End User Monitoring - Reports of EUM's Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated
February 22, 2016

Larry Haig
Intechnica

Share this

Once upon a time (as they say) client side performance was a relatively straightforward matter. The principles were known (or at least available – thank you, Steve Souders et al), and the parameters surrounding delivery, whilst generally limited in modern terms (IE5 /Netscape, dialup connectivity anyone?) were at least reasonably predictable.

This didn't mean that enough people addressed client side performance (then or now for that matter), despite the alleged 80% of delivery time spent on the user machine, and the undoubted association between application performance and business outcomes.

From a monitoring and analysis point of view, synthetic external testing (or end user monitoring) did the job. Much has been written (not least by myself) on the need to apply best practice, and to select your tooling appropriately. The advent of “real user monitoring” (RUM) came some 10 years ago – a move at first decried, then rapidly embraced, by most of the “standalone” external test Vendors. The undoubted advantages of real user monitoring in terms of breadth of coverage and granular visibility to multiple user end points – geography, O/S, device, browser – tended for a time to mask the different, though complementary strengths of consistent, repeated performance monitoring at page or individual (eg 3rd party) object level.

Fast forward to today, though, and the situation demands a variety of approaches to cope with the extreme diverseness of delivery conditions. The rise and rise of mobile (just as one example, major UK retailer JohnLewis.com quoted over 60% of digital orders derived from mobile devices during 2015/16 peak trading) brings many challenges to Front-End Optimization (FEO) practice. These include: diversity of device types and version; browsers; and limiting connectivity conditions.

This situation is compounded by development of the applications themselves. As far as the web is concerned, monitoring challenges are introduced by, amongst other things: Single Page Applications (either full or partial); “server push content”; and mobile “WebApps” driven by service worker interactions. Mobile Applications, whether native or hybrid, present their own analysis challenges, which I will address subsequently also.

This already rich mix is further complicated by business demands for more on-site content – multimedia and other rich content, exotic fonts, and more. Increasingly large amounts of client side logic, whether as part of SPAs or otherwise, demand focused attention to avoid unacceptable performance in edge case conditions.

As if this wasn't enough, the (final!) emergence of HTTP/2 introduces both advantages and anti-patterns relative to former best practice.

The primitive simplicity of page onload navigation timing endpoints has moved from beyond irrelevance to becoming positively misleading, regardless of the type of tool used.

So, these changes require an increased subtlety of approach, combined with a range of tools to ensure that FEO recommendations are both relevant and effective.

I will provide some thoughts in subsequent blogs as to effective FEO approaches to derive maximum business benefit in each of these cases.

The bottom line is, however, that FEO is more important than ever in ensuring optimal business outcomes from digital channels.

Larry Haig is Senior Consultant at Intechnica.

Share this

The Latest

March 24, 2017

A growing IT delivery gap is slowing down the majority of the businesses surveyed and directly putting revenue at risk, according to MuleSoft's 2017 Connectivity Benchmark Report on digital transformation initiatives and the business impact of APIs ...

March 23, 2017

Why containers are growing in popularity is no surprise — they’re extremely easy to spin up or down, but come with an unforeseen issue. Without the right foresight, DevOps and IT teams may lose a lot of visibility into these containers resulting in operational blind spots and even more haystacks to find the presumptive performance issue needle ...

March 22, 2017

Much emphasis is placed on servers and storage when discussing Application Performance, mainly because the application lives on a server and uses storage. However, the network has considerable importance, certainly in the case of WANs where there are ways of speeding up the transmission of data of a network ...

March 21, 2017

The majority of IT executives believe investment in IT Service Management (ITSM) is important to gain the agility needed to compete in an era of global, cross-industry disruption and digital transformation, according to Delivering Value to Today’s Digital Enterprise: The State of IT Service Management 2017, a report by BMC, conducted in association with Forbes ...

March 17, 2017

Let’s say your company has examined all the potential pros and cons, and moved your critical business applications to the cloud. The advertised benefits of the cloud seem like they’ll work out great. And in many ways, life is easier for you now. But as often happens when things seem too good to be true, reality has a way of kicking in to reveal just exactly how many things can go wrong with your cloud setup – things that can directly impact your business ...

March 16, 2017

IT leadership is more driven to be innovative than ever, but also more in need of justifying costs and showing value than ever. Combining the two is no mean feat, especially when individual technologies are put forward as the single tantalizing answer ...

March 15, 2017

The move to Citrix 7.X is in full swing. This has improved the centralizing of Management and reduction of costs, but End User Experience is becoming top of the business objectives list. However, delivering that is not something to be considered after the upgrade ...

March 14, 2017

As organizations understand the findings of the Cyber Monday Web Performance Index and look to improve their site performance for the next Cyber Monday shopping day, I wanted to offer a few recommendations to help any organization improve in 2017 ...

March 13, 2017

Online retailers stand to make a lot of money on Cyber Monday as long as their infrastructure can keep up with customers. If your company's site goes offline or substantially slows down, you're going to lose sales. And even top ecommerce sites experience performance or stability issues at peak loads, like Cyber Monday, according to Apica's Cyber Monday Web Performance Index ...

March 10, 2017

Applications and infrastructure are being deployed and commissioned at a faster rate than ever before, the number of tools it takes to effectively manage these services is multiplying, and the expectations placed on IT to ensure customer satisfaction is increasing, according to The State of Monitoring 2017 report from BigPanda ...