WEBSITE MONITOR, WEBSITE MONITORING SERVICE, WEBSITE SPEED TEST and PERFORMANCE MONITORING

  Technology FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)



What is MoniQA?
What exactly does MoniQA monitor?
What kind of errors does MoniQA detect?
Why monitor from the user's perspective?
What is a Scenario?
What is a "Scenario-Driven" visiting engine
What is "Browser-based" monitoring
What is an "Intelligent" visiting engine
How are the Scenarios specified?
What does MoniQA measure?

Answers

What is MoniQA?
MoniQA is the Visiting Engine component of our monitoring service. It is a computer program that repetitively visits your web site, collecting performance data and generating alerts when something is wrong with the site.


What exactly does MoniQA monitor?
MoniQA visits your site as often as you want, and interacts with your site exactly as a user or customer does. The details of this interaction are called Monitoring Specs. These may include content validation, data entry and selection instructions, links or buttons to click, and timeout limits.


What kind of errors does MoniQA detect?
MoniQA detects any situation that prevents users from accessing or interacting with the web site as specified in the Monitoring Specs. MoniQA distinguish among these three main error categories:

1. Availability Errors: These are situations in which users are unable to access the web site, and their web browser displays an error message instead of the content of the desired web page content (for example: "Cannot find server or DNS Error"). These errors are typically caused by a DNS (Domain Name Server) error, which prevents the user's web browser from finding you web server, or by a problem in your web server.

2. Timeouts: These are situations in which the user's web browser does find your web site, but the requested page is not completely delivered withing a specified "timeout" period (for example 30 seconds). Timeouts are typically caused by your web server having an excessively slow Internet connection, or by a web server problem which prevents it from delivering some of the required content. An typical example of the latter is when a user submits credit card information during a checkout, but your web server fails to confirm the purchase because a 3rd party validation of the credit card is delayed.

3. Content Errors: These are situations in which your web server does not deliver the expected page or page content. Unexpected content may include server-generated error messages, missing links, images, or other page components, wrong page, wrong page title, etc.

See our eTailer Index and eService Index for example of typical levels of these three error categories across the industry.


Why monitor from the user's perspective?
Even if each component and infrastructure level that make up a complex transactional Web site operates correctly on its own, it is possible that the performance of the overall, integrated system will be less than optimal. The most effective way to measure the overall performance of your website is to monitor the ability of end users to perform the specific activities that the site supports. If the intended user of the system is able to perform such activities, the site has fulfilled its purpose. On the other hand, if a significant portion of end users (or their attempts) fail, the system's performance is inadequate. MoniQA monitors your site by exactly duplicating the activities of end users through a standard Web browser that measures how well the server responds. As a result, the data MoniQA collects accurately reflects the quality of the experience of the users.


Which transactions should I monitor?
It is rarely practical to monitor all possible activities offered by a complex Web site. We recommend that you start with the most critical activities from the viewpoint of revenue or customer satisfaction. To find out which transactions have the highest priority, list the different functionalities offered by your site, then sort them by their importance in achieving the specific business goals of the site. Maximizing on-line revenue may not necessarily be the highest priority, even for an on-line retail site. The primary value of the site to your organization may be, for example, helping customers find store locations, browse item availability or get after-sale customer service.

The goal of the monitoring may also be technical, for example, to evaluate the performance of a legacy/Web integration link. In such cases you may want to get our help in setting up a monitoring scenario that focuses on the relevant technical activity.


What is a Scenario?
A scenario is a set of specifications that determine what MoniQA does when it visits the site. The specs can be strict and well defined so that all visits are exactly the same, or loosely defined resulting in different "path" through the site on each visit. A scenario always starts from a specific URL, called Start URL. Then, for each page, the scenario may specify various validation rules, data entry and "click" logic, including conditional branching, random selection, and other logic elements designed to allow MoniQA to mimic a real user or customer. The scenario specifications are stored in a database, and can be entered and modified in data entry pages. Scenarios are easy to modify when the site changes, and do not require script programming to maintain.


