How to Get Synthetic Monitoring to Work in New Relic

By admin_123 Jun 19, 2023

Table of Contents

In today’s digital world, ensuring the optimal performance and availability of your web applications is crucial for business success. Synthetic monitoring is a valuable technique that helps organizations proactively monitor and simulate user interactions with their applications. New Relic, a leading application performance monitoring (APM) tool, offers synthetic monitoring capabilities to help businesses identify and address potential issues before they impact end users.

Table of Contents

  1. Understanding Synthetic Monitoring
  2. Benefits of Synthetic Monitoring in New Relic
  3. Setting Up Synthetic Monitoring in New Relic
  4. Creating Synthetic Monitors
  5. Configuring Alert Policies
  6. Analyzing Synthetic Monitoring Results
  7. Troubleshooting Common Issues
  8. Best Practices for Effective Synthetic Monitoring
  9. Integrating Synthetic Monitoring with Other New Relic Features
  10. Monitoring Application Performance with Real User Monitoring (RUM)
  11. Leveraging Insights from Synthetic Monitoring
  12. Synthetic Monitoring in DevOps and Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)
  13. Ensuring Security in Synthetic Monitoring
  14. Scaling Synthetic Monitoring for Large-Scale Applications
  15. FAQS
  16. Conclusion

Understanding Synthetic Monitoring

Before diving into the process of setting up synthetic monitoring in New Relic, let’s first grasp the concept of synthetic monitoring. Synthetic monitoring involves simulating user interactions with an application by generating artificial requests. These requests mimic the actions of real users and allow you to monitor various aspects of your application’s performance, such as response times, availability, and functionality. Synthetic monitors run at regular intervals from various locations to provide an accurate representation of the user experience.

Benefits of Synthetic Monitoring in New Relic

New Relic’s synthetic monitoring offers several benefits for organizations striving to provide exceptional user experiences. Some key advantages include:

Proactively identifying performance issues before users are affected.

Monitoring application availability from different geographic locations.

Capturing performance data and trends for analysis and optimization.

Simulating complex user flows to ensure critical functionality is working as expected.

Enabling the detection of performance regressions during application updates.

Establishing baseline performance metrics for comparison and benchmarking.

Setting Up Synthetic Monitoring in New Relic

To enable synthetic monitoring in New Relic, follow these steps:

Log in to your New Relic account.

Navigate to the Synthetic Monitoring section in the New Relic UI.

Click on the “Add a monitor” button to create a new synthetic monitor.

Configure the monitor settings, including the URL to monitor, locations, frequency, and alert conditions.

Save the monitor configuration and activate it.

Creating Synthetic Monitors

Creating effective synthetic monitors requires careful consideration of your application’s critical user flows. Follow these guidelines when creating synthetic monitors in New Relic:

Identify the key transactions and user interactions that are critical for your application’s success.

Define the steps and actions required to complete those transactions.

Use New Relic’s intuitive UI to create monitors that simulate these user flows.

Configure the monitors to run at regular intervals from multiple locations to capture regional variations in performance.

Configuring Alert Policies

Alert policies play a crucial role in synthetic monitoring, as they help you stay informed about performance issues. To configure alert policies in New Relic, follow these steps:

Access the Alert Policies section in the New Relic UI.

Create a new alert policy or modify an existing one.

Specify the conditions and thresholds that trigger an alert.

Configure the notification channels to receive alerts, such as email or Slack.

Test the alert policy to ensure it functions correctly.

Analyzing Synthetic Monitoring Results

Analyzing synthetic monitoring results allows you to gain insights into your application’s performance and identify areas for improvement. Consider the following steps when analyzing synthetic monitoring data in New Relic:

Review response times and availability metrics to identify potential bottlenecks or issues.

Utilize New Relic’s dashboards and visualization tools to spot trends and patterns.

Compare historical data to identify performance regressions or improvements.

Collaborate with your development and operations teams to address identified issues and optimize performance.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

In the process of using synthetic monitoring in New Relic, you may encounter common issues. Here are some troubleshooting tips to help you resolve them:

Ensure that the monitored URLs are accessible and properly configured.

Check the location settings to ensure you’re monitoring from the desired locations.

Verify that the synthetic monitors are running at the expected frequency.

Review the alert policies and notification channels to guarantee they are set up correctly.

Reach out to New Relic’s support team or consult their documentation for further assistance.

Best Practices for Effective Synthetic Monitoring

To make the most out of synthetic monitoring in New Relic, consider implementing the following best practices:

Regularly review and update your synthetic monitors to align with your application’s evolving user flows.

Leverage New Relic’s scripting capabilities to simulate more complex user interactions.

