Directed or Synthetic Monitoring is a method to monitor your applications by simulating users – directing the path taken through the application. This process provides information on the uptime and performance of your critical business transactions and the most common approaches in the application. The simple reality is that there is no easy way to combine the elements.
Such as accessibility, coherence, and manageability offered by a centralized system with the sharing, growth, cost, and autonomy advantages of a distributed system. At this intersection, businesses turn to IT development and operations teams for guidance — APM tools enable them to negotiate these gaps. New Relic is one of the most popular synthetic solutions.
This is because it offers a robust feature set that enables enterprises to identify application faults quickly. New Relic allows you to simulate user actions with synthetic monitors, choose specific areas to watch, and fine-tune your alert settings. In today’s digital world, applications play an increasingly vital role in personal and business life. And each has its unique demands.
Furthermore, our increased dependence on these applications has increased complexity, making reaching and maintaining optimal performance more challenging. As such, that’s where a directed or synthetic monitoring solution comes in.
Understanding How Synthetic Monitoring Works And Why It Matters
Synthetic Monitoring, or Directed Monitoring, performs automated, simulated transactions from a robot client to your application to mimic what a typical user might do. Synthetic Monitoring can be applied inside the firewall — within the data center. This ensures that all the machines are running correctly or outside the firewall to provide crucial data information.
The monitored information includes availability and performance from a global perspective. These server calls, and testing scripts become “monitoring” tools by running at set regular intervals — say, every 15 minutes — and can be issued from a single designated synthetic monitoring client browser. Or from multiple web browsers at different database server locations.
Markedly, to better gauge the website availability and application responsiveness globally. In this way, you get a steady, solid baseline to monitor server and application performance on a 24/7 cycle basis. More so, even during periods of low user engagement, because it consists of test scripts — simulating an end-users clickstream through the whole navigation process.
The process includes form submission, free online puzzle games, or shopping cart transactions — synthetic monitoring can run in private test environments before deploying new features or during regular offline maintenance. At the same time, it reveals potential bugs before real users can encounter them — it either simulates a browser or drives an actual browser.
Why Directed Testing For App Data Stacks Is Crucial Before Launching
On the one hand, directed testing lets you find problems before your customers do. If the proper techniques are employed, Synthetic Monitoring can provide a view from the same perspective as end users to tell you the performance and whether customers will be satisfied with the experience. This means that, in real time, you can see the version of your application.
You’ll also be able to see how your APIs behave before launching them or at 3 am after applying changes, as well as during peak times. A fully featured synthetic monitoring tool will provide performance measurements from the browser, measurements such as first paint time, above-the-fold load times, and specific object load times.
Those granular measurements tell you precisely what users will see and how long until they see it, i.e., your applications’ performance. The right system will run tests that emulate the users so closely that the only difference between a real live customer and the test is that the navigational path of the test doesn’t vary.
Using this method provides a baseline for performance and, therefore, a basis for understanding if there is a problem. Looking at a performance problem with synthetic monitoring means shorter MTTR. This is because you know the test being run and can reproduce and study issues more efficiently.
1. Find and fix issues before they impact end users
Synthetic monitoring helps you emulate user interactions and run them as tests from global monitoring locations or behind your firewall. Synthetic monitoring proactively watches over your APIs, websites, web, mobile, and SaaS applications, even during low-traffic periods, and alerts your operations team in case of performance degradation or availability issues.
So you get enough bandwidth to identify the problem, engage subject matter experts, find the root cause, and fix issues before they impact the end users. Test from the end user’s perspective is an essential synthetic monitoring process. As a rule of thumb, you can be ready for all diverse user scenarios by testing your websites and applications from the end user’s perspective.
2. Helps in baselining and benchmarking
Synthetic monitoring allows you to monitor your APIs and applications at the frequency and location(s) of your choice at all times. Over time, this monitoring data can be used for baselining your application’s performance, identifying areas of improvement, and developing performance improvement strategies. You can also use synthetic monitoring to benchmark web processes.
Such as the availability and performance of your application with your historic self or against competitors. By monitoring your website or applications at the real browser level, where all the dynamic components of your applications come together, synthetic monitoring enables you to measure the actual end-user experience.
