There are many benefits to monitoring critical web applications from the perspective of your end users’ experience. We’re not going to talk about them here. What we’ll cover in this post are the options SolarWinds provides to help you monitor their experiences AND help you determine which solution(s) could be most helpful for your organization. We’ll be looking at SolarWinds Web Performance Monitor (WPM) and SolarWinds Pingdom, and we’ll start with a high-level description.
WPM is a perpetually licensed, on-premises synthetic end user monitoring tool. It gives you the ability to record transactions you want your end users to take (like visit a page or URL, log in to the web app, complete a form, etc.) and then it will replay the recording automatically and repeatedly, as if it were an end user. If at any point it can’t complete the transaction, you’ll get notified. On the other hand, Pingdom is a subscription-based, SaaS application that provides synthetic monitoring and real user monitoring (RUM). The RUM capabilities in Pingdom provide you with insights into the behaviors and experiences of actual end users.
So, let’s get into the meat and potatoes of this post…how to determine which your organization needs. The best way I have found to do this is to start by asking where your end users are located.
If the end users you are looking to mimic or monitor are outside your firewall, such as customers or prospects, Pingdom is ideal. Its global network of hundreds of testing probes can not only provide you with a more accurate representation of your end users’ experience but can also reduce the overhead in managing a monitoring solution.
However, if your users are inside your firewall, like remote employees, WPM would be the tool of choice. Deploying probes into your own infrastructure not only provides an accurate representation of your end users’ experience but, also helps keep your network safe.
In some cases, it might make sense for your organization to use both solutions. For example, you’re using WPM to monitor the experience of users behind your firewall, but you’d also like to be alerted to user experience issues if your network goes down. In this case, having the independent validation from Pingdom would be beneficial. You may also consider adding Pingdom to WPM if you’d like to do real user monitoring for internal folks in addition to the synthetic monitoring you already have set up. For those with Pingdom, you may consider adding WPM if you’d like to monitor the experience of users in a very specific location. You know your users are in Austin, Texas, and you want the probe reporting to you to be from that exact area. You can do this with WPM. Or you might use both if your organization needs to monitor internal and external users.
Regardless of your organizational needs, SolarWinds can provide you with the right solution to monitor your end users’ experience.