What Is Last-Mile Monitoring?
A SAS application running in the cloud should be monitored at various levels. Monitoring infrastructure, application metrics, etc. is very standard, but monitoring user experience is a relatively new type of monitoring that could be specific to SAS. There is a considerable physical distance between where the application is running and the users are based at.
Traditional monitoring infra are part of the application environment and thus it is technically not feasible to monitor how an application would look and behave on a user’s web browser or mobile app.
There are several commercial SAS applications available to cater to this requirement. Various endpoints of a SAS application are tested from regions of your choice from browsers as well as from mobile devices.
Common Last-Mile Monitoring Features
Availability or Uptime
The SAS applications need to be available 24/7 because they can be used from different time zones. The users could be a machine consuming data, or an API in a situation like an ad exchange or a Big Data pipeline. Though the application might be running fine in the cloud, the availability of an application could be impacted by regional internet issues or problems with ISPs.
While the application is still available, the regional Internet issues could impact user experience, mainly the time taken to load the application and render it on the browser or mobile device.
While there is some control over how an application can be fine-tuned for various browsers and on which browser a SAS application should be accessed, such flexibilities are limited on mobile devices, especially on a more open OS like Android. Valuable data can be gathered from user preferences on mobile devices that would help to improve the application.
Normally, triggers are set up to alert on issues with availability of the application to the users. Most of the time, little can be done in response to these issues because the root cause will not be application-related. However, it would help to inform the customers about the ongoing issue through others channels.
Last-Mile Monitoring Applications
Some of the well-known monitoring applications from this category are Catchpoint, Apica, Pingdom, and Keynote.
It is hard to differentiate these products based on the core features that were discussed above. However, most of them come with extra features such as UI testing, so the selection must be based on your specific requirements that might extend from just monitoring and the overall cost.