What is a "Scenario-Driven" visiting engine
A "visiting engine" is the component of MoniQA that conducts scheduled visits to the monitored sites, performs the required validations, and interacts with the site as specified in each scenario. In most of today's monitoring tools the instructions on how to conduct each visit and what items to validate during the visit are stored as computer code called "script". Unlike these tools, MoniQA doesn't use scripts, but stores visit specifications in a database instead. Since Web site monitoring is just another software application, the same fundumental differences between code-driven applications and data-driven applications apply. From the practical viewpoint, the main difference is that data-driven applications are easier to modify than code-driven, where modification involves updating edit screens and doesn't require programming. The reason why we call MoniQA's visiting engine "Scenario-driven" and not "data-driven" is that we want to emphasize another important difference between moniQA and the other monitoring tools. This difference is related to the way you specify the details of a visit. Specifying a visit with the other monitoring tools primarily involves recording a manual visit, then playing back the recorded activities. This is easy enough to accomplish, but difficult to modify or generalize. For example, if you want to select a different product to purchase in each visit, you'll need to modify the script code. It's even more complex to handle a situation where some products require additional pages, for example to specify size, style or color. In contrast, a Scenario is a much more flexible set of specifications, with a built-in facility to handle "looping" and "branching", and algorithms to select page components and enter data. Thus, visits driven by the same Scenario may have different number of pages and follow different paths through the site.


What is "Browser-based" monitoring
Most of today's Web monitoring tools are designed to monitor and diagnose specific network devices, subsystems and protocols. MoniQA is designed to monitor Web sites from the viewpoint of the end-users, who access sites through a standard Web browser. In order to exectly duplicate the experience of end-users, MoniQA also accesses Web sites through a Web browser. This eliminates various issues related to the access device, such as the handling of security factors (e.g., monitoring "https" pages) and cookies, and loading and execution of client-based scripts. For example, MoniQA has detected many cases where pages time out because client-based sripts are not loading or executing as specified. Such pproblems may be related to peculiarities in the Web browser rather than to problems with the scripts or with the Web server. But since they affect the end-users, they are issues that you need to be aware of and correct.


What is an "Intelligent" visiting engine
An intelligent visiting engine is able to apply intelligence similar to that of a human user when interacting with a Web site. This involves the ability to "understand" the options presented by the Web server, and to respond appropriately. Perhaps it is best to consider some examples. A simple example is a case where instead of the expected "content", the visiting engine encounters a message such as "The site is currently under maintenance; please try later". MoniQA lets you specify whether you want to log this as an incident, or terminate the visit without reporting an error. This can be extended to more complex situations, for example the handling of inventory problems. Again, MoniQA Scenarios can contain instructions on how to handle various product inventory issues, and which ones to log as incidents. Similar ideas apply to data entry. When monitoring a Web application that requires extensive data entry, MoniQA can enter data intelligently, for example entry of appropriate date-related information. MoniQA can also apply algorithm-based logic to decisions on how a visit should proceed under different circumstances, including page looping and branching and even alerting. For example, MoniQA offers several options on how to alert, among them the ability to start another visit from another location, and alert only if that visit fail.


How are the Scenarios specified?
Scenarios are specified at three levels: Scenario Level, Page Level, and Page Component Level. The variables, parameters and options of each level are specified through data edit pages accessible in MoniQA's Scenario Designer Face (a Web interface that requires a Scenario Designer login permission). MoniQA's end-user Web interface, or the Alert Recipient Face, allows modification of some of the Scenario Level variables, such as visit interval. This Face also allows viewing the Scenario specifications (but not modifying them).


What does MoniQA measure?
MoniQA accesses the internet through a very fast connection, and thus measures primarily the speed and content of the response of Web servers to requests. For each visit, MoniQA measures the time it takes to complete the download of each page, the total time of the visit, the error level by type of error (Availability, Timeout and Content errors), the stage in the transaction where errors occur, and the occurrance of continuous sequence of errors ("downtime").



Free Speed Test
Home
Clients
Services
Benchmarks
Technology
Company
Contact Us

©2001-2015 Vertain Software. All rights reserved. Site Map Terms of Use Privacy Policy