Addressing the pain points of Web 3.0

As part of Solutions Review’s Premium Content Series, a collection of columns written by industry experts in maturing software categories, Jason Haworth of Apica explores synthetic monitoring, the future of APIs, and the new world that is Web 3.0.

Premium SR ContentIf you’ve ever left a toothache untreated for a while, you know the problem isn’t going away. You might manage for a little while, chewing on the other side, but eventually the pain becomes unbearable. And if you delay it too long, you end up having something worse than a filling, like a root canal. Unfortunately, many companies are currently at that early toothache stage when it comes to understanding the health and performance of their apps. The rise of cloud-native applications and APIs means that they are already beginning to feel a lack of visibility, as more discrete layers in the stack prevent them from seeing what is happening with the user experience. Web 3.0 promises to make the situation worse.

While there are multiple possibilities as to how Web 3.0 will be delivered, all experts agree that it will be a much more distributed Internet. This offers distinct advantages over the current online landscape dominated by a few massive players. Privacy and performance are under threat right now, as tech giants evolve every day. Web 3.0, on the other hand, will put control of resources in the hands of more people. Unique tokens will secure access to their information and personas online, and a failure of part of the application stack will not impact large swaths of the internet.

Surveillance in a new world

Despite these advantages, this new distributed Internet will pose an even greater challenge when it comes to application visibility. Companies already lagging behind in adapting to the current complexity of the application stack will suddenly find themselves unable to reliably assess the performance of their applications.

Most applications written today do not rely on a single platform or a single code base. Companies don’t buy a platform to handle every function, but multiple platforms provide point solutions. They purchase SaaS services for authentication, ad tracking and search functionality, OTT services, and security validation.

With APIs everywhere, every application’s workflow is already fragmented. Businesses use apps differently, as do individual users. This unpredictability obscures the organization’s ability to monitor applications from the user’s perspective, which is already a significant challenge, and it won’t get any easier with Web3.0.

Take the current Web2.0 situation, add several additional cloud operators, third-party APIs, compliance requirements, etc. and put all of that between your app and your users. Next, add blockchain-enabled authentication and a new list of business-critical apps that you and your team don’t have. If your business is already struggling to gain visibility into your application performance, this will soon be the rule rather than the exception. Eventually, performance issues will reach a breaking point and your users will start to unsubscribe and/or reduce their productivity.

Gain visibility with synthetic monitoring

How are companies trying to deal with this growing challenge? Many have turned to real user monitoring (RUM). RUM can give you a good overview of app trends, and for years it’s been a viable go-to strategy. But this is only one part of a holistic Web 3.0 monitoring strategy. There is a lack of consistency in application architecture, and while you can collect data on certain user behaviors, the root cause often remains invisible when something goes wrong. Is it the browser, authentication, user error, your application server or something else?

Synthetic monitoring, however, draws on this real user data and provides greater nuance to help you understand the user journey as a whole. Synthetic monitoring solutions can simulate user behavior using virtually any variable your applications encounter in the real world, providing actionable insights. A more complete set of data from synthetic monitoring helps you identify the root cause of application downtime or performance issues. You can drill into the data and look at different factors to see precisely what is causing an issue, such as using a specific browser version or SaaS provider. Synthetic monitoring provides an organization with the tools to continually fine-tune processes and scripts to prevent a configuration issue from happening again, thereby preventing future revenue loss. And with synthetic monitoring at scale, enterprises can test their applications with real user journeys in their blue (pre-production) environments for performance issues before deploying them in their green (production) environment, which which gives them the assurance that their application will continue to operate in a high-performance predictive mode.

Web 3.0 should bring greater stack flexibility to app developers, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of visibility for businesses delivering the digital experience people depend on. Synthetic monitoring is the key component of tomorrow’s application monitoring strategy, ensuring organizations can see and refine the end-to-end user experience to help meet business goals and SLAs. Businesses today cannot afford to let today’s gaps in visibility become an emergency in tomorrow’s online experience.

Jason Haworth
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