities then ExtraHop is a product you should definitely consider. To know the price of ExtraHop you will have to contact the company directly. However, there is a free trial.
ScienceLogic is an application monitoring and dependency mapping tool. The product can automatically discover dependencies between critical applications, devices, and services. It has support for:
- Citrix XenServer
- Microsoft Hyper-V
- Red Hat
- Google Cloud
- IBM Cloud
- Cisco ACI
- VMware NSX
The focus of ScienceLogic’s application flow mapping is on boosting the visibility of cloud and hybrid environments. For example, the tool can discover dependencies between cloud-services to give you a comprehensive perspective of your virtualized infrastructure. Transparency will help you to better optimize your resources and stay on top of what is going on.
- Designed to boost visibility and dependency mapping for cloud-native applications
- Supports hybrid-cloud mapping as well as on-premise application monitoring
- Highly visual dashboard options, great for NOC teams
- Must contact sales for pricing
- No free download, must schedule a demo
- Interface can get cluttered when monitoring larger enterprise networks
The experience provided by ScienceLogic gives you everything you need to catch performance issues whether on-premises or in the cloud. To view the price of ScienceLogic you will have to contact the company directly. However, you can still schedule a free demo.
appmigrate is a free agentless application mapping tool. The program scans for applications and servers in real-time. The software displays dependencies that update automatically once you expand your network.
The topology map is shown on a white canvas so that you can easily identify which applications are up or experiencing difficulties. The production value is on par with any of the paid tools on this list but it doesn’t have the application monitoring capabilities of many other competitive products. However, you can even visualize URLs on the topology map.
- Completely free application mapping tools
- Uses agentless scanning to automatically build topology maps
- Very lightweight when compared to similar tools
- Uses simple but intuitive maps to helps administrators spot dependencies and bottlenecks
- Is missing application monitoring capabilities
- Fairly limited in terms of features when compared to similar tools
- Not the best solution for proactive monitoring/mapping
appmigrate is ideal for those who want an application mapping tool that is fast to deploy and is cost-effective. The only drawback is that the tool is relatively basic compared to other products on this list. However, if you only require application mapping then this tool is a good choice. You can download appmigrate for free.
Savision is a service modeling platform that offers application mapping as well. The program maps services and applications throughout your network. Savision has been designed to automatically map devices that are being monitored within other network monitoring tools. Application data is shown in the format of panels marked with status icons.
To make sure that you don’t miss anything important, Savision has an automated alerts feature. If unusual or problematic activity is detected then you will be sent a notification automatically. The program also generates tickets which you can prioritize to follow up after a performance event.
- Easy to read status icons help provide admins with at-a-glance insights
- Available for both on-premise as well as in the cloud
- Automated alerts help teams stay proactive and fix issues before they impact performance
- Is expensive when compared to similar tool on the market
- The interface would be made more user friendly by eliminating some of the nested menus on the main toolbar
Savisiondeploys on-premises or in the cloud. The price of Savision and additional integrations depends on which version you purchase. There are three price categories; Platinum, Gold, and Silver. The Silver version costs $3,300 (£2,593) per integration and integrates with Microsoft System Center Operations Manager, PRTG Network Monitor, Nagios, TOPdesk, Slack, and more. The Gold version costs $5,500 (£4,321) per integration and is compatible with Cisco Prime, SolarWinds, WhatsUp Gold, ManageEngine, Google Cloud, Azure Insights, and Amazon Web Services. The Platinum version costs $16,500 (£12,965) per integration for AppDynamics, Splunk, Ivanti, Dynatrace, NetApp, and more. You can download a free trial.
AppDynamics is an application performance monitoring solution with mapping features. The focus of AppDynamics is managing application transactions. The software discovers business transactions automatically and displays them in the form of a topology map. The map shows performance throughout your applications and the end-to-end user journey.
In terms of automation, AppDynamics has a dynamic alerts system. Alerts function because the platforms machine learning sets a performance baseline. If application performance or response times deviate from this baseline then an alert is sent straight to the user via email.
There are three versions of AppDynamics available to purchase: APM Pro, APM Advanced, and APM Peak. APM Pro is the application performance monitoring package that monitors network infrastructure. APM Advanced also does server visibility and network visibility as well.
- Tailored for large-scale enterprise use
- Excellent dependency mapping and visualizations to help troubleshoot complex application systems
- Leverages AI and machine learning to provide root cause analysis and remediation steps
- Includes a free version
- Can have a steep learning curve, could use more tutorials
- Deployment/onboarding can be complex
- Mobile app could use improvement
- Would benefit from a longer 30-day trial period
APM Peak does everything in APM Advanced but also adds business performance monitoring, business journey analysis, and more. You can download the 15-day free trial.
Choosing an Application Mapping Tool
If your enterprise is making use of applications to be productive, then application mapping as a process is a must-have. Keeping visibility over virtual resources is just as important as monitoring physical devices.
From this list we recommend SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor, ManageEngine Applications Manager, and AppDynamics. All three of these tools offer premium visibility while maintaining a competitive price.
All three products have an excellent autodiscovery feature so that your topology map grows at the same speed as your live network. However, if you are on a tight budget, appmigrate can be a lightweight application mapping alternative.
Before making a purchase we recommend trying out a couple of free trials to see which tool works best in your environment. No two companies are the same, and what works well in one might not be a good fit in another.
Application Mapping Software FAQs
What is Application Dependency Mapping?
Application dependency mapping identifies links between processes that rely on each other. The maps should look like a family tree with user-facing software calling on many applications, each of which in turn calls on many other applications.
How are Application Maps used in DevOps?
Application maps are important source material for developers, showing which other systems the application under development is expected to interact with. They are important for testing because they enable the tester to know what interfaces to check and what inputs and outputs are possible and how the actions of one application knock-on to the performance of others. During operations, application maps assist in root cause tracing when performance issues arise.
How are application dependencies determined?
A straightforward comb through the code of an app shows which other applications that program calls. A recursive search through each of those applications identifies that other applications that those call, and so on. There are tools available that perform this search automatically.
Related: Guide to Network Topologies