IT industry commentators credit New Relic for inventing the Application Performance Monitor (APM). Now this category of software represents a market with many providers. In March 2020, New Relic announced a radical shake-up to its SaaS system, declaring that the age of the APM is at an end.
New Relic insiders now talk about “observability.” In an announcement at the end of July 2020, Chief Product Officer Bill Staples declared, “As the company who created APM, we’re going to be the ones to end it.” He continued, “We’re declaring that all of our existing products and pricing are now deprecated. They’re gone. We’re introducing radical simplicity to the observability space.”
While radical change is exciting for those who drive it, it can be confusing and frustrating for customers who are dragged along through the change involuntarily. New Relic is responding to the rivals who crowded into the APM market, eroding its unique selling point.
A complete overhaul of the service seems to be a drastic step and it is a make-or-break move by the SaaS provider that creates a period of doubt and fluidity that could lose many customers.
If you’re uncomfortable about the innovations at New Relic, maybe it’s time to take a look at alternatives to this system.
Here is our list of the eight best alternatives to New Relic.
- SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor EDITOR’S CHOICE An application monitor that also watches the statuses of underlying server resources. It runs on Windows Server. Start a 30-day free trial.
- Sematext Application Performance Monitoring (FREE TRIAL) This is a cloud-based monitoring service that is centered on log management.
- SolarWinds AppOptics (FREE TRIAL) A cloud-based infrastructure and application monitor that can also monitor cloud services.
- ManageEngine Applications Manager A server and application monitor that includes full-stack root cause analysis. It runs on Windows Server and Linux.
- Site24x7 Application Performance Monitoring A cloud-based monitoring system that covers server statuses as well as application performance.
- Hosted PRTG A package of network, server, and application monitors that can is delivered as a SaaS system.
- Datadog A SaaS monitoring system that tracks the performance of applications whether they are resident on-premises or on the cloud.
- AppDynamics A cloud-based APM from Cisco Systems with a range of service levels.
- Atera Applications monitoring as part of a suite of support services for MSPs. It is delivered from the cloud.
Alternatives to New Relic APM
There are plenty of options for those looking for an application performance monitor. Although other providers produced their APMs later than New Relic, many of those competitors actually did a better job.
One of the main objectives of the New Relic change strategy is to move away from providing an APM as a standalone module. Instead, they have integrated the APM functions into a wider stack monitoring system. In doing this, the company is actually moving into a market arena that is already well provided.
So, you might be looking for a New Relic replacement that focuses on applications or you might be looking ahead of New Relic to see what other companies are already doing what New Relic aims to provide.
The Best New Relic Alternatives
In this review, we will look at APM services that can be operated as standalone monitors and also integrated infrastructure monitors that have more experience in full-stack monitoring than New Relic.
The SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (SAM) is the leading application monitoring system available in the market. The software is available for installation on-premises, which is an alternative configuration to the cloud-based delivery of New Relic.
The software has more than 2,200 templates available. These set the thresholds of key metrics that need to be monitored in order to successfully manage a specific application. Each template brings with it a specialist screen, so administrators know exactly where to look for information on a particular application’s performance.
Applications that the SAM covers include databases, web servers, virtualization systems, and cloud services. In addition, the service watches over the performance of PowerShell scripts, SNMP functions, REST APIs, and WMI activities. The list of monitorable applications extends to Active Directory and Office 365.
The performance of applications is highly dependent on the underlying services and the resources of the host machine. The SAM includes server monitoring because there is no point in trying to pinpoint a problem with application performance without being sure that the issue isn’t being caused by overloaded hardware.
SolarWinds SAM includes an Application Dependency Mapping tool. This shows the underlying services that aid the delivery of an application, extending to network connections. SolarWinds has created its key monitoring tools on a common platform, called Orion. This enables cross-modular functions and one of those is called PerfStack. This is available to those who combine the SAM with the SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor. This shows the full stack dependency of each application with color-coded statuses for each layer. This is exactly the type of information that New Relic is hoping to provide with its new format.
