The Importance of Real and Synthetic End User Monitoring
September 22, 2015

Dennis Rietvink
Savision

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Organizations have many ways of ensuring that their systems are functioning properly. One of the most important things to measure, when assessing the performance of a system, is the end user experience.

Can users access the system quickly? Do they experience errors while accessing the system? Can they easily interact with the system across all the available channels? For the IT department, the answers to these questions determine whether or not the system is functioning properly. For the organization, they reveal the most important thing – whether or not their customers are happy, and are likely to continue using their services.

There are two ways to monitor user transactions and interactions with your website:

Real User Monitoring

This method uses a passive monitoring system, documenting all actions of users as they interact with your website. The feedback, generated in real time, is automatically assessed against established benchmarks, to correctly measure the quality of delivered services.

Real user monitoring systems have many advantages – you get to know exactly how visitors to your website experience all its features and applications, and how the website is performing for your end users in various geographic locations. The biggest problem with this method is that you won’t know about any website issues until at least one user gets to experience an existing problem.

Synthetic User Monitoring

This method simulates user experience on your website. It works by scripting typical user actions, and then simulates user click at regular intervals, to ensure that your website is responsive.

This method enables you to proactively catch any existing problems before your end users get to experience slow or unresponsive applications, or encounter other errors.

The obvious downside is that this method requires you to spend time scripting typical user actions. In addition, if your website changes frequently, you’ll need to periodically update your scripted scenarios.

In addition to websites, synthetic transactions can be used to monitor databases and TCP ports.

Organizations need a solution that can help recognize potential system problems by categorizing and visually presenting information concerning end user behavior and website performance in real time. In addition, such solution should also offer a way to script common user transactions and monitor the system’s performance 24x7.

End user monitoring reflects end user health, but doesn’t tell you the root cause of a problem. Linking end user monitoring data with application and infrastructure monitoring data enables organizations to determine the impact of a problem, rank its priority and quickly navigate to the root cause.

Dennis Rietvink is Co-Founder and VP of Product Management at Savision

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