To optimize the delivery of its digital experiences, tech businesses need to understand how the APIs are performing. Understanding API reachability over the Internet and cloud provider networks is crucial.
In fact, when users are impacted in their ability to access an application, this has a direct effect on their digital experience – which they naturally would now likely see as negative. For companies where an application is the first port of a call for customers, this can be damaging. An end-user struggling to access an application will, after all, have no reason not to think that the problem is with the application itself.
However, legacy network and application monitoring tools have their uses in solving these obstacles, they lack the level of visibility needed to monitor the distributed interdependencies of the modern app and locate the issue efficiently, and then escalate and resolve the problem across external workflows. Due to this lack of visibility, the delivery path is often a blind spot for businesses, preventing them from truly understanding the cause of any issues their users might be experiencing.
Delivery paths themselves can represent an additional barrier by often being complex and lacking stability in the cloud, with third party API and data centres frequently moving around or even disappearing completely.
Some organizations will naturally turn to browser synthetic monitoring tools. Whilst these are a powerful way to continuously test key user workflows within the application, some browser-related user requests rely on multiple backend API interactions that are too complex to be visible from a user’s perspective.
For example, when a user submits an order form on an eCommerce website, the application makes a series of API calls to check inventory, process payment, and generate an order number – before directing the user to an order confirmation page. Because these backend services are invisible to the client, a failure or performance issue in anyone will ultimately go undetected by the monitoring tools but would still directly impact the customer.
So, what’s the solution? Businesses must be able to test external APIs at a granular level from within the context of their core application, instead of only through a front-end interaction. In addition, they must be able to understand the impact of the underlying network transport, usually an ISP or cloud provider network.
Adaptive API monitoring allows businesses to go beyond emulating user interactions via a customer-facing website to executing API calls directly against their API dependencies. Importantly with API monitoring, tests can be run from vantage points that are external to the application environment or from agents placed within the application-hosting environment out to the API services.
Application owners can measure performance, differentiating timings between each iterative function as well as validate the logic of complex workflows. All this allows for quick confirmation of problems within a workflow, as well as providing insight for potential optimization opportunities.
With APIs forming an increasingly important part of today’s modern applications, it’s critical for a wide range of businesses to understand API reachability over the Internet and cloud provider networks. It is this visibility that will allow them insight into their application performance as a whole and, in turn, ensure a smooth and positive digital experience for the end-user.