- 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
- Has some of the best alerting features that balance effectiveness with ease of use
- Supports both SNMP monitoring as well as packet analysis, giving you more control over monitoring than similar tools
- Uses drag and drop widgets to customize the look and feel of the dashboard
- Robust reporting system with pre-configured compliance templates
- Designed for IT professionals, not the best option for non-technical users
The SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor installs on Windows Server, but it is also able to monitor other servers, including those running Linux. You can get a 30-day free trial of the SolarWinds SAM.
The SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor is our top pick as an alternative for New Relic because it is a standalone application monitor with server monitoring capabilities. The SAM can be combined with other SolarWinds products, particularly the Network Performance Monitor to create a full-stack monitoring service, which is what the revised New Relic is aiming for. Start 30-day Free Trial: solarwinds.com/server-application-monitor OS: Windows Server
The SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor is our top pick as an alternative for New Relic because it is a standalone application monitor with server monitoring capabilities. The SAM can be combined with other SolarWinds products, particularly the Network Performance Monitor to create a full-stack monitoring service, which is what the revised New Relic is aiming for.
Start 30-day Free Trial: solarwinds.com/server-application-monitor
OS: Windows Server
Sematext Application Performance Monitoring offers a range of techniques for monitoring applications. This is a cloud platform and its capabilities are not limited to monitoring applications running on one site. This is great for tracking distributed systems that are provided by contributions from several servers in different locations.
If you integrate APIs and other external widgets and services in your Web pages, you can use the distributed transaction tracing service of Sematext. This looks at each process that gets run on your server and then as all of the calls that it makes to other packages, no matter where they are run. This builds up an application dependency map, which you can use for performance investigations.
The APM sections of the Sematext platform are provided by a number of modules. You can choose to examine the performance of a website through real user monitoring, which gathers statistics on the performance of live sites. If you are developing new services or pages for a website, you can use synthetic monitoring to run through access actions for each element on a page. These synthetic monitors also include availability and load speed statistics.
- Can monitor virtually any environment, supporting on-premise, cloud, and hybrid-cloud configurations
- Asset discovery is continuous, providing sysadmin with a consistently up to date inventory of devices
- Comes with troubleshooting tools built-in, such as the Java profiler and network topology map
- Can monitor external assets such as websites to measure uptime, latency, and performance
- Would like to see a longer trial period for testing
The Sematext system is a metered service and you pay a different rate for each of the modules that you decide to use in order to monitor your applications. The Sematext platform also offers log management. For Infrastructure Monitoring and Log Management, which both include APM functions, there is a Basic plan that is free to monitor three servers.
You can get a 14-day free trial of all services on the Sematext platform.
AppOptics from SolarWinds is a SaaS system, which makes it very similar to New Relic. The service is available in two plan levels. The lower tier provides infrastructure monitoring that includes servers, networks, and cloud resources. The higher plan adds application performance monitoring to that bundle – providing exactly the same level of monitoring that the new format of New Relic gives.
The infrastructure tier does include some application monitoring. For example, it will monitor containers provided by Docker and Kubernetes. The system covers all of the underlying services that are provided by the server to support applications.
Server statuses monitored by AppOtics include CPU, memory, disk utilization, and interface I/O. For all of the resources that it monitors, the AppOptics system uses a series of performance thresholds. It will raise an alert if one of those thresholds gets tripped. Thresholds can be adjusted manually and new alert conditions can also be created by the system administrator.
The APM segment of AppOptics monitors databases, Web applications, and virtualizations as well as services such as PHP, Java, and Python. The system generates application service maps to identify dependencies between applications and their dependencies. This enables quick root cause analysis when performance drops.
AppOptics is able to analyze the code of an application or database script in order to identify whether inefficiencies or bugs are the cause of application performance problems. This is a particularly useful tool for the development and testing of in-house applications.
