Next Generation of End User Experience Management: Complete Visibility across Applications and Networks
by October 16, 2012

Filed under: Networking Technology, Performance Monitoring

I know we’ve talked about it a lot here on the Performance Monitoring Blog, but I cannot stress enough the importance of end user experience monitoring. Unfortunately, your customers do not care if a problem is inside your datacenter or outside your control – they will hold you ultimately responsible for their web experiences on your pages.Customers lack patience for poor web experiences, as their threshold for slow-loading pages peaks at only two seconds, according to Forrester Consulting.

Traditionally, application performance management has been characterized by a horizontal approach — a domain management group was responsible for individually maintaining each silo. However, the relationship between network and application performance is so tight, that with a disjointed application performance management and network performance management strategy in place, your IT, development and application operations teams will be troubleshooting in the dark, severely impacting MTTR (Mean-Time-To-Resolution).

The only way to ensure optimal web performance in today’s world is by utilizing the next generation of end user experience management — a unified understanding of both application performance management and deep network performance insight.

Holistic Performance Management Approach Driven by User Experience

This holistic approach entails four key areas:

Unified Network and Application Monitoring

1. End User Experience

An ideal management solution should deliver both real-time and synthetic monitoring:

  • Real-time monitoring can help you quickly detect and pinpoint application problems to an offending JavaBean method, servlet or database connection as soon as they happen.
  • Synthetic monitoring proactively exercises applications to help identify and repair application crashes or wrong return data before real end users encounter those situations.

In fact, you should start by identifying your real business objectives or scenarios to pinpoint which web transactions are critical in your environment. Each one of these business-critical scenarios or transactions should be managed synthetically and in real time, on a continual basis.

2. Network Performance

Network assessment and continuous performance monitoring are critical components of key application-centric initiatives, such as new application deployment, upgrades and application performance optimization initiatives. The best way to understand exactly how your bandwidth and capacity are utilized and by whom – users, applications and protocols – is to go deeper in to your network flows.

3. Synthetic End User Monitoring

One of the best ways to ensure quality customer experiences is to detect problems beforeyour end users are even aware that there is a problem. Proactively monitoring your web applications using the same network circuits and from the same remote sites and locations that your end users do is the best way to accurately assess the application performance as experienced by your customers and find problems before they do.

4. Application Tracing

With real-time application tracing, you can visualize the latency of any request in your application and get insight into what is causing a latency problem, whether it is a failing SQL query, an overloaded server or a poorly performing method. When searching for an application tracing service, look for low overhead, multi-language support, comprehensive alerting mechanisms and advanced filtering capabilities so your development counterparts can review their trouble points and the issues that only affect a portion of your end users.