Six Criteria for Selecting a Web Application Performance Monitoring Solution

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1. Using a real Web browser is an absolute requirement for measuring today’s Web applications. Understanding Web site performance from the perspective of a real Web browser is so important because:

  • It is the only way to generate an interaction with your Web site that exercises your application like one of your actual end-users.
  • A browser also measures a more precise view of how all the elements of the site content load for the user and how that impacts the user experience.
  • Since a real Web browser is driving the entire interaction by entering URLs, clicking links and buttons, and filling in form fields, the Web application is functionally tested each time a test executes.

2. Configuration is easy and efficient. A Web application performance monitoring solution should be fast and easy to use. There are many complex solutions in the Web application performance monitoring space that require a lot of tools and expertise, and are designed to be used by highly-trained technical resources. Look for a Web transaction capture and playback mechanism that is easy and natural to use and can reliably play back on the desktop exactly as it will play back in the service. This is key to allowing the business to participate in defining performance monitoring scenarios and an important part of the total cost of ownership to be considered.

3. Flexible notification and alerting drives awareness of operational issues. Providing error notifications by traditional methods like e-mail, as well as SMS, telephone call, and SNMP are important. Receiving an actual telephone call can be very useful in raising cognizance of issues during off-hours. Integrating alert notifications about Web site performance or availability issues can be integrated with existing Network Operations Centers.

4. Detailed reporting and diagnostics drive troubleshooting and performance analysis and trending. As mentioned above, using a real Web browser provides a very detailed view of the availability and performance of every aspect of today’s complex Web applications. Capturing useful diagnostics like screen shots and request/response headers can really help identify the cause of errors quickly. Network diagnostics like TCP tracerouting provide a very powerful view and should be included in any connectivity notifications or alerts.

5. Monitoring inside and outside the firewall provides a complete view of service delivery. Supplementing external monitoring with the data center perspective often speeds problem diagnoses. A complete solution can perform Web application performance monitoring for internal applications as well as those connected to the Internet.

6. Superior service and support contribute greatly to customer success with any technology.

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