Nov 23, 2022 • 5 min read

What Is Full Stack Monitoring and How Does It Work?

author picture
Haroon Choudery
Growth Manager

Software applications have evolved from simple server-client side apps to full-fledged complex architectures. We now have modern applications that also include cloud services, third-party APIs, microservices, containerized environments, etc. Troubleshooting a bug through all the different components of a system often requires much effort and time. Full stack monitoring aims to solve this challenge.

Modern architectures require simple end-to-end monitoring solutions. These solutions help prevent siloed structures and help you understand how your systems are connected. Full stack monitoring is the solution that gives you visibility into each action and reaction, request, and response across your application. Consequently, it becomes easier to understand how your systems work and debug more efficiently. 

What is Full Stack Monitoring?

Full stack monitoring combines processes and tools to manage and maintain an app's resources, such as client-side services, backend infrastructures, and cloud-native applications, including serverless.

Full stack monitoring is not about monitoring each resource individually. Instead, it's about having a centralized monitoring system for all of your services and resources, agnostic of the tech stack. By monitoring the entire stack, developers can identify and resolve issues across the application before they impact business operations. 

Benefits of Full Stack Monitoring

Because full stack monitoring provides top-to-bottom visibility into your application, it offers both business and technical benefits. 

Full stack monitoring gives you insight into all aspects of your software architecture, from the hardware and operating system to the application and network. This visibility can help developers and IT professionals detect bugs quickly, improve performance, and avoid outages. Because it captures information about log files, user experiences, network infrastructure, and application performance, full-stack monitoring brings you closer to achieving observability in your services. Your understanding of the state of your systems' health is gauged by their observability. The better you know how your application works, the more fault-proof it can be.

Detect Problems Earlier

By monitoring all aspects of the system, full stack monitoring can detect bottlenecks and potential problems before they cause significant issues. For example, some frontend monitoring tools will notify you as soon as a request is taking longer than expected, so your team can investigate and resolve it before it impacts your app’s user experience.

As a result, it can lead to less downtime and improve your app's overall performance. It also helps enhance the productivity of your engineering team because they won't have to sort through cluttered logs before fixing a bug.

Inform Better Decision-Making

Full stack monitoring gives you complete control and visibility across whole systems. It helps track changes and trends in your request and action flows over time. You can know how long a user waits if your page loads slowly or what happens when a user becomes frustrated due to unresponsive content on your app. Developers and product managers can then use this information to make better decisions about system design, capacity planning, and other aspects of IT management.

Improve User Experience

By alerting you to errors as they occur, full stack monitoring increases the reliability of your app. It also enables you to create better user experiences by showing you which parts of your app users interact with the most.

Components of Full Stack Monitoring

Full stack monitoring tracks actions from the client side through your systems to the backend and back to the end user. Full stack monitoring has three components that help it function properly.

Frontend Monitoring 

Frontend monitoring is the part of monitoring that addresses only the interface the end user sees and interacts with. It looks at components and elements on the client side that don't work as expected or take too long to load. Alone, frontend monitoring is valuable for single-page applications with libraries and frameworks like React, Vue, Next, etc.

Frontend monitoring can track every user interaction with your app, i.e., the API calls, page rendering and rerendering, and all requests triggered during the rendering lifecycle of your app. For instance, it can detect unresponsive links, timeouts, and Javascript errors. 

Frontend monitoring can also give you insight into which parts of your app users interact with. Consequently, it helps you better understand your users' behavior and make better product decisions.

Backend Monitoring

Backend monitoring helps measure the health and performance of your backend services. These services are server-side apps, middleware, microservices, databases, and other data management or warehousing systems.

Backend monitoring monitors your app for performance issues, system software issues, bugs in your server-side app, memory issues, etc. For example, you can measure the time it takes for your requests to return a response. You can then quickly resolve performance issues such as latency and make adequate improvements.

Monitoring your backend infrastructure can be challenging because you can't see how users interact with your app from the backend. In addition, issues with your backend often have a more significant impact because they can go unnoticed for long periods. And when they occur as failures, it can be challenging to identify the root cause. So, it is even more crucial to gain visibility into those systems so that you can understand how your systems connect to handle requests.

DevOps Monitoring

DevOps encompasses the services that help automate and integrate the functions of the development and IT operations teams. These services include continuous integration, continuous delivery, and development workflows. Because engineering teams often make code changes many times a day, it's crucial to keep track of these changes and ensure no conflicts can cause breaking changes in production.

DevOps monitoring helps manage these changes and ensures that the efforts of everyone involved in your app's development are aligned. It helps monitor your DevOps process by checking for issues with automation, collaboration among teams, configurations, and so on. By monitoring your DevOps operations, you can accurately measure your mean time to resolution, deployment frequencies, and failures.

Your App Needs Full-Featured Visibility

Developers are becoming more concerned about their apps' user experiences and flows. At the very least, they want to build always-available, reliable, and secure apps. The most efficient way to create apps like this is to monitor your application. It shouldn't matter if you're using Node.js or Python on the backend and React.js or Vue on the frontend or any other language. Get yourself a monitoring tool that speaks your favorite programming languages.

Your preferred monitoring tool should also depend on your use case and the services you have running your backend, frontend, and DevOps. For example, you may want an affordable and customizable tool that sends notifications, creates and assigns tickets, and offers analytics reporting. So, you only need to figure out what features you want and sort through the available solutions on the market.

In addition to helping you monitor your frontend apps, Highlight also offers backend monitoring for your web applications. Start your free month's trial now!

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