Use multiple monitors to cover various critical paths and user scenarios.

Periodically revisit your alert policies to ensure they align with your business goals and user expectations.

Integrate synthetic monitoring with other New Relic features, such as real user monitoring (RUM) and insights.

Integrating Synthetic Monitoring with Other New Relic Features

Synthetic monitoring can be enhanced by integrating it with other New Relic features. By combining synthetic monitoring with real user monitoring (RUM) and insights, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of your application’s performance. The integration allows you to correlate synthetic and real user data, providing deeper insights into user experiences and application behavior.

Monitoring Application Performance with Real User Monitoring (RUM)

Real user monitoring (RUM) complements synthetic monitoring by capturing performance data from actual users. By instrumenting your application with New Relic’s RUM capabilities, you can monitor real user interactions, track performance across different devices and browsers, and identify areas for optimization. Combining synthetic monitoring with RUM provides a holistic view of your application’s performance from both simulated and real user perspectives.

Leveraging Insights from Synthetic Monitoring

The data and insights gathered from synthetic monitoring in New Relic can drive continuous improvement and optimization efforts. Some ways to leverage these insights include:

Identifying and resolving performance bottlenecks before they impact users.

Optimizing critical user flows based on response times and functionality metrics.

Benchmarking performance against industry standards and competitors.

Monitoring the impact of application updates on performance.

Informing capacity planning and scaling decisions.

Synthetic Monitoring in DevOps and Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)

Synthetic monitoring aligns well with DevOps principles and CI/CD practices. By incorporating synthetic monitoring into your DevOps workflows, you can:

Detect performance regressions early in the development cycle.

Validate the impact of infrastructure changes or code deployments on application performance.

Provide real-time feedback on performance to development and operations teams.

Monitor the performance of staging and production environments.

Ensuring Security in Synthetic Monitoring

When using synthetic monitoring, it’s essential to consider security aspects to protect sensitive data. Follow these security best practices:

Avoid including personally identifiable information (PII) in synthetic monitoring scripts.

Implement appropriate access controls and permissions for managing synthetic monitors.

Regularly review and update access credentials to prevent unauthorized access.

Monitor and log synthetic monitoring activities for auditing and compliance purposes.

Scaling Synthetic Monitoring for Large-Scale Applications

For organizations with large-scale applications, scaling synthetic monitoring becomes crucial. Consider the following strategies:

Utilize New Relic’s distributed synthetic monitoring capabilities to run monitors from multiple locations.

Implement load testing scenarios to simulate high user traffic and stress test your application.

Optimize monitor configurations and intervals based on the size and complexity of your application.

Leverage New Relic’s advanced analytics features to identify performance patterns and scalability bottlenecks.

FAQs

Q: How often should I run synthetic monitors in New Relic? 

A: The frequency of running synthetic monitors depends on various factors such as your application’s criticality, user traffic patterns, and business requirements. As a general guideline, consider running synthetic monitors at regular intervals, ranging from a few minutes to an hour, to capture performance variations and identify potential issues promptly.

Q: Can I use synthetic monitoring to test complex user flows? 

A: Yes, New Relic’s synthetic monitoring allows you to simulate complex user flows by scripting custom interactions. You can define the steps, actions, and validations required to mimic real user behavior and ensure critical functionality is working as expected.

Q: How can synthetic monitoring benefit my DevOps practices? 

A: Synthetic monitoring integrates well with DevOps practices, enabling you to detect performance regressions, validate infrastructure changes, and provide real-time feedback to development and operations teams. By incorporating synthetic monitoring into your CI/CD pipelines, you can ensure that application performance remains optimal throughout the software delivery lifecycle.

Q: Can I combine synthetic monitoring with real user monitoring (RUM) in New Relic? 

A: Absolutely! New Relic offers the capability to integrate synthetic monitoring with real user monitoring (RUM). This integration provides a comprehensive view of your application’s performance, combining data from simulated user interactions and real user experiences. It enables you to correlate and analyze performance across different dimensions, leading to more informed optimization decisions.

Q: How secure is synthetic monitoring in New Relic? 

A: New Relic takes security seriously and provides features to ensure the safety of your synthetic monitoring activities. Implement appropriate access controls, avoid including sensitive information in scripts, and regularly review access credentials to maintain security. Additionally, New Relic offers monitoring and logging capabilities to assist with auditing and compliance requirements.

Conclusion

Synthetic monitoring in New Relic empowers organizations to proactively monitor and optimize their application’s performance. By following the outlined steps and best practices, you can effectively set up synthetic monitoring, analyze performance data, troubleshoot issues, and integrate it with other New Relic features. Embrace the power of synthetic monitoring to deliver exceptional user experiences and drive business success.

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