Here is a trivia question to all of you website owners or web application administrators: could your online business do better if your website would perform better… always?
Not many are aware what a one second faster response time of a web application can do for their online business. According to KissMetrics, a web measurement company, a one second faster page load time can result in a 7% conversion rate and corresponding revenues. Also, a major research firm reported that a one second faster load time can increase page views by 11% and decrease abandonment rates by 16%.
So the answer to the opening question is clearly YES! But there are two parts to that question that need to be answered:
- How do I make my web site load faster?
- How do I ensure it is constantly delivering the expected response time, especially in peak business periods such as the holiday seasons?
A variety of techniques are available for accelerating a web page’s load time, many of them require the web application developer to be highly aware of what impacts performance and how to avoid bottlenecks. Once the web site is up and running, a different approach must be taken for optimizing the web site performance. Steve Souders, a world-recognized specialist in the Web Performance Optimization (WPO) domain, published a set of 14 golden rules for accelerating websites, these rules are considered best practices in the industry. Implementing these rules, one by one will certainly trim precious seconds from your website load time. Yet, it can be tedious to implement these rules on every web application your website runs while ensuring they are correctly implemented throughout the application lifecycle.
The challenge of maintaining high performance levels throughout the application lifecycle creates an opportunity for IT equipment vendors to develop solutions addressing some of the 14 golden rules (and maybe others as well) at a