New mobile applications bring with it monitoring challenges

By: Amy Feldman: It seems no matter where you look mobile devices are frequently used to find directions when traveling, verifying flight details, check bank balances, reserve theater tickets, shop online, pay bills, access email, attend meetings, and participate in dozens of other activities.  With $18 billion projected mobile application revenue, many businesses recognize that offering services over mobile devices is a way to to reach new customers and retain their current customers.

 

As a result the applications that run today’s business have evolved from a physical IT resource to the cloud and mobile devices. Once the business starts to offer a mobile application how will IT manage the application, will your users have a good experience, will they be able to download their favorite song in an acceptable time, and how do you ensure transaction success?

 

As with any new technology that enters the IT landscape it brings with it various challenges.  Here are some things to consider when thinking about monitoring mobile applications:

 

  1.  Not all mobile applications are the same.  There are two basic types of mobile applications, native mobile applications and browser based applications.  Native applications reside on user devices and communication over HTTP(s).  Browser-based applications use modified browsers to access applications online.   When monitoring these applications you should consider how the user experiences the service from a native application and from the browser.  If access from a browser, does the entire page render?  How long does it take?  Does it perform differently from one device to another?  Customers may have a very different experience using a mobile browser than using the native application. When monitoring these new services it is important to be able to gauge how your customers experience the mobile application and how they experience it from various devices.
     
  2. Feature-greedy users generate change and complexity.  Let’s face everybody loves the latest gadgets with all the latest bells and whistles.  This is great for the consumer markets but this can introduce complexity when trying to manage mobile applications.  As in the example above the user’s experience may be different from device to device.  So when looking at monitoring mobile applications not only do you have to consider browser and native applications but also the various devices.  Some management vendors offer a service where you can rent cradles of phones to test and to monitor mobile applications.  This can be a costly option.  Another way is to emulate the application for multiple devices.  This is a more cost effective way to understand how your applications will perform for the various mobile devices. 
     
  3. Visibility into chaos can help you troubleshoot issues   Not only do you need to understand how end-user experiences these new mobile applications but when something does fail what was the cause of the failure.  How do I know if it’s an issue with the application, the device, and the carrier?  Also, with many mobile applications built to leverage the already underlying business services, applications and supporting infrastructure this can complicate and lengthen the time it takes to find the root cause of an issue.  When monitoring the mobile application you should also be monitoring all dependencies and be able to visualize the entire end to end service.  Having an end to end service view is key to understanding the complexity of IT environments. 

These are just a few of the things to consider when looking at managing mobile applications.   My next two blogs will go into more details about how HP’s solution monitors mobile applications.

 

If you’re interested in HP LoadRunner or Performance Center you can follow us 

- on the HP Performance Validation Blog  or even follow us @hploadrunner on Twitter

 

And if you’re looking for functional testing – you need to check out The Future of Testing Blog

 

Of course- go to www.hp.com/go/mobiletesting for all things related to HP mobile testing

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