3 Steps to Stay Ahead of Performance Problems
Test and Monitor | Posted October 26, 2017

What’s worse than a false alarm? A late alarm.

We’ve all set alarms- one in the morning to wake you up, one to remind you to take your vitamins, one to warn you if there’s a fire in your building. Alarms let us know when we’re supposed to take action so that we don’t miss key pieces of information.  But what happens when our systems send an alarm after disaster already strikes?

Catastrophe.

We’ve seen it before, with Macy’s on Black Friday last year, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale in July, and even Amazon Web Services fell victim earlier this year. Finding out that your web application performance is degraded after users encounter the problem can cause chaos. Users are frustrated, teams are stressed, and revenue is negatively impacted.  So how can you protect your user-experience and stop performance issues before real users run into them?

Step 1: Get a better alarm system.

What I mean by that is, use a Synthetic Monitoring Tool.  In the performance monitoring space, there are two types of monitoring- proactive and reactive. Proactive monitoring, also known as synthetic monitoring, serves as a first line of defense, warning you of any performance issues before users experience them. Whereas reactive monitoring, such as real user monitoring (RUM), helps provide insight into what active users are experiencing in real time.

Synthetic Monitoring serves as a better alarm system when you want to:

  1. Fix problems before real users are able to find them
  2. Monitor business critical mobile and web applications and/or APIs
  3. Benchmark your applications performance over time
  4. Verify compliance or test performance for Service Level Agreement (SLA)s
  5. Make sure end-users have the best possible digital experience
  6. Define your brand as a digital innovator

Leveraging a synthetic monitoring tool to manage the performance of web and mobile applications can save businesses time and money by notifying them before end-users run into any problems. Assurance that your digital resources are performing as expected is critical in breaking down the barriers to operational success. Once you’ve opted to find a better alarm system, find a system that can send you alerts when you need them, whatever that means to you.

Step 2: Configure your alarms.

When you’re choosing a performance monitoring tool, identifying a system with intelligent alerting capabilities is essential. In the first sentence of this post, I gave examples of some alarms that serve different purposes and vary in criticality. Would I need the alarm for my vitamins to repeat if I didn’t address it? Probably not. However, I would definitely need a repetitive alarm if there was a fire in my building. Or, let’s say I wasn’t home for the fire alarm. I would want someone else in my building to be warned so that the problem could be resolved. Defining what alerts are vital and what levels of performance deviation are important to your business as well as who would be the best person (or people) to notify when something happens should be the primary concern when you set a performance monitoring alert.

Many IT and DevOps organizations can become flooded with alerts from various different tools within their stack. In fact, DevOps Digest found that on average, each team member is responsible for triaging between 10 and 50 alerts per day, with nearly 80% of respondents saying the most challenging part of their job is suppressing alert noise. Amid the mounting pressure for DevOps teams to roll out code and/or infrastructure changes a few times per day, people simply do not have the time to drudge through alerts to verify that something is actually wrong.

Identifying a system that empowers you to prioritize job efficiency by setting your thresholds, notification frequency, and targeted alerts is key in priming your organization for success. Configuring alerts to meet the specific needs of the DevOps team, NOC engineers, and other stakeholders, provides insights into your application health when you need them, ensuring that you know when your systems are straying from the normal performance standards.

Step 3: Receive your alarms on time.

Start monitoring your websites, applications, and APIs with a synthetic tool! You can try AlertSite, our synthetic performance monitoring tool, for free here. If you’d rather have someone walk you through the ins-and-outs of performance monitoring, you can talk to us! Just let us know, and we’ll work with you at a time that works best for you.

SmartBear works with software teams internationally to help solve the problems that prevent teams from operating at their finest. This includes working collaboratively with teams to identify performance thresholds, define operational success, and implement a transformative performance monitoring tool to help enhance your digital assets. AlertSite helps notify teams when performance deviates, connects departments by arming them with the data they need, and most importantly, helps to improve the performance of web and mobile applications, as well as APIs.

To learn more click here.

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