In this day and age, there isn’t a single SaaS company that doesn’t want to know if its applications are healthy and robust. Yet, to verify that applications work properly and perform well, understanding Web Application Monitoring is essential.
What is Web Application Monitoring? It’s a type of synthetic monitoring that tracks and evaluates user activity on web applications, around the clock. And, while it seems like a simple process, it is actually a very complicated one.
Why monitor web applications?
On one hand, companies are increasingly relying on applications to deliver value and attract more customers. On the other hand, the digital revolution has forced companies and their teams to create elaborate application environments to keep up with the new, demanding circumstances. At the same time, the end-users expect applications to be available and highly responsive, at all times. That’s why monitoring web applications has become so critical, today.
How can Web Application Monitoring help? In a nutshell, it helps:
- Gain visibility into the health and performance of the application
- Track critical metrics
- Reduce downtime
- Reduce mean time to recover (MTTR)
- Prevent issues from recurring
- Track user behavior
- Understand and improve user experience
- Streamline operations
- Reduce expenses
- Facilitate communication and collaboration between teams
- Enhance productivity
Understanding Web Application Monitoring
Understanding Web Application Monitoring requires, first and foremost, an understanding of its basic aspects; which mainly include, but are not limited to:
- Application performance monitoring (APM)
- End-user monitoring
- Synthetic monitoring
Let’s examine these aspects, one by one.
Application Performance Monitoring (APM)
Application Performance Monitoring (APM) focuses on the application environment; and, in many cases — depending on the CMP or other tools used — APM can be utilized to keep the underlying infrastructure of the environment in check, as well. With APM up and running, managers can spot potential performance issues early on; thus, acting proactively towards remediating them. That is, before affecting end users.
Log files lead to a better understanding of Web Application Monitoring, as they capture a wide range of useful event data from the application itself. This set of data can be used to assess and improve application performance.
To explain how logging works, typically, an application environment consists of several components, and each of them logs different granular events, in detail. As a result, log files can provide performance and user information, as well as specific patterns, for further analysis.
This aspect of Web Application Monitoring puts end-users — and their activities within the app — at the center of the monitoring process. It’s what helps managers identify opportunities to improve UX; and even guide users toward targeted actions. Moreover, end-user monitoring helps teams outline the path users take when navigating the application, to identify bottlenecks or failure points. In this respect, it also helps understand how end-users are experiencing the application.
End-user monitoring records all user interactions — and transactions — in real-time; and provides end-user behavior insights, over the network. Hence, teams are able to pinpoint both successful and failed interactions and transactions, to determine which components affect the company’s bottom line.
What kind of user interactions can teams monitor?
Although this varies from application to application, most of these interactions tend to be routine tasks, like:
- Logging in/off
- Retrieving user ID and password
- Navigating and searching
- Filling out forms
- Completing a financial transaction
With synthetic monitoring, teams perform availability checks, to ensure continuous uptime. Like end-user monitoring, synthetic monitoring can only provide data from an end-user perspective; not infrastructure and application performance, like APM, for example.
While both end-user and synthetic monitoring are essential for understanding Web Application Monitoring, it’s critical to monitor the application environment and its underlying infrastructure, too, to get the whole picture.
A note on the aspects of Web Application Monitoring
Whereas end-user and synthetic monitoring are limited to tracking end-user activity — meaning, they cannot offer in-depth application performance insights — they can, however, lead to understanding Web Application Monitoring better; especially when combined with the other aspects of monitoring that we mention here.
The importance of alerts, analytics, and reports in understanding Web Application Monitoring better
Simply put, collecting monitoring data would have no point, unless teams are promptly alerted and notified when something is off. The same stands for analytics and reporting; without them, data could only go so far in providing insights, regarding user experience and application performance.
Alerts and notifications
Αlerts monitor the system constantly, to detect and notify teams about important changes in state. It’s imperative for both alerts and notifications to be customized and delivered, based on the needs of every team; and, of course, according to the application’s standards. Customizing alerts and notifications equals optimal proactive monitoring and saves teams valuable time; which would otherwise be lost to responding to false alarms.
Analytics and reports
Evidently, understanding Web Application Monitoring implies having invested time in examining analytics and reporting, first. That’s important because they provide actionable insights to managers and their teams. With analytics and reports, managers can also achieve business goals, including:
- Smart budget allocation
- Cost reduction
- Optimal resources usage
- Seamless Application Lifecycle Management
All things considered, analytics and reporting can significantly impact business decisions; and thus, a company’s profitability.
TL;DR — Understanding Web Application
Every tech-driven company knows that even a minute of downtime can cost thousands in lost revenue. The good news is that any such company, nowadays, can mitigate the possibility of downtime, by applying Application Monitoring; while taking preventative steps, before an issue reaches end-users.
And, the only way to take preventative steps is to gain visibility into relevant, actionable metrics; as well as analytics, for in-depth insights. Only by understanding Web Application Monitoring — and following its best practices — can managers get a grasp of the state of their services in real-time. Not only that, but also examine historical data to better comprehend their applications and the behavior of their end-users.