Modern Workplace

Avoid the ‘watermelon trap’ with digital experience monitoring

Sep 27, 2021
Avoid the ‘watermelon trap’ with digital experience monitoring

On a CXO Summit panel I recently moderated, Rohit Adhlakia (former CIO of Wipro) shared a saying that changed the way I thought about a particular fruit–the watermelon. It used to remind me of summer picnics and seed-spitting contests (Am I old enough to remember when watermelons had seeds?). But now, it takes on a different meaning as a perfect metaphor to summarize the state of performance monitoring in many enterprises. 

From the outside, a watermelon is green but hides a red interior. The same can be said for most ways that enterprises monitor their endpoints, networks, and applications today–outwardly showing green, while hiding lots of red inside.

Why is this the case? Well, it’s because of what is being monitored. Traditional monitoring tools do a great job reporting on the health of your infrastructure, the utilization of your network, and the uptime of your applications. However, in today’s world, two things have changed. One, with the move to cloud and SaaS/IaaS applications, you no longer own the infrastructure or the network. Two, uptime is often meaningless, as “slow has become the new down”. When relying on these antiquated measurements to highlight issues, you can understand why the green outer skin can be hiding lots of internal red problems-a.k.a. poor user experience.

IT Infrastructure monitoring (ITIM) tools use SNMP or APIs to pull health statistics from server infrastructure, including CPU, memory, and disk stats. While useful when you own your infrastructure and for certain types of diagnostic deep dives, infrastructure metrics are rarely useful for answering your ultimate question: are your users getting optimal performance? 

Similarly, network performance monitoring (NPM) tools may track the utilization of network resources leveraging either Netflow or packet analysis, but again, they don’t uncover end-user experience issues. Plus, with today’s work-from-anywhere (WFA) and cloud-hosted applications, measuring network utilization is increasingly difficult and less useful.

Finally, the extent of many application monitoring tools today leverage uptime tests on the application itself, letting you know if, say or CRM is up and running. While no one can argue that this is useful information, massive application outages are rare, but performance degradations are not. As mentioned earlier, “slow is the new down” with productivity being highly dependent on applications being available and responsive.

True user experience represented by ZDX

So, when traditional monitoring techniques fail to expose what really matters, what is the answer? Simple: Digital experience monitoring (DEM) tools, which measure performance where it matters––the end user’s experience. DEM solutions can report on application, endpoint, and network health, regardless of where the user and application reside. Most importantly, they report on the one “super” metric that really matters–end-user experience–all other metrics are secondary.

Zscaler’s own Zscaler Digital Experience (ZDX) is a DEM solution, uniquely providing broad visibility into application, network, and endpoint problems. It is highly scalable and proxy-aware baked directly into the Zscaler cloud. ZDX requires no additional agent installation. It is what you need to avoid the watermelon trap that may be concealing problems beneath a thick green rind and monitor what really matters - which is how your end users are doing. 

The next time you enjoy watermelon, you can focus on how juicy and delicious it is knowing your end users are getting the best digital experience regardless of where they are, the device they are using, or the type of application they are accessing.

What to read next

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