We live in a fast-paced and automated world. Technology is rapidly changing and our expectations are constantly increasing. We expect that everything we do today will immediately be ready for our needs—or we don’t use it. We expect things to work properly straight out of the box, without the need for much intervention or set up. For example, when we install our mobile devices applications, we expect them to immediately and successfully work
However, in some cases, we need to do some initial work once in order to enjoy our automated application or environment. We accept this one time effort in order to permanently enjoy the end results. (But the end results need to be worth the effort.)
In Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Real User Monitor (RUM) end user monitoring software we have a choice of several types of configuration modes for actions, as well as a totally automated mode. To decide what to do, we can analyze the trade-off between our effort (configuration) and the value we gain.
In this article, I will clarify the following different ways to obtain action information in RUM Application Tiers and the tradeoff between the configuration and value:
Configure actions manually
Configure auto discovered actions (HTTP only)
Define fully automated actions – classifications
Define no actions or define the RUM Application Tier as “Request-Response” or “Streaming type”
Configure Actions Manually
In this Configuration mode, RUM users define each action manually.
How to define:
RUM Application Settings > Actions Tab (i.e., Pages in Http Apps) > New Action
This mode requires an understanding of the business definition of the application actions. If the application contains a lot of actions, there is a lot of initial work to do. You will also need to update the configuration if the application definition changes (i.e., if the application page URL parameter name is changed, changes may need to be reflected in the configuration as well). In some cases, this can be rather Sisyphean work.
With this configuration – if done well – the user usually promises to be most precise and get maximum value. But, depending on the application implementation, the user may also obtain the same value in other more automated ways (which are explained below).
Action Summary (Defined pages):
Action Click Stream (“Fish” as a Defined Page vs. Other Undefined pages):
Configure Auto Discovered Actions
This mode requires a basic understanding of the business definition of the application pages. It is a more automated way to define actions (pages in HTTP) then the manual mode. The user defines the rules engine that will create pages automatically. In some cases, one rule definition (a few lines of definition) may be enough to cover most or all of the application.
If the application is well covered with HTML titles, the page can be created only from these titles (very simple and straight forward).
This HTTP configuration mode is encouraged since the configuration vs. value is very good (minimum configuration to maximum value).
Define the file name in RUM Settings: RUM App Settings > General Tab > Page Discovery Configuration
Create pages from HTML titles: RUM App Settings > General Tab > Page Discovery Configuration
This depends a lot on the implementation of the application and its pages – the effort is minimal to medium but requires an understanding on how to define the configuration file (the RUM Help provides simple explanations of the rules and formats definitions).
Usually the user does not need to make many (if any) changes to the configuration file after it is initially created (high flexibility).
For HTML titles – there is no effort at all!
High value. These pages are automatically defined and can be viewed like any other defined action.
Action Click Stream:
Define Fully Automated Actions – Classifications
This approach allows RUM to fully configure actions with no interruption. This requires no big effort. (In some rare cases, the user may need to adjust several properties for the algorithm which requires a minimal effort). The result is not action but rather Classified Action. This is reflected in the reports in many places such as in the Action Summary, Action Raw Data, and Action Click Stream.
The name of the Classified page is actually a descriptor (pattern) rather than an Action name created by a user definition (as in the two previous options – manual and auto discovered pages).
How to define:
RUM Application Settings > Data Collection > General Pane > Enable Automatic Page Classification
No action configuration is needed (only the minimal configuration for the application – IP ranges and ports). This is the big advantage of this approach.
Medium value. As explained above, the name is not defined by a user definition. Moreover, there is no way to manually create business transactions from classified pages.
Action Click Stream:
Define No Actions
This is not an actions mode, but I think is important to be mentioned here as well.
There are two modes to consider here:
Application of any Protocol type (i.e., HTTP) – without configuring any action
Application of type Request Response or Streaming
Application of Any Protocol Type:
This is just an application of Type DB or HTTP (or any other protocol type) without defining any actions or classification. Since the user does not configure anything, the effort is minimal—but there is also not a lot of value.
Does not exist for no defined actions.
Action Click Stream (Full Descriptor URL of the page is displayed and the UI cut it in the middle to show start and end of the long descriptor):
Application of Type Request Response or Streaming:
In this configuration mode, the user defines an application only by its network level (TCP/UDP). Even an HTTP application can be defined this way (as Request Response type) but then the user will lose much of the HTTP information he sees in the reports (i.e., Page Summary, Session Click Stream, Protocol Events, etc.). Of course there is also a way to add TCP data monitoring for applications defined with a specific protocol.
Applications with only network level monitoring cost less in terms of performance (and license). Usually the user will define applications of this type when he does not have a specific RUM protocol for his monitored application or when he wants to see only network data for the application.
How to define:
Define new Request Response type Application, and then go to:
RUM Application Settings > General Tab
No action configuration (only the minimal configuration for application – IP ranges and ports).
The reports shows data on the TCP/UDP level and for TCP – Request Response Data only. In many cases, the user needs only this level of data.
A configuration mode to use is specific to the application and user.
Manual definitions are most accurate but requires a large configuration effort.
A fully automated approach provides good value, but with some cost for name presentation and transaction definition.
If there is an HTTP tier (usually the front tier), it is worthwhile to consider using Auto Discovered Pages – for the high value vs configuration. A user should consider this mode first for defining application pages if the application pages contain good coverage or well defined HTML titles.
The user may decide to combine some or all of the approaches described here. The priority order in RUM Engine will be as defined here (manual, automated, classification, no definitions) but overall performance should be a consideration as well.