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Analyzing the Gartner 2020 APM Magic Quadrant

Gartner recently released the annual 2020 Magic Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring (APM). Once again; AppDynamics, Dynatrace, and New Relic are the top 3 leaders in the APM group with AppDynamics overtaking Dynatrace in 2019, according to Gartner of course.

I thought I would take this opportunity to analyze the results and hopefully provide some insight on why I feel some of the movement may have occurred.  

Courtesy of Gartner Magic Quadrant for APM

There are many different opinions about the Gartner Magic Quadrant APM results and whether it truly reflects the best APM tools available. It’s obvious that there are really good open source apm tools missing from this list so it’s hard to argue it’s a 100% accurate depiction of the current state of the apm industry offering. 

Regardless of my opinion on the accuracy of the results, I think it’s important to have awareness as to what Gartner is saying in their analysis, especially if you work in large enterprise organizations as a monitoring subject matter expert. I understand you may not be eager to invest in a paid enterprise product but if someone puts you on the spot, having additional product awareness is going to help your decision logic and reasoning, regardless of what that is.

The first notable change is the shift of AppDynamics becoming the overall leader in the top right quadrant. AppDynamics and Dynatrace have essentially swapped places since last year with AppDynamics having a higher “ability to execute” and Dynatrace having a slightly better “completeness of vision”. 

My reasoning behind this swap is since Cisco’s acquisition of AppDynamics they have invested in integrating the AppDynamics product to work with their existing Cisco hardware and software products which millions of enterprise customers use worldwide.

In my mind this alignment with existing customers who may not have a solid APM solution but already have enterprise agreements and existing relationships with Cisco might give them a bit of an advantage in executing a proof of concept or sales engagement, especially with large enterprise customers. 

On the other hand, AppDynamics is still going through some growing pains integrating with their parent company so it feels like in the past year the Dynatrace has built a stronger brand and community presence. The lack of organizational disruption might be a good thing in this scenario allowing them to focus on the customer to get closer to their product vision. In my opinion the branding for Dynatrace is also really slick and the product, documentation and content makes the vision seem “complete”. 

At the end of the day, AppD, Dynatrace, and New Relic all pretty much have the same functionality so it’s going to be the subtle things that differentiate them like price, support, and alignment with your stack.

The second notable change to the 2020 results is Oracle, IBM and Riverbed dropping out of the challenger quadrant leaving Microsoft Azure Insights as the sole challenger. I was slightly surprised by this because when Azure OMS and Monitor first came out; they felt sort of “half-baked” and not really that complete even compared to a legacy solution like SCOM. Obviously, with Microsoft’s huge push to the cloud, they have put a focus on the APM product and it has paid off. Many existing SCOM customers who are slowly moving from on-prem to Azure will be happy to hear about this!

The 3rd point I wanted to talk about was the emergence of Datadog and SignalFx (Splunk) in the visionaries category. Datadog doesn’t surprise me at all as they have had a huge year releasing tons of new APM integrations such as serverless monitoring and real user monitoring. They also finished the year by becoming publicly traded which means an even harder push to move from a niche / visionary product to a complete enterprise ready product. 

Not to take away from SignalFx who also had a massive year getting acquired by Splunk for $1.05 Billion! They have already released a number of product updates and are now actively working on integrating with Splunk proper which is good news for existing Splunk customers (and Splunk sales engineers!). 

If I was to bet on who is going to be next in the leader quadrant between Datadog and SignalFx I would put my money on Datadog as they seem to have great momentum, a solid brand presence, and don’t have the added task of having to integrate with a parent company. 

Of course, I can’t analyze the 2020 Gartner APM results without talking about Broadcom, formerly known as CA Technologies. To be honest with you if you would have asked me in 2016 if I thought CA would still be a leader in APM in 2020 I would have definitely said no. Sure they have a big, locked in enterprise customer base and are good at monitoring tricky things like SAP Basis but everything about the product just seemed “legacy” to me. 

I haven’t used CA monitoring products in a few years now but my best guess is the acquisition by Broadcom in November 2018 for $18 billion helped solidify their customer base even further and aligned it with Broadcom’s existing products and customer base keeping them a leader in the space. If I was to bet if they will still be a leader in 2025 I would say no… but I have been wrong once already!

A notable mention is Instana who emerged in the Niche Players quadrant in 2020 with fairly high completeness of vision for a niche product. They specialize in APM for Microservice built apps.

What are your predictions for 2021? I would love to hear them. Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter. Thanks!


3 replies on “Analyzing the Gartner 2020 APM Magic Quadrant”

I’m curious as to how you decided based on the graph presented that AppD overtook Dynatrace. Are you valuing Ability to Execute much more highly than Completeness of Vision.

Gartner doesn’t put numbers/scales on their chart, but we can estimate. On a scale of 0-100, it looks like AppD is 65 for AtE and 25 for CoV. That yields a total area of 1625. Dynatrace looks to be 60 for AtE and 40 for CoV. That yields an area of 2400. I just don’t see how the area under AppD is more than under Dynatrace.

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