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How 2 Steps Reduces Application Monitoring Frictions

2 Steps Team
29 Mar. 2019, 11:26:53 am

For most businesses, application monitoring is a headache. According to the latest damage control report, the average business faces 5 critical IT incidents every single month. The average damage (including finding and fixing) of each incident is over $140,000. That's an outrageous sum, especially for small (and growth stage) businesses, who have to slow down production-side to offset the costs of their IT departments. It's not just fixing these issues that are the problem; it's finding them before they impact users.

The entire ecosystem of IT has a visibility issue — the same issue that's causing pain points in IT infrastructure, tech adoption, and app development. So, today, we're going to talk about how 2 Steps is positioning a solution to application monitoring — the art of finding those incidents fast.

Our system is a unique, one-of-a-kind solution that we believe will disrupt the IT industry and give businesses a more cost-effective and robust solution to application monitoring.

What Makes 2 STEPS Different

Let's say that your brand wants to use an application monitoring solution to prevent IT backlogs and blockages. As it currently stands, you have PLENTY of options. There's ThousandEyes, Riverbed, Stackify, Dynatrace, etc. etc. The point is you're certainly not lacking options. But, you lack something — monitoring variety.

Almost all of the current players in the application monitoring space utilise Real User Monitoring (RUM) — where they report interactions that real users are having with an application.

While this methodology is fantastic for giving businesses insights into usage patterns, it lacks in some critical areas. Namely:

  • The app has to be in run state (can't health check pre-launch)
  • Doesn't check 3rd party apps for function (doesn't assess the entire architecture of the app)
  • Users are notified of app failures before you are
  • Real User Monitoring can't assess non-running apps or apps that currently have no active users
  • Variability in how users access the application (Wifi, 4g, etc.) can impact results

Because of this, most RUM testing can be a fantastic solution for businesses looking for usage statistics, but it doesn't do anything for pre-launch apps, and it doesn't survey your entire app infrastructure. Since the app ecosystem connects many 3rd party solutions together, being able to test functionality across your architecture can save your hairline.

So, instead of utilising Real User Monitoring, 2 Steps uses Synthetic Monitoring.

What is Synthetic Monitoring?

Picture this. You have an application, and you want to run a health-check pre-launch. You also want 24/7 monitoring that assesses both your app and the infrastructure around the app. Sounds too good to be true, right?

Meet synthetic monitoring.

While RUM uses real users to garner insights, synthetic monitoring (also known as synthetic transaction management) uses scripts that behave like users to simulate user experiences on an application.

This means that synthetic monitoring can:

  • Proactively measure performance
  • Monitors complex processes
  • Can be set up to run in a controlled environment and take precise steps
  • Can find problems before users and correct them
  • Monitors 3rd party architecture interactions

Of course, there are some limitations:

  • Synthetic Monitoring is excellent at finding out that an application failed, but it doesn't always know why an application failed
  • Poor vendor choice could leave you investing in additional scripts constantly

Why 2 STEPS?

First, the most popular synthetic monitoring solution on the market is Selenium, which presents an issue for many businesses looking to accurately identify applications weaknesses. Not only does Selenium not work natively with Windows apps and IE apps, but it only inspects low-level code. This means that its scripts aren't acting like users, more like scriptbots. Since they focus on low-level application code, Selenium can miss basics such as whether or not buttons are visible. At the same time, Selenium doesn't work well with Java or mobile apps, which makes up a majority of use cases.

Second, 2 Steps is agentless.

What does that mean?

Why Going Agentless Matters

Do you want to prevent revenue leakage, reduce implementation costs, and avoid headaches? Then you want an agentless monitoring process.

As it currently stands, many RUM and Synthetic monitoring vendors use agent-based monitoring. Agent-based monitoring involves installing agent software on target servers and devices that collect monitoring data. So, agent monitoring requires that this agent software is installed on ALL of the devices.

Here are the frictions that agent-based monitoring causes for businesses using apps (particularly mobile apps):

  1. The infrastructure (agent scripts) needed to run hundreds of devices can be extremely expensive and time-consuming.
  2. Agent-based monitoring can only run one test per device.
  3. Must best installed on every server (even business-critical servers).
  4. You can't automate a native mobile application
  5. Agent-based technology is complex and expensive
  6. Synthetic monitoring is about performing the same task over and over again causing the phone to overload/break.
  7. 3rd party feeds (think Google Maps, payment gateways, etc.) can break under the stress of agent-based monitoring.
  8. Monitoring is impacted by variable network performance between the application and the service.
  9. Rebuilding the application in an emulator is extremely difficult (and sometimes illegal).
  10. Agent-based monitoring requires constant maintenance and upgrades.

All of these frictions are mitigated by using agentless monitoring.

Unlike agent-based monitoring, agentless monitoring DOES NOT require agent scripts to be installed on each device/server. Therefore, costs go down, while device impact goes down.

Conclusion

Both Real User Monitoring and Synthetic Monitoring have their pros-and-cons. But, for most application instances, synthetic monitoring is a more robust solution. Since you can proactively stop potential issues, the end impact on your users can be mostly mitigated with synthetic monitoring. Currently, there aren't many options for businesses that want to use Synthetic Monitoring. The most popular ones on the market tend to use low-level scripts and have poor integration with many applications.

2 Steps agentless synthetic monitoring allows organizations to automate critical workflows, track user journeys within applications, and prevent revenue leakage on any type of device (iOS/Android, etc.) Our agentless approach is rapidly deployable, scalable, and doesn't impact your users. Overall, 2 Steps gives you a rapidly deployable IT solution that can help you save money and reduce IT pain points.

To learn more, contact us.

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