3. Prepare for the peak traffic season or a new market
Synthetic monitoring gives you a unique ability to monitor the area of your website or application without real user traffic. Imagine a new marketing campaign driving traffic to a new location of the application. Synthetic monitoring allows you to proactively simulate traffic to that area and help you ensure availability and performance.
The other use case is when you are launching your services in a new geography. Synthetic monitoring enables you to check your application’s performance from that geography and address any performance issues before your end users encounter them. Synthetic monitors are run from different geographical locations or browsers via internet service providers and devices.
4. Monitor complex transactions and business processes
Only checking the availability and uptime of your APIs and applications is insufficient when striving to deliver a high-quality application performance. Synthetic monitoring allows you to emulate business processes or user transactions such as logging in, searching, filling forms, adding items to a cart and checking out, etc., from different geographies and monitor their performance.
You can then compare performance stats between geographies and transaction steps and formulate your performance improvement plans. Such realistic monitoring provides insight into response time components and the end user experience metrics such as page load, DOM load, first paint, and above the fold.
5. Measure, Adhere to SLAs & account for your 3rd party vendors
Service level agreements are critical to modern business. No matter what side of the SLA you are on, measuring and adhering to the agreed-upon level of service is beneficial for both client and vendor parties. For vendors, synthetic monitoring helps understand the availability and performance limitations of the application better.
With this data, vendors can set realistic service level objectives and avoid unforeseen penalties. Still, modern applications depend on multiple 3rd party components for functionality and data. By all means, it’s worth mentioning that synthetic monitoring enables the consumers of such 3rd party services to monitor service level objectives, performance degradations, and more.
As well as track and monitor unavailability incidents to hold the vendors accountable. The most common 3rd party integrations are CDNs, payment processing solutions, website search and recommendations plugins, business intelligence, analytics solutions, etc.
How New Relic Testing Tool Helps In Synthetic Monitoring For Apps
For freebies, newcomer website designers, and beginner application developers, it’s worth mentioning that New Relic is a US-based Web tracking and analytics company. The company’s cloud-based software allows websites and mobile applications to track user interactions and service operators’ software and hardware performance.
Using the New Relic Synthetic Monitoring, you can continuously test the availability, performance, and functionality of all critical website and application components — that help deliver your digital online business to guarantee reliability and a better end-user experience. Modern websites and applications demand more than essential HTTP monitoring.
Without proper testing and monitoring tools, customers could become disenfranchised after repeatedly calling and messaging you to troubleshoot slow performance issues. With aggregate numbers showing uptime, performance, and browser functionality — New Relic makes measurement simple, and it especially learns how to get Synthetics Monitoring to deliver.
Full-Stack Observability helps engineers plan, build, deploy, and run great software. Use New Relic’s Synthetics to evaluate and monitor the performance of your website, apps, and services. You may think of the New Relic agent as a piece of software that operates in the background of your application and sends data back to New Relic for analysis to be performed.
In most cases, the New Relic synthetic monitoring agent must be installed before starting. The agent is compatible with various platforms, like Windows, Linux, and macOS. Only New Relic has a unified data platform for all telemetry data — metrics, events, logs, and traces — paired with analysis tools to find solutions fast. Move past the ‘what’ to uncover the ‘why;’
1. Configuring Web Server
Browser simulation is straightforward and takes up little resources but does not provide an accurate picture of the user experience. Simulated browsers cannot follow dynamic, rich websites and may not offer precise user experience data. Usually, synthetic tests provide a baseline and monitor your applications regardless of the time of day or the traffic on the website.
But they do not cover everything that is happening on the website. Synthetic tests can run fine, but your end users could still have issues. Due to the tests not simulating the network, geographical location, band with browser or device correctly, or users doing things on the website, you aren’t testing for. These tests are indicative of user experience but are not definitive.
Notably, the New Relic Tool for synthetic monitoring runs tests at periodic intervals — as low as one minute from more than 120 global locations against your websites, APIs, and web applications to ensure a successful response. You can leverage historical data to identify monthly trends and seasonality. Or even verify web server configuration by adding response headers.
You can also use regular expression patterns or strings to check for the presence of a value in the returned response body. In addition, you can also monitor dependent resources like DNS servers, SSL certificates, mail servers, WebSocket endpoints, and more to get a complete view of all the resources powering your service.
