APM Insights: Beyond the Acronym

Application Performance Management

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APM Authors: Pat Romanski, XebiaLabs Blog, Mehdi Daoudi, Ruxit Blog, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Application Performance Management (APM), Continuous Testing, DevOps Journal

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Monitoring Dynamic Multi-Step Transactions | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps #APM #Monitoring

Knowing how your home page and other critical pages perform for end users is important to understand the digital experience

Monitoring Dynamic Multi-Step Transactions
By Dawn Parzych

Last week, I tried to book a hotel for an upcoming business trip. I logged into the travel portal entered the city and dates of travel and clicked search. Then, I waited and waited and waited and waited, yet nothing happened. I tried again; same results. At this point, I gave up and moved onto other tasks, conceding to the fact that I would have to come back and try again later. If this had been for personal travel, I would have moved onto another site to book my room and a sale would have been lost. As this was for business, I had to use the corporate travel portal so there was no lost sale, only my lost time. I was more frustrated by this than if I could have just gone to another site.

Knowing how your home page and other critical pages perform for end users is important to understand the digital experience. But, your website is made up of more than discrete pages—in many instances, users are doing more than visiting a single page and are actually following a sequence of pages. For example, Amazon experienced a 3-hour outage last June. The outage didn’t affect their homepage, but it did their search functionality. Users trying to search for a product or browse a category encountered errors. Ensuring a user can complete any and every action is just as important as monitoring individual pages.

Monitoring multi-step transactions in addition to individual pages is critical to identifying such outages. Transaction monitoring can be more complicated than single page monitoring when determining which parameters should be used. Different search terms may yield different results based on application logic or the APIs that are being used to pull information. Using the same search term may not provide enough insight but it isn’t feasible to test every single search term. A balance needs to be found.

Catchpoint offers customers the ability to quickly create multi-step transactions through a selenium based Chrome script recorder. The script recorder makes it easy to create and upload a transaction to detect and resolve issues with key business processes before they impact end users. Logic can be inserted into scripts to choose different search terms, select valid travel dates, or to always click on the second item returned in the search results by dynamically cycling through a list of terms, dates or numbers.

In addition to the above, custom dimensions for reporting called “Tracepoints”, can be created. This provides the ability to better visualize the data, and quickly identify problem areas. For example, if you are using three different search terms a Tracepoint can be used to view the performance of each term individually, to compare performance and quickly identify if issues

The easier it is to visualize data from complex and customized data sets, the faster it will be to find the answers you are looking for and resolve problems. Take a look at what components of your application are being monitored. Will you know if an API or database stops returning search results? What impact will this have on users and your business? Knowing that all key business transactions through an application are running efficiently leads to a better digital experience and lower frustration for everybody.

The post Monitoring Dynamic Multi-Step Transactions appeared first on Catchpoint's Blog.

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More Stories By Mehdi Daoudi

Catchpoint radically transforms the way businesses manage, monitor, and test the performance of online applications. Truly understand and improve user experience with clear visibility into complex, distributed online systems.

Founded in 2008 by four DoubleClick / Google executives with a passion for speed, reliability and overall better online experiences, Catchpoint has now become the most innovative provider of web performance testing and monitoring solutions. We are a team with expertise in designing, building, operating, scaling and monitoring highly transactional Internet services used by thousands of companies and impacting the experience of millions of users. Catchpoint is funded by top-tier venture capital firm, Battery Ventures, which has invested in category leaders such as Akamai, Omniture (Adobe Systems), Optimizely, Tealium, BazaarVoice, Marketo and many more.