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Real User Monitoring vs Synthetic Experience Monitoring

Table of Contents

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Today, we’re talking about Real User Monitoring vs Synthetic Experience Monitoring. Which one is better? Read this article to discover what these terms mean, how they stack against each other, their benefits, drawbacks and more based on our experience at EZtek.

What is Synthetic Monitoring and How does it work?

Synthetic Monitoring is the process of deploying scripts that simulate the end user’s journey through a web application. Synthetic Monitoring doesn’t need real user engagement which makes it instrumental in the detection of performance issues even before they reach the end user.

What is Real User Monitoring and How does it work?

It relies on background services to monitor the system for responsiveness, functionality and availability. It also records and analyzes every transaction that a website or application’s user makes. Each page has Javascript code that reports how long it takes to load data for each request.

Advantages of Synthetic Monitoring

#1 Provides end user point of view

Synthetic Monitoring analyzes a system’s efficiency as well as user satisfaction. You can identify and resolve issues before they get to your end users.

#2 Benchmarking and baselining

It allows you to keep track of performance at any frequency and in any location. This information is used to identify areas of improvement and establish strategies to address them. You can use a waterfall chart to display the findings.

#3 Monitor complex transactions and processes

STM enables you to simulate business processes and user transactions from different locations. To test performance, it can simulate searching, adding things to the cart, logging in, checking out and so on. This way, you’ll have the information you need to create performance improvement programs.

Disadvantages of Synthetic Monitoring

#1 Too predictable

It allows you to keep track of performance at any frequency and in any location. This information is used to identify areas of improvement and establish strategies to address them. You can use a waterfall chart to display the findings.

#2 Provides limited tools

This may depend on your manufacturer of choice but you may have to write separate test scripts for each monitor you want to use.

#3 Cost

It varies by manufacturer but some monitoring technologies can cost as little as $25.000. From our experience at EZtek, we advise finding a vendor that works for you to meet your needs.

Advantages of Real User Monitoring

#1 Puts users first

Real User Monitoring helps you understand page visits and load times, site page construction speed and user’s browser and platform performance – which is vital if you are looking to improve the overall user experience.

#2 Captures everything

As each user navigates your site, all data is recorded, as such it provides performance metrics regardless of which page users visit.

#3 Determines issues at page and network level

From our experience at EZtek, problems at the lowest layers of a website or app can be incredibly tough to go through and resolve as they are often irregular or merely unusual. However, RUM can bring these flaws to light and replay user sessions.

Disadvantages of Real User Monitoring

#1 Requires traffic

RUM is important in pre-production environments. However, there isn’t much traffic at this stage, so getting relevant information is challenging.

#2 Lacks benchmarking capabilities

Since RUM is random and relies solely on user traffic, it’s hard to indicate persistent issues across the board.

#3 Curates too much data

The large volumes of data rum generates can be challenging. Even though you get a more accurate diagnosis of the end user experience, responding to specific concerns may be time consuming.

Big question – Which one wins?

RUM data is derived from real user traffic. It gives you a clearer picture of your users feelings, allowing you to correct performance faults. Yet, when there is no real user traffic coming through your site or application, STM ensures that your site’s properties and significant user interactions are operating as required.

Why not combine the two? By using the data from these two monitoring systems, you delve deeper into specific concerns and address flaws while providing complete visibility.The EZtek team prepared this article. EZtek helps top brands worldwide to innovate and accelerate digital transformation. We provide world-class enterprise software engineering, design and technology consulting services.


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