- Offers great visualizations reflecting live and historical health metrics and resource consumption
- Scales easily through flexible pricing and cloud-based architecture
- Tracks all major resources such as CPU, memory, and network usage
- Can monitor Docker, Azure, and Hyper-V platforms, offering more flexibility than competing options
- Would like to see a longer trial period
AppOptics is charged for by subscription with a rate per host per month. The rate is cheaper for those who pay annually, although the entire subscription period has to be paid for upfront. You can signup for a 14-day free trial of the full ApOptics suite.
ManageEngine shadows the products of SolarWinds very successfully and it is a close competitor, providing a good alternative to New Relic. This tool is a standalone monitor and it can also be combined with other ManageEngine infrastructure monitoring systems to create full-stack monitoring.
The monitoring tool includes server monitoring as well as application management. This enables it to quickly identify the underlying cause of application delivery issues – whether they be software-related or a physical resource problem.
The Applications Manager is shipped with the capability of monitoring more than 50,000 named applications. Its system covers databases, ERP suites, Web applications, and virtualizations. It is also able to manage the execution of custom scripts and applications.
The system sets performance thresholds on each application and alerts technicians when one of those lines is crossed. Thresholds and alert mechanisms can be generated and adjusted manually as well.
- 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 in real-time
- Can take time to fully explore all features and options available
There are also performance monitors in the Applications Manager for server statuses, such as CPU, disk utilization, network I/O, and memory usage. One install of the Applications Manager is able to monitor many servers. The software installs on either Windows Server or Linux and it can also monitor other servers with those operating systems. You can get a 30-day free trial of the ManageEngine Application Manager.
Like ApOptics, Site24x7 is a SaaS service with an infrastructure monitoring plan and an application performance monitoring option that also includes infrastructure monitoring services.
The Application Performance Monitor includes infrastructure discovery, software logging, services tracking, and server hardware monitoring. The system is able to monitor a long list of applications that include databases, virtualization systems, Web applications, and ERPs. Facilities in the service include a root cause analysis service and alerting for performance issues.
Alerts can become the basis for automated workflows that take action to improve performance. In more complex cases, the system administrator would need to use the root cause analysis module in order to work out where the cause of the problem lies.
Although the system is cloud-based, the Site24x7 Application Performance Monitor requires agent programs to be installed on each monitored server. These are available for Windows, Windows Server, Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, Red Hat, Fedora, Suse, Gentoo, CoreOS, and Amazon Linux, FreeBSD, and macOS.
- Highly scalable SaaS product
- The platform makes it easy to transition into other areas of monitoring such as network, application, or real user monitoring
- Simple and easy to use interface
- Supports a free version, great for home labs and testing
- The Site24x7 is highly detailed and may take time to fully explore all options and features
The APM has a base package that will monitor three applications on up to 40 servers with a price per month. Most businesses need to monitor much more than just three applications and so there are addon services that bump that number up. You can try out the Site24x7 Application Performance Monitoring system on a 30-day free trial.
Paessler PRTG is a set of monitors for network, servers, and applications. The hosted version of the system includes the server resources to run the monitoring software and cloud storage space in which to save historical data for analysis.
The PRTG system is very flexible. Each monitor is called a sensor and the price for the service depends on how many sensors the customer wants to turn on. It is possible to limit the service to just application monitoring by only activating application-related sensors. However, it is also possible to get a full stack monitor by activating server and network sensors as well.
The application monitor logs all active applications and begins to trace their activities. Well-known applications have specific monitors written for them – there are thousands of sensors in PRTG.
PRTG can monitor applications no matter where they are hosted – including on the cloud. The screens for the service show some great performance data visualizations, including the sunburst chart, which shows all the supporting services beneath each application, each with color-coded statuses. This is a really quick way to spot the reason that an application is running slowly.
