The evolution of monitoring web application end users for the purpose of APM is upon us. This evolution stems from the need to monitor applications hosted in the cloud (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), asynchronus technologies like AJAX, and applications that use third parties to serve significant amounts of content to their end users. Traditional approaches like web log monitoring and web analyzers still have their places but they don't offer the coverage for the monitoring of real end users that they once did. Synthetic monitoring is still a fairly safe bet but is limited in its ability to test critical commit transactions and cover all possible points of failure like the real user monitors do.
Research shows that nobody has nailed the end user monitoring solution for these new applications, including Quest. Quest like others has made incremental gains in the area of instrumentation and network sniffing but are still not far enough along to call it on par with the real end user monitoring via web sniffer in Web 1.0 environments. This new solution is more than likely going to be a careful blend of smart instrumentation, network sniffing,and possibly third party APIs. Smart instrumentation is instrumentation that monitors third parties, asynchronus requests, and even browser DOM events. Vendors that wrote hooks for asynchronus monitoring where developers have to insert code do not fall into what we’re referring to as the "smart instrumentation" category. We see these instrumentation libraries as being little more than advanced tags. At Quest we have spent significant amounts of our R&D resources researching and testing hypothesis for a new smart instrumentation solution and barring any unforeseen setbacks we are planning to debut that solution in the first half of 2012. Could be a game changer so stay tuned.