How to get synthetics monitoring to work in new relic

Businesses must ensure that their clients have dependable and seamless online experiences in the current digital era. Synthetic monitoring plays a vital role in ensuring the performance and availability of websites and web applications. Leading application performance monitoring (APM) tool New Relic provides robust tools for artificial monitoring. 

In this article, we will guide you through the process of setting up and configuring synthetic monitoring in New Relic.

Understanding Synthetic Monitoring:

Here are some key points to help you understand synthetic monitoring:

Simulating User Interactions: Synthetic monitoring involves creating synthetic tests or scripts that mimic real user interactions with an application. These interactions could involve things like clicking links, completing forms, sending information, and navigating between various pages or workflows.

Proactive Performance Monitoring: Synthetic tests are scheduled to run at regular intervals, often from multiple global locations, to assess the performance of an application. Synthetic monitoring offers useful insights into the overall health and performance of an application by continuously monitoring crucial metrics like response time, page load speed, and transaction success rates.

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Real-Time Availability Monitoring: Synthetic monitoring also checks the availability and uptime of an application by verifying that specific URLs or endpoints are accessible and responding as expected. This helps businesses identify potential downtime or connectivity issues that may impact the user experience.

Geographical Coverage: Synthetic monitoring allows you to run tests from various locations worldwide. This geographical diversity provides insights into how application performance may vary based on different network conditions, enabling you to identify performance disparities and optimize your application’s performance globally.

Performance Benchmarking: Synthetic monitoring can be used to establish performance benchmarks for your application. By monitoring your application’s performance over time, you can set performance targets and compare actual results against these benchmarks to track improvements or identify areas that require optimization.

Incident Response and Troubleshooting: When a synthetic test fails or deviates from expected results, it triggers alerts or notifications to notify stakeholders. These alerts enable IT teams to investigate and address issues promptly, minimizing the impact on real users and improving incident response times.

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Prerequisites: 

Before getting started with synthetic monitoring in New Relic, ensure you have the following prerequisites in place: 

a. New Relic Account: Sign up for a New Relic account if you don’t already have one. 

b. Browser Agent: Install New Relic’s browser agent in your application to capture frontend performance data. 

c. Application Availability: Ensure that your website or application is accessible and functioning properly.

Setting Up Synthetic Monitoring in New Relic:

Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up synthetic monitoring in New Relic:

Step 1: Log in to your New Relic account and navigate to the Synthetic Monitoring section.

Step 2: Click on the “Monitor” tab and select “Create a monitor.”

Step 3: Choose the monitor type based on your requirements. New Relic 

offers options such as Ping, Simple Browser, Scripted Browser, and API tests.

Step 4: Configure the monitor settings. Provide a descriptive name, URL, and test frequency for your monitor. Select the locations from which you want to run the tests to ensure global coverage.

Step 5: Define the check conditions and expected results for your monitor. For example, in a ping test, you can specify the expected response time or HTTP status code.

Step 6: (Optional) For scripted browser or API tests, you can define custom scripts or assertions to validate specific functionalities or data.

Step 7: Save and activate the monitor. New Relic will start running the tests according to the defined schedule.

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Analyzing Synthetic Monitoring Data: 

Once you have set up synthetic monitoring, you can analyze the collected data in New Relic to gain insights into your application’s performance. Here are some key features and functionalities available for analysis:

  • Dashboards: Create customized dashboards to visualize and track the performance metrics that matter most to your business.
  • Alerting: Set up alerts based on predefined thresholds to receive notifications when performance issues occur.
  • Incident Management: Integrate synthetic monitoring with New Relic’s incident management tools to streamline the resolution process.
  • Reporting: Generate reports to analyze historical data and identify trends or areas for improvement.

Best Practices for Synthetic Monitoring:

To ensure the effectiveness of synthetic monitoring in New Relic, consider the following best practices:

  • Regularly review and update your tests to adapt to changes in your application.
  • Configure tests to run from different geographical locations to simulate real user experiences from diverse locations.
  • Set up appropriate alerting thresholds to notify you promptly when performance issues arise.
  • Use scripted browser or API tests to monitor critical transactions and business workflows.
  • Leverage New Relic’s integrations with other monitoring tools to gain a comprehensive view of your application’s performance.

FAQS

Q: What is the difference between synthetic monitoring and real user monitoring (RUM)? 

A: Synthetic monitoring involves simulating user interactions with an application to monitor its performance and availability proactively. It utilizes artificial transactions and predefined scripts to simulate user behavior. On the other hand,

real user monitoring (RUM) captures data from actual user interactions with the application. RUM provides insights into real user experiences, including performance metrics, device information, and user behavior.

Q: Why is synthetic monitoring important? A: 

Synthetic monitoring is important because it allows businesses to proactively monitor their applications and websites. It helps identify performance bottlenecks, availability issues, and functional problems before they impact real users. By simulating user interactions, synthetic monitoring provides valuable insights into the performance of critical transactions, measures response times, and monitors uptime.

Q: How frequently should I run synthetic tests? 

A: The frequency of running synthetic tests depends on various factors, including the nature of your application, the criticality of transactions, and the level of performance monitoring required. Generally, it is recommended to run synthetic tests at regular intervals, such as every few minutes or hourly, to ensure continuous monitoring. 

Q: Can synthetic monitoring replace real user monitoring (RUM)? 

A: No, synthetic monitoring cannot replace real user monitoring (RUM). Both synthetic monitoring and RUM serve different purposes and provide unique insights. Synthetic monitoring is designed to proactively test application performance and availability by emulating user interactions. It helps identify issues before they impact real users. 

Q: How can I interpret the results of synthetic monitoring tests? 

A: Interpreting the results of synthetic monitoring tests involves analyzing various performance metrics and comparing them against predefined thresholds or benchmarks. Key metrics to consider include response time, page load speed, transaction success rates, and availability.

Conclusion: 

Synthetic monitoring in New Relic empowers businesses to proactively monitor their applications’ performance and ensure a seamless user experience. By following the steps outlined in this article and leveraging New Relic’s powerful features,

you can effectively set up and configure synthetic monitoring to identify and address performance issues before they impact your users. Stay vigilant, optimize your application’s performance, and deliver exceptional digital experiences to your customers.

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