The Nextgen Mobile App Challenge: Managing Performance on the Go

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Mobility rules. Mobile devices have become the primary way that most people go online. Moreover, the swift onset of the mobility era has not only changed the devices that applications run on, but where those apps run and, most important and transformational of all, what users expect their applications to do.

All of this means that a nextgen mobile app is not just yesterday’s application ported to a mobile device. It is an entirely new beast that presents entirely new challenges for application performance monitoring (APM).

Compact, in the Cloud, and on the Go

The performance characteristics of a nextgen mobile app are shaped primarily by three main factors: The user instance, at least, runs on a mobile device that is constrained in power and speed.

This does not keep the user from expecting a faster response than ever. For precisely that reason, next generation mobile apps tend to rely heavily on cloud computing. The cloud provides not only user and support data storage, but extra processing power, so that computational results can be served to the mobile device.

Moreover, because mobile devices are mobile, the apps that run on them must interact with and handle a great deal of geolocation and other localization data. A user doesn’t want to know what a retail company has in stock globally, but what it has in stock at the particular store she is standing in front of. Mobility also calls for ease of use amid the distractions of life on the go.

Taken together, these requirements mean that a next generation mobile app is not a piece of software so much as a software ecosystem, all of which must be smoothly integrated if the app is to perform well.

Performance Remains Paramount

And the app has to run well – fast, smooth, and reliable – or it will be rejected by demanding users in a fiercely competitive mobile marketplace.

This means that application performance monitoring capable of keeping mobile apps running as they should is a highly demanding task. Performance monitoring must be lightweight, because it has to interact not only with virtual instances of support functionalities, but with the client-side apps running on constricted mobile devices.

Performance monitoring must also be cloud-friendly, because it will constantly be interacting with a multitude of cloud hosting services. It must be flexible, to run in a multitude of specific environments, ranging from Amazon Linux to Debian, Red Hat, Ubuntu, or Windows Server.

Finally, app performance monitoring must be capable of providing both real-time and historical data, so that current problems can be nipped in the bud and past problems can be evaluated and corrected.

It all adds up to a demanding task, but someone has to do it. Fortunately, someone does.

Image Source: Wikimedia

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