What is Active Monitoring?

Introduction

One of the foundations of APM resides in end-user experience.

How can you verify functionality, availability, and application response times from the end-to-end perspective, even when it is not usually possible? Think about scenarios like the lack of real users on systems, pre-production / testing environments or specific time slots in which specific controls should be executed with greater sensibility.

Understanding Active Monitoring / Synthetic Monitoring

In the end-user experience, this “being active” concept is called by different names which, however, have the same meaning: Active Monitoring, or the most widely used Synthetic Monitoring.

The purpose of Active Monitoring is to reproduce the behavior of the end user by entering automated transactions or scripts which perform navigation of web applications, client / server, mainframe just like a real user.

Modularity and granularity of these checks are the two key principles for the correct end-user monitoring experience.

These scripts can be instructed to perform critical operations such as a login to a system or a specific command or search. Checks on these critical operations are considered of primary importance. Just think of how it can be catastrophic in terms of a business, a loss of use of a main service (for example a search on an e-commerce website).

It is also important to have complete freedom to schedule the execution of these checks. They can be performed individually or in groups, with a frequency at regular intervals ranging from a few seconds to hours, in a specific period of time or continuously 24/7. Everything you need to recreate the stream of users on the systems is there.

Checking availability and performance, even when applications and services are not being used by real users, or when the user flow is relatively low, as for example during night hours, is really useful. You can always get reliable measurements, repeatable and comparable through time, to have a solid basis for capacity planning and action planning operations.

Another advantage of “being active” is that you can check if a new feature is efficient even before a new production release. Whether it’s an update, a new feature or even an entirely new application, which is in a pre-production test environment or actual production, Active Monitoring allows you to always verify the real availability and performance of your application and services and prepare finer grained checks for specific operations you need. It is a great help in every production step.

Conclusions

Being active means test and monitor what you want, when you need it.

For all these reasons Virtual User aims to be active: Active Monitoring allows a better understanding of availability and performance of applications through user experience with complete flexibility on all application controls.