2. Monitoring Alert Pings
In this case, ping monitors provide an easy and cost-effective way of checking whether a website is online by repeatedly pinging its host name. Running at the interval selected, these simple monitors collect data and generate alerts as necessary. For instance, the New Relic Monitors can be organized into dashboards for an at-a-glance overview of their status.
While making detecting and quickly addressing potential problems more manageable. Custom dashboards in New Relic Insights allow you to add synthetic monitoring results (excluding histogram visualizations ). By default, these dashboards are private; however, you can share them with anyone if desired — the monitored results are saved for 13 months.
As a result, the saved data enables you to understand historical performance trends and evaluate downtime incidents. Monitoring coverage can be expanded using public Minion locations or private ones behind firewalls. You can filter monitors based on URL, date range, or any other criteria — New Relic also offers recommendations for each synthetic monitor.
3. Testing API Processes
New Relic’s cloud-based Application Performance Management (APM) solution helps you monitor your app’s performance from low-level events at the JVM or browser levels up to user journeys, providing visibility into key metrics like response time components and end-user experience. It enables you to identify and prioritize performance issues quickly.
While simultaneously providing greater insight into key metrics like response time components and end-user experiences. Synthetic Monitoring is a tool that utilizes test scripts run from remote locations and real browsers to simulate an end-user experience on websites or applications, providing an accurate snapshot of their availability and responsiveness globally.
While on the other hand, collecting key metrics such as load time, uptime, and average download size. For more information on synthetic monitors, refer to this comprehensive guide to gather more details. You can also view and manage your ping, simple browser, and scripted browser monitors through the REST API using the New Relic testing and monitoring tool.
4. Monitoring Simple Browsers
Modern web apps and websites demand more than simple HTTP ping monitoring. Go beyond basic website testing by expanding to real browsers using scripted monitors that test complex transactions, login procedures, and searches. In contrast, API tests help detect slow third-party resources and infrastructure, validating your backend functionality to each header.
Fortunately, you can easily set up and configure lightweight monitors inside the New Relic Synthetic Monitoring UI or use the elastic-synthetics push command (which supports all private locations – see @elastic/synthetics_locations for details). Additionally, visit the New Relic Docs for more information on synthetic monitor tools and testing system types.
Advanced settings and troubleshooting require wait conditions, sequence actions like logging monitor results, or device emulation – simulating the viewport and capabilities of mobile or tablet browsers for more accurate testing. Synthetics monitoring also integrates seamlessly with New Relic Lookout, so you can simultaneously see all your critical monitors in one unified view.
5. Monitoring Scripted Browsers
New Relic’s synthetic monitoring service acts like an arsenal of automated helpers that keep an eye on your software. Helping you to identify problems, see user engagement with apps and websites, track service level agreements, and alert when availability falls. You can set performance thresholds to be alerted once the availability drops below a predefined mark.
To create a synthetic monitor, first, choose your monitor type. Enter the URL or API endpoint you want to test and choose an interval frequency interval; New Relic checks your website from multiple global locations). If a monitor has any alert conditions defined, you can view them on its summary page. If an active critical alert exists, clicking it opens a dialog box.
Plus, there is also a clear dashboard displaying error details. Furthermore, clicking its icon allows for managing its Alert Policy. Remember, New Relic is an observability platform that helps you build better software. You can bring in data from any digital source to fully understand your system, analyze that data efficiently, and respond to incidents before they become problems.
We can clearly say that Synthetic Monitoring is the practice of using scripted transactions to simulate user behavior on a website or application to detect and address performance issues before they affect end users. For example, you can use the Site24x7 Synthetic Monitoring Tool to continuously test all critical components’ availability, performance, and functionality.
Eventually, this can help deliver your digital business to guarantee optimal reliability and a better end-user experience. In other words, using synthetic monitoring to check whether your apps are running smoothly and providing a good experience for users is crucial. You may increase your application’s performance by spotting problems before they affect end users.
In particular, this is by leveraging the New Relic features for synthetic monitoring, adhering to best regression testing practices, employing realistic user situations, and cooperating with other teams. When problems arise, you can rely on New Relic’s extensive troubleshooting tools and documentation to help you pinpoint the cause and implement a solution without delay.
You can keep your app online and satisfy users using these resources and instruments. A tremendous monitoring tool has instructions on programmatically creating or updating one (ping/simple browser/scripted browser monitors). The best practices and capabilities for synthetic monitoring can help you anticipate problems and keep your customers happy.