4 Differences Between Mobile and Server Performance Monitoring
October 15, 2014
Ofer Ronen
Share this

According to eMarketer, as of 2014 Americans consume more media using mobile devices than laptops and desktops combined. This shift in consumer behavior is also occurring within corporations, as employees increasingly rely on mobile devices for their work.

With such a surge in mobile usage there is a growing need for corporations to ensure that their mobile experience is high quality and not broken.

Since 86% of mobile experiences occur within apps and not mobile browsers [source: Flurry], focusing on improving app performance has a larger impact on mobile quality.

The following are 4 key differences that companies monitoring their server (and website) performance should consider when selecting a mobile app performance monitoring solution.

1. Different Team, Different Needs

At most companies, mobile teams are not part of the server/website teams. Instead mobile teams are completely separate and in many cases they are an outsourced team.

The mobile teams have unique pain points when releasing mobile apps that are different from those of web and backend developers (more on this below). Solutions that slightly tweak the interface of a server performance monitoring service do not cut it. These teams require solutions designed from the ground up to solve their problems.

2. Scaling vs. Fragmentation Challenge

Developers on server teams face scaling problems. When a website or backend developer writes a line of code they need to ensure that it performs well as traffic grows and lots of users hit that code.

On the other hand developers on mobile teams face fragmentation problems. When a mobile developer writes a line of code they need to ensure that it will run well on thousands of device configurations, including varying device types, connection types, and OS versions.

A recent study by OpenSignal found that there are over 18,000 types of Android devices. How does a mobile developer confirm that their app code doesn’t break across all these devices? There is only one way, monitor production performance using a service that makes it easy to slide and dice the live performance.

3. Network vs. Device Performance

Server teams are primarily concerned with network performance. When the network is slow the bits don’t get downloaded to the thin client, usually a browser, and the end user suffers.

Mobile teams however are concerned with much more than just the network performance; they are dealing with low-end devices running their evolving client code base.

Unique challenges for mobile app developers include:

- How smooth are the interactions (e.g. scrolling)?

- Are apps hitting memory limits on certain devices hurting the user experience?

- Are users on lower end devices waiting an unreasonable amount of time for calculations to finish?

- Is the app draining the battery at an unreasonable rate?

A performance solution for mobile developers needs to be much more comprehensive in the type of metrics captured, and go beyond simply reporting on network issues.

4. Greater Variability of User Experiences

Unlike desktops and laptops, which are high-powered devices often used indoors on reliable networks, mobile devices have more chaotic environments with a wide range of capabilities running on top of unreliable networks.

Since mobile has more variability, performance monitoring solutions need to remove noise from the data to make it usable. For example, the ability to slice and dice the data to view the data that matters, like performance in the US of the latest app version on older but popular handsets.

Mobile performance monitoring solutions should also provide the ability to handle noise introduced by outliers that distort the average performance. This can be addressed by metrics like 95th percentile performance, which are more representative of a slow experience, and 50th percentile performance, to better measure the typical experience.

Finally, noise is created by interrupted app sessions like answering a phone call in the middle of a session. Solutions that detect and handle interruptions present a clearer picture of true performance.

Summary

As users migrate to using mobile apps, businesses face a challenge ensuring the same high quality experiences provided on the Web. In selecting a mobile performance monitoring service to help discover and prioritize outstanding issues, businesses should consider the unique pain points their mobile teams face as outlined above.

ABOUT Ofer Ronen

Ofer Ronen is the Co-founder and CEO of Pulse.io, a performance monitoring service for mobile app developers. The service monitors over 400 monthly sessions for companies of all sizes. It is unique in the level of performance metrics reported, ensuring that issues are not missed. Ronen previously was CEO of Sendori (sold to IAC), a mobile and web ad network. He received a computer engineering MS/BS from Michigan, and MBA from Cornell.

Share this

The Latest

February 29, 2024

Despite the growth in popularity of artificial intelligence (AI) and ML across a number of industries, there is still a huge amount of unrealized potential, with many businesses playing catch-up and still planning how ML solutions can best facilitate processes. Further progression could be limited without investment in specialized technical teams to drive development and integration ...

February 28, 2024

With over 200 streaming services to choose from, including multiple platforms featuring similar types of entertainment, users have little incentive to remain loyal to any given platform if it exhibits performance issues. Big names in streaming like Hulu, Amazon Prime and HBO Max invest thousands of hours into engineering observability and closed-loop monitoring to combat infrastructure and application issues, but smaller platforms struggle to remain competitive without access to the same resources ...

February 27, 2024

Generative AI has recently experienced unprecedented dramatic growth, making it one of the most exciting transformations the tech industry has seen in some time. However, this growth also poses a challenge for tech leaders who will be expected to deliver on the promise of new technology. In 2024, delivering tangible outcomes that meet the potential of AI, and setting up incubator projects for the future will be key tasks ...

February 26, 2024

SAP is a tool for automating business processes. Managing SAP solutions, especially with the shift to the cloud-based S/4HANA platform, can be intricate. To explore the concerns of SAP users during operational transformations and automation, a survey was conducted in mid-2023 by Digitate and Americas' SAP Users' Group ...

February 22, 2024

Some companies are just starting to dip their toes into developing AI capabilities, while (few) others can claim they have built a truly AI-first product. Regardless of where a company is on the AI journey, leaders must understand what it means to build every aspect of their product with AI in mind ...

February 21, 2024

Generative AI will usher in advantages within various industries. However, the technology is still nascent, and according to the recent Dynatrace survey there are many challenges and risks that organizations need to overcome to use this technology effectively ...

February 20, 2024

In today's digital era, monitoring and observability are indispensable in software and application development. Their efficacy lies in empowering developers to swiftly identify and address issues, enhance performance, and deliver flawless user experiences. Achieving these objectives requires meticulous planning, strategic implementation, and consistent ongoing maintenance. In this blog, we're sharing our five best practices to fortify your approach to application performance monitoring (APM) and observability ...

February 16, 2024

In MEAN TIME TO INSIGHT Episode 3, Shamus McGillicuddy, VP of Research, Network Infrastructure and Operations, at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) discusses network security with Chris Steffen, VP of Research Covering Information Security, Risk, and Compliance Management at EMA ...

February 15, 2024

In a time where we're constantly bombarded with new buzzwords and technological advancements, it can be challenging for businesses to determine what is real, what is useful, and what they truly need. Over the years, we've witnessed the rise and fall of various tech trends, such as the promises (and fears) of AI becoming sentient and replacing humans to the declaration that data is the new oil. At the end of the day, one fundamental question remains: How can companies navigate through the tech buzz and make informed decisions for their future? ...

February 14, 2024

We increasingly see companies using their observability data to support security use cases. It's not entirely surprising given the challenges that organizations have with legacy SIEMs. We wanted to dig into this evolving intersection of security and observability, so we surveyed 500 security professionals — 40% of whom were either CISOs or CSOs — for our inaugural State of Security Observability report ...