Organizations depend on fully functioning IT systems and processes to attract customers, deliver services and manage internal operations. The operation of these systems and processes directly impacts the business and reputation of each organization. Ensuring that all IT systems and processes are fully functional 24×7 is a key component of any organization’s IT performance management strategy. This is where synthetic monitoring comes in.
Synthetic monitoring uses software robots to actively simulate user transactions to IT applications and measure their availability and responsiveness. Continuous simulation helps detect application availability and response time problems proactively and allows administrators to correct them before users notice.
How much does an online retailer lose if their external web marketplace goes down for even a minute? How much productivity is lost when a payroll or other important internal service fails or is extremely slow? The answers are different for each organization, but the costs are significant. In case the services are being accessed by users external to the organization, the cost of downtime or slow time is even higher. 100% uptime is the objective for all companies, but even a small percentage of downtime or slow time can be incredibly expensive and damaging to the organization’s brand. All types of firms, from eCommerce to manufacturing, need an accurate synthetic monitoring system to ensure efficient operations.
These days, most organizations are relying on one or more cloud-based or SaaS services. With a cloud-based or SaaS service, organizations are able to access and consume the service, but there is no way to install agents at the service provider end. Even though the cloud or SaaS service provider may provide monitoring consoles and APIs, these do not provide an unbiased way to monitor the performance of the service. Synthetic monitoring is the only way to monitor the performance of cloud and SaaS services in an unbiased manner and the results can be used to measure performance against promised service levels. Many organizations also have hybrid IT services where the main business logic is executed on systems internal to the network, but they use external, third-party services for specialized functions.
Synthetic monitoring can fall into one of three categories: uptime, transaction, or page speed monitoring.
Uptime deals with how often a website can stay up during a given period. This type of monitoring consistently tests a site’s availability and accessibility via ping tests or GET requests. Usually, a synthetic monitor can perform root-cause analysis to figure out what might be causing downtime.
Transaction monitoring focuses on verifying user interactions by running simulated tests to find and repair issues with business-critical functions (such as the checkout feature on an e-commerce website). The point is to trace and fix problems before customers find them.
Finally, page speed monitoring does precisely what it indicates — tracks page load speeds and detects sources of slowdowns (e.g., a slow content-delivery network).
Synthetic monitoring allows you to simulate actual user interactions to identify bugs and performance issues before they affect the customer experience.
You also get the benefit of monitoring site performance from different global regions, a must-have feature for multinational corporations, as well as businesses selling products and services worldwide and those with a target audience in a different jurisdiction.
Your synthetic monitoring tool will send alerts when site performance drops below a set threshold and provide advanced reporting and visualization to help you spot and fix the problem immediately.
With access to historical data, you can also check performance over time and share this information with customers to meet service level agreements or track the impact of website changes on overall performance.