Qualities of an Ideal Real User Monitor

There are certain qualities that one should look for in a Real User Monitor:

  • Easy to install/maintain: The Monitor should not require expert assistance for deployment. Moreover, it should install quickly and should not involve cumbersome maintenance.
  • Non-intrusive monitoring: The Monitor should capture responsiveness of real user transactions in a non-intrusive manner - in other words, it should not mandate the installation of agent software on business-critical servers for monitoring. It should also not interfere with server operations or adversely impact server performance in any way.
  • Capture responsiveness regardless of development framework and programming language of web applications: Java, .NET, HTML are some of the widely used languages for building web applications. Each of these languages in turn runs on robust development frameworks. A good Real User Monitor is one that can snoop on transactions to any web application, regardless of the programming language and framework on which it has been developed.
  • Accurately detect the root-cause of poor user experience: An ideal Real User Monitor is one that not just pinpoints transactions that are slow, but reveals where the transactions could have been bottlenecked – at the front-end? the backend? Or the network? This hastens problem resolution and ensures high service availability.
  • Measure user-experience from different browser/browser versions: Sometimes, what browser you use to access a web application may impact responsiveness. The Real User Monitor should be able to report user experience as seen from different browsers/browser versions, so that IT is able to identify the browsers on which their web applications work best.
  • Reveal how response time varies with geography: Where the infrastructure spans multiple geographies, it is only natural for administrators to expect the Real User Monitor to capture user experience from every geography, so that they can quickly mark the ‘problem zones’ in the infrastructure. The service interactions of users in such geographies can be closely scrutinized to figure out the reason for the high response time.
  • Identify popular clients: Web applications these days are accessed from a variety of client devices – desktops, mobile phones, tablets, are just to name a few. Enterprises today want to know the device that is used by a large majority of their web application users, so that they can tune the look, feel, and performance of their web applications to satisfy such users and ensure their loyalty. At the same time, they also want to quickly compare responsiveness across the device types, so that they know which devices are seeing poor responsiveness and how many users are affected in the process. The Real User Monitor should provide such device-specific insights.
  • Capture Javascript errors: Javascript errors are also key spoilers of the user experience with a web application. Any RUM solution should therefore be able to capture and report such errors, as soon as they occur.