How WPM works
SolarWinds Web Performance Monitor (WPM) is an advanced tool for automating web transactions and measuring the response time of web servers and web applications. WPM constantly replays recorded transactions (every 5 minutes, by default) to:
- Check if web servers or applications are up, down, or experiencing high loads.
- Continuously monitor the end-user experience for each step of a web transaction track duration, dependencies, alerts, and more.
- Monitor any web application, whether internal (behind the firewall), external (customer-facing), or cloud-based.
With WPM, you can record a variety of transactions and then play them back at scheduled intervals, from various locations, to simulate end user experiences with web servers and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications. By tracking the performance of the same transactions running repeatedly over time, you can use WPM to find and fix web performance issues in both internal and customer-facing applications before users are affected. Quickly find the root cause for performance issues by examining DNS lookup data, connection time, send time, time to first byte, or content download time.
For example, if WPM monitors a transaction step that usually takes 2 seconds to complete and the duration suddenly jump to 10 seconds, WPM can notify you so you can investigate the situation. With synthetic transaction monitoring, you can proactively identify if slow website services are impacting the user experience.
The following figure shows a high-level overview of how WPM components interact:
You can deploy WPM Players to remote systems to sample the typical experiences of end users in various locations around the world. For example, if a large part of your customer base is in western Europe, you can deploy a WPM Player to a workstation in Germany and schedule transactions to run several times per day to monitor the performance of a website hosted in Boston.
WPM uses the following components to achieve comprehensive web performance monitoring:
- The Orion Server is the primary server that hosts Orion Platform products, including WPM. This server hosts the Orion Web Console where users interact with products and view gathered information. It also includes a Web Transaction Recorder and the WPM Player service. The Orion server monitors synthetic transactions that run continually, displays statistics in the Orion Web Console, and triggers alerts when it detects deviations in playback times.
- The Web Transaction Recorder is a separate tool you can open from your desktop to capture web browser steps as you perform them, simulating the typical steps taken by end users to create synthetic transactions. This tool is sometimes called the WPM Recorder.
- Assign a recording to one or more playback locations to create transactions that play at regular intervals; the default is 5 minutes. The original recording is a raw file, but the transactions are active monitors that perform web actions based on the steps in the file to gauge performance over time. You can set timing thresholds to trigger alerts if transactions exceed expected run times.
- The WPM Player is a Windows service that you can deploy to remote systems throughout your environment. It manages and communicates with WPM worker processes to simulate end user experiences by playing back transactions at scheduled intervals, and then reports transaction statistics to the Orion server.
The WPM Player service uses WPM worker processes to:
- Log into the host system,
- Perform steps in a recorded transactions, and
- Collect statistics and screenshots during playback.
- WPM Worker processes rely on SEUM-User accounts included with WPM for permissions. When the WPM Player service plays recorded transactions, it uses an individual WPM worker process to perform each transaction step and collect data during playback. Each WPM worker process requires its own SEUM-User account because different processes handle different transaction steps at different times.
SEUM-User accounts must belong to the local Administrator group on the system hosting the WPM Player that will use them. By default, the Orion server includes 2 SEUM-User accounts. When WPM is deployed to remote systems, the default is 7 accounts. You can add up to 15 SEUM-User accounts, but the recommended limit is 12, based on aspects of the host system such as CPU and RAM.
- The Orion Web Console displays WPM statistics so you can interact with them. Display details about transactions, including step durations and screenshots, in various WPM views and widgets. See Monitor WPM transactions in views and widgets for details.
Here's an overview of what happens after you assign a recorded transaction to a remote system that hosts the WPM Player service:
- The Orion server sends requests to the remote systems to play the transaction at scheduled intervals.
- The WPM Player service runs the transaction repeatedly while collecting statistics for each step, as well as the entire transaction.
- The Orion server requests playback statistics for the transaction from the WPM Player service.
- The WPM Player service submits playback statistics to the Orion server.
- In the Orion Web Console, WPM views and widgets display updated statistics that indicate how the transaction performs over time.
- WPM alerts may be triggered based on gathered data and configured thresholds.
Use WPM with SolarWinds Pingdom
Starting in WPM 2020.2, you can save recordings as Transaction Checks that can be used in SolarWinds Pingdom, a subscription-based, SaaS application that provides synthetic monitoring and Real User Monitoring (RUM). The RUM capabilities in Pingdom provide you with insights into the behaviors and experiences of actual end users.
For existing Pingdom users, that means you can now capture how a user interacts with your web application, without the need for scripting. Save time and effort by recording transaction steps, then the Web Transaction Recorder translates those actions into a script that you can used as a Transaction Check.
To learn more:
- See Integrate WPM with SolarWinds Pingdom.
- Watch Understand the End-User Experience With Holistic Monitoring.
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