Kimbodo Automation Platform – formerly KD Selenium Platform

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Synthetic testing, known as well within the realms of synthetic monitoring or proactive monitoring, serves as a strategic approach to detecting performance bottlenecks in critical user pathways by emulating authentic user interactions. By utilizing synthetic testing, companies are equipped to proactively oversee their service availability, application response times, and the integrity of customer transactions.

This guide will delve into the workings of synthetic tests, highlight key application scenarios, and shed light on crucial features to consider when selecting a synthetic testing platform.

How Synthetic Testing Operates Synthetic tests replicate actual user behavior by dispatching simulated requests to applications and services via various browsers, devices, and geographical points. These tests are instrumental in overseeing web transactions and application endpoints across multiple network layers, providing insightful data on availability, responsiveness, and region-specific performance concerns.

Synthetic tests offer comprehensive monitoring across user journeys and application endpoints. Engineers have the flexibility to initiate synthetic tests manually or utilize a synthetic monitoring platform for automated test execution at set intervals. These tests are applicable in both production and testing environments, facilitating the verification of new feature functionality prior to their live deployment. With minimal overhead implications, synthetic tests can be conducted continuously, irrespective of the application’s traffic volume.

By establishing performance baselines at different times and locations, synthetic testing provides a framework for application performance assessment. However, it may not capture every potential issue. Unforeseen errors arising from untested real-user behaviors can be addressed by integrating synthetic testing with real user monitoring (RUM), thus ensuring a comprehensive error detection strategy. Additionally, synthetic testing alone may not differentiate between latency issues stemming from architectural or hardware problems, necessitating a combined analysis of test results and performance metrics for accurate problem identification.

Benefits of Synthetic Testing Synthetic testing is a critical tool for quality assurance engineers, developers, site reliability engineers, and WebOps engineers, enabling them to:

  • Proactively pinpoint performance issues: Synthetic testing facilitates continuous monitoring of service responsiveness and the functionality of key business transactions, allowing for early detection and resolution of performance bottlenecks before they impact end-users.

  • Reduce mean time to resolution (MTTR): When synthetic tests indicate a failure, an advanced synthetic monitoring platform provides access to associated data, like backend requests and error logs, for swift issue resolution.

  • Launch products in new markets: Synthetic testing offers a means to evaluate product performance in new geographic markets without actual user traffic, ensuring readiness for launch.

  • Achieve performance targets: Continual monitoring through synthetic tests assists in meeting service level objectives (SLOs) and identifying deviations, thereby managing error budgets effectively.

  • Support frequent code deployments: Incorporating synthetic tests within CI/CD pipelines enhances agility while mitigating regression risks, essential for organizations committed to regular, incremental updates.

Addressing user-experience issues promptly prevents potential revenue loss and customer dissatisfaction. Synthetic testing confirms application performance meets user expectations, allowing for quick rectification of emerging issues.

Types of Synthetic Testing Synthetic testing encompasses browser tests, evaluating critical user transactions like account sign-up and checkout, and API tests for monitoring essential endpoints across network layers. API tests include:

  • HTTP tests for application availability and responsiveness.
  • SSL tests for secure website access verification.
  • TCP tests for essential service port availability.
  • DNS tests for DNS record resolution and error detection.
  • ICMP tests for identifying connectivity delays.
  • Multistep API tests for sequential workflow monitoring.

Synthetic Testing vs. Real User Monitoring (RUM) While synthetic testing simulates user interactions for error and performance issue identification, RUM captures real user transactions, offering insights into actual user experience and supporting performance optimization. The complementary use of synthetic testing and RUM ensures comprehensive frontend coverage and accurate user-error detection.

Challenges of Synthetic Testing The complexity of modern applications, with their numerous services and dependencies, presents significant testing challenges. Traditional synthetic monitoring tools, often requiring specialized scripting knowledge, pose setup difficulties and test fragility. However, the industry is evolving towards more user-friendly test creation, enhanced automation, and improved test resilience.

Evaluating Synthetic Testing Tools When selecting a synthetic testing platform, look for features such as code-free test creation, managed and private testing locations, integrated alerts, detailed troubleshooting context, CI/CD integration, and self-maintaining tests for dynamic UI changes. These capabilities enhance test effectiveness, facilitate issue diagnosis, and support agile development practices.

Kimbodo Synthetics Automation Platform incorporates these advanced features, democratizing synthetic testing across your team. Start exploring synthetic monitoring today and quickly set up your first test to ensure your applications perform flawlessly at every stage.