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The World of Modern Web Applications

Posted on 9.30.2013

In Website Magazine's November issue, Compuware detailed how to manage application performance this holiday season. The article was jam-packed with insight. So much so that editors pulled informative content and placed it here on the Web.


:: By Klaus Enzenhofer, Compuware ::


With so many points that can result in a sluggish or unreliable website or application, how can you ensure rapid application performance and reliability? The key is to adopt a new generation of application performance management (APM) centered on an understanding of the true end-user experience. Several important points underscore this message:

• First, traditional APM tools that provide siloed monitoring of various IT system and network elements are no longer sufficient. These tools leave many blind spots because they don’t show how the systems interact with one another and the performance of the overall system. For example, even if all your servers are up and running, this is no guarantee your customers are having a fast, reliable experience. This is especially true for servers in the cloud – even if they’re exhibiting five- or six-nines availability, a sudden spike in a cloud customer’s application traffic can result in application slowdowns for others sharing the same resources. In addition, even if all your data center systems and network components seem to be operating perfectly, there could be something else going awry beyond your firewall – e.g. a slow CDN. Today, the “Internet is the data center” and if you focus solely on elements in your data center, you’re leaving huge portions of the application delivery chain unchecked. 

• Second, to a similar end, online retailers need united coverage across the complete application delivery chain, from the user click all the way back to the line of application code. Online retailers can derive maximum benefit by monitoring the data center and Internet components of the application delivery chain in conjunction, in a “single pane of glass” approach. Also, given the heavy volume of transactions that occur in e-commerce environments, online retailers cannot forget to include the mainframe in their APM efforts. Even slight tweaks in mainframe processing times can result in hugely positive gains in application speed for millions of customers.

• Third, online retailers must understand that the explosion of mobile means customers are accessing websites and applications all the time. Online retailers can’t just rely on sample data to test applications (since cost-incurring issues can occur outside the testing interval), nor can they anticipate and prepare for heavy traffic based purely on historical trends. Compuware research from the 2012 holiday season showed that Thanksgiving evening (as opposed to just Cyber Monday) is now also a prime time for online holiday shopping, as customers peruse their tablets from the comfort of their couches. This is a growing trend known as “couch commerce,” which has grown more prominent just in recent years, as the lines between Thanksgiving evening, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are increasingly being blurred. Online retailers need to be measuring and monitoring all applications, 24x7, and combining this with deep-dive diagnostics that allow them to identify the source and cost of problems, and prioritize resolution accordingly.

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