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The Mystery of the Little Big Transaction Time

There is a common belief is that to make the right decision or to find the root cause of a problem we need to analyze as much information as possible. We, citizens of the information society, however, sometimes feel overloaded and strained with information. As a result, we try to weed out unnecessary bits quickly and focus on only those that can bring us closer to solving the current problem. Analyzing a performance problem usually requires an end-to-end view of the complete transaction that impacted the end user experience. In this article we will show how numbers can be misleading and, if not carefully analyzed, may seem pretty insignificant. We also discuss how a proper data analysis tool with fault domain isolation workflow and an understanding of what is normal (baselining) can help us to get to the bottom of the issue, e.g., that a database server is experiencing a performance problem. read more

Filling Citrix Visibility Gap with Application-Aware Network Performance Monitoring: Part 2 – End-User Experience Monitoring

Citrix XenApp or XenDesktop are a perfect fit for lowering the costs of desktop management and simplifying access to the hosted applications from any device. Last week we discussed some challenges to application performance monitoring (APM) introduced by Citrix. Apart from getting yet another component in the data center to take care of, the virtualized application delivery becomes “black boxed” from the APM perspective. It gets harder to isolate the fault domain to the network, the infrastructure, or the applications themselves. Today, we will look into monitoring end-user experience of applications delivered through Citrix. read more

Filling Citrix Visibility Gap with Application-Aware Network Performance Monitoring – Part 1: Load Balancing

There are many reasons why companies choose Citrix XenApp or XenDesktop. Citrix can lower the costs of desktop management and simplify access to hosted applications from any device. Citrix seems like an ideal solution but it introduces certain challenges to application performance monitoring (APM). With Citrix we get yet another component in the data center to take care of. In addition, the virtualized application delivery becomes “black boxed” from the APM perspective. It gets harder to isolate the fault domain to either the network, infrastructure or applications themselves. In this two-part series we will analyze how to discover and handle some performance issues which can happen in the Citrix enabled environment. We start by looking at how to monitor network performance to discover potential problems with load balancing. In the second part we will look into managing experience of Citrix users from the perspective of network monitoring. read more

5 Steps to Improve E-Commerce Performance for Increased Sales: Bonus Track

Our client TescaraHats (...) used APM tool to fix a number of e-commerce application performance and usability issues we presented in this mini-series. But there was still a missing link that would ensure TescaraHats increased sales. I guess you thought we forgot about the conversion rate? Nope, here is how an application performance management (APM) tool can tell you why it is so low. read more

5 Steps to Improve E-Commerce Performance for Increased Sales: Users

Our client TescaraHats (name changed for commercial reasons), a European market leader in manufacturing customized hats, setup an e-commerce site in hopes to increase its market share and boost its sales. This did not happen. (...) In this episode we will see what happens when your customers come to your e-commerce site. read more

5 Steps to Improve E-Commerce Performance for Increased Sales: Network Performance

This is the third episode of the mini-series on e-commerce performance management. Our client TescaraHats (name changed for commercial reasons), a European market leader in manufacturing customized hats, did not achieve the expected sales increase with its new e-commerce site. It offered its customers the ability to customize and order hats online instead of visiting its brick and mortar locations, but customers seemed disinterested. TescaraHats learned quickly that there is much more to an e-commerce platform than simply putting an e-commerce service online. In previous posts we showed that increasing page rank is not the only way to boost sales and that checking and improving backend performance of your e-commerce is also critical. In this episode we show why it you should not keep network load and HTTP errors in check. read more

5 Steps to Improve E-Commerce Performance for Increased Sales: Backend Performance

In the previous post we presented problems encountered by our client TescaraHats (name changed for commercial reasons), a European market leader in manufacturing customized hats. (...) We argued that while improving search engine ranking is important, you should never forget about the performance and usability in an e-commerce application. In this episode of our e-commerce performance series, we will analyze the impact that the backend performance has on your online sales. read more

5 Steps to Improve E-Commerce Performance for Increased Sales: Introduction

The saying “if it doesn’t exist on the Internet, it doesn’t exist“ is reigning truer every day. Nowadays, it is hard to imagine most businesses without an e-commerce platform, let alone without a web presence at all. Since e-commerce is becoming the new standard, e-commerce performance needs to be at its best. In this blog series, I have come up with several ways to ensure your company's e-commerce performance success, including: avoiding unnecessary network load, reducing number of (internal) HTTP errors, improving backend performance, understanding your clients, ensuring scalability of e-commerce site and finally understanding sales results through conversion rate. read more

Balancing the Load

A question that every online application provider will face eventually is: does my application scale? Can I add an extra 100 users and still ensure the same user experience? If the application architecture is properly designed the easiest way is to put additional server behind load balancer to handle more traffic. In this article we recount an incident that happened to one of our clients when the… read more

Just Don't Panic

When we set up our application performance monitoring tool to correctly notify us about unexpected performance degradation, we often know about problems before our users start making calls to support (see our previous post on proactive APM). But what happens when we actually learn about a major performance outage? Psychologists identified two ways people falter under pressure. Some people choke: they revert to over-cautious, slow… read more