As part of Solutions Review’s Premium Content Series—a collection of contributed columns written by industry experts in maturing software categories— Jason Haworth of Apica drills into synthetic monitoring, the future of APIs, and the new world that is Web 3.0.
If you’ve ever left a toothache untreated for any length of time, you know that the trouble doesn’t go away. You might get by for a little while, chewing on the other side, but eventually, the pain becomes unbearable. And if you put it off too long, you end up having to have something worse than a filling, like a root canal. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses right now are in that early toothache stage when it comes to understanding the health and performance of their applications. The rise of cloud-native apps and APIs means they’re already starting to experience a lack of visibility as more discrete layers in the stack prevent them from seeing what is happening with the user experience. Web 3.0 promises to make the situation worse.
While there are multiple possibilities for exactly how Web 3.0 will be delivered, all the experts agree that it will be a much more distributed internet. This offers distinct advantages over today’s online landscape dominated by a few massive players. Privacy and performance are both currently at risk, depending on how the tech giants are doing on any given day. Web 3.0, by contrast, will put control of resources in the hands of far more people. Unique tokens will secure access to their information and online personas, and an outage with one part of the application stack won’t impact vast swaths of the internet.
Monitoring in a New World
Despite these advantages, however, this new distributed internet will pose an even greater challenge when it comes to application visibility. Companies already behind the curve in adapting to the current complexity of the application stack will suddenly find themselves unable to reliably gauge the performance of their applications.
Most apps written today don’t rely on a single platform or single code base. Businesses aren’t buying one platform to handle every function, but multiple platforms provide point solutions. They are buying SaaS services for authentication, tracking for ads and search functionality, OTT Services, and security validation.
With APIs everywhere, the workflow for each application is already fragmented. Companies use apps differently, as do individual users. This unpredictability obscures the organization’s ability to monitor applications from the user’s perspective, which already presents a significant challenge, and it will not get any easier with Web3.0.
Take the current Web2.0 situation, add multiple additional cloud operators, third-party APIs, compliance requirements, etc. and put all of that between your application and your users. Then, add blockchain-enabled authentication and a new list of business-critical apps that you and your team don’t own. If your company is already struggling to gain visibility into your application performance, that will soon be the rule rather than the exception. Eventually, the performance issues will reach a breaking point, and your users will start to churn and/or reduce productivity.
Gaining Visibility through Synthetic Monitoring
How are businesses trying to cope with this growing challenge? Many have turned to real user monitoring (RUM). RUM can give you a good high-level view of application trends, and for years it’s been a viable go-to strategy. But it’s only one piece of a holistic monitoring strategy in Web 3.0. There’s a lack of consistency in application architecture, and while you can gather data on some user behaviors, the root cause often remains unseen when something goes wrong. Is it the browser, the authentication, a user error, your app server, or something else?
Synthetic monitoring, however, builds on that real user data and provides a more significant deal of nuance to help you understand the user journey in aggregate. Synthetic monitoring solutions can simulate user behavior using virtually any variable that your apps encounter in the real world, delivering actionable insights. A more complete data set from synthetic monitoring helps you identify the root cause of an application’s outage or performance issues. You can drill down into the data and examine different factors to see what precisely is causing an issue, such as using a specific browser version or SaaS provider. Synthetic monitoring provides an organization with the tools to continually refine processes and scripts to eliminate a configuration problem from happening again, preventing future revenue loss. And with Synthetic Monitoring at Scale, companies can test their applications with real-user journeys in their Blue (pre-production) environments for performance issues before deploying to their Green (production) environment, giving them confidence that their application will continue to perform in a predictive high-performance fashion.
Web 3.0 should bring greater stack flexibility for application developers, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of visibility for businesses providing the digital experience people depend on. Synthetic monitoring is the key component in the application monitoring strategy of tomorrow, ensuring companies can see and refine the end-to-end user experience to help meet business goals and SLAs. Today’s enterprises can’t afford to let current holes in visibility progress to an emergency in tomorrow’s online experience.
- The New Age of Monitoring: Addressing Sore Spots within Web 3.0 - September 9, 2022