- Uses a combination of packet sniffing, WMI, and SNMP to report network performance as well as discover new devices
- Autodiscovery reflects the latest inventory changes almost instantaneously
- Drag and drop editor makes it easy to build custom views and reports
- Supports a freeware version
- Is a very comprehensive platform with many features and moving parts that require time to learn
Hosted PRTG is charged for by subscription with prices levied per month based on bands of sensor quantities. Paessler offers a 10-day free trial of Hosted PRTG with a 500 sensor allowance.
Datadog is a cloud-based monitoring service with a range of options, including application performance monitoring.
The system provides several different perspectives on application performance monitoring. It gives a full-stack observability view of application delivery, which is very similar to New Relic’s new approach to monitoring. This follows a single user journey through a website or use of an application and the list of all the contributing services and infrastructure that delivers it. This service also looks through system logs to identify the causes of encountered problems.
Datadog draws up a system dependency map, which shows all of the dependencies between applications and their underlying services. This offers another view of application performance and supports root cause analysis when problems arise. The maps show live data flows between points of interest in the application support stack.
An App Analytics module provides another perspective on application performance. This shows metrics over time and compares those graphs to the performance data for the server and the network, giving an insight into the origin of application performance issues.
Datadog applies performance thresholds on a range of application metrics and raises alerts when one of those limits is crossed. Threshold levels are not arbitrary and adjust over time through an AI-based machine learning process.
Alerts can be the triggers for automated remedial actions to fix problems without manual intervention.
- Easy to use customizable dashboards
- 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
- Changes made to the network are reflected in near real-time
- Allows businesses to scale their monitoring efforts reliably through flexible pricing options
- Would like to see a longer trial period for testing
The Datadog APM is charged for by subscription with a rate set per host per month or per year. There are no set up fees and no service lock-in periods. You can test the system on a 14-day free trial.
AppDynamics is owned by Cisco Systems. This is a cloud-based service but customers can request the software for on-premises installation instead. A great feature of AppDynamics is that one of its plans is free to use.
The dashboard offers two perspectives on application performance. The first of these looks at the resources of the system and delivers performance statistics for each application with a drill-down facility to look at the statuses of its supporting infrastructure. One of the features of this module is an application stack map. However, these supporting services don’t include actual physical resources in the lower plans of AppDynamics.
The second monitoring method identifies use cases for each application and generates a typical user experience, identifying applications that are failing to keep up to a suitable performance level.
The AppDynamics system sets performance thresholds, which are arrived at and constantly adjusted by machine learning. Performance is shown live in the dashboard and metrics are stored for time-based historical analysis.
- Tailored for large-scale enterprise use
- Excellent dependency mapping and visualizations to help troubleshoot complex application systems
- Includes a free version
- Priced higher than similar tools on the market
- Can have a steep learning curve, could use more tutorials
- Mobile app can feel limited compared to the web console
The free version of this service is called AppDynamics Lite. Paid editions are APM Pro, APM Advanced, which includes server and network metrics, and APM Peak, which also includes marketing analysis functions. You can get a 15-day free trial of APM Pro.
Atera is a support system for Managed Service Providers (MSPs). It is included on this list of alternatives for New Relic because New Relic also pitches for MSP business through its partner program.
The advantages to MSPs of using Atera instead of New Relic are that this system includes all software requirements including a ticketing system and the Professional Services Automation (PSA) software that MSPs need to run their businesses.
The technician tools in Atera are called Remote Monitoring and Management systems (RMM). They include full-stack monitoring and application performance tracking. The Atera monitoring system covers applications such as databases, virtualizations, productivity suites, Active Directory, and customized applications and services through log scanning.
- Minimalistic interface makes it easy to view the metrics that matter most
- Flexible pricing model makes it a viable option for small businesses
- Includes multiple PSA features, great for helpdesk teams and growing MSPs
- Can track custom performance SLAs alongside application metrics
- The ticketing system can be confusing to set up, better out of the box templates would be a nice addition
- Lacks Azure AD support/integration
Atera is a cloud-based service and is charged for by subscription. Charges are levied per technician per month, so it is a great option for independent support technicians, start-ups, and growing MSPs. The system is available on a 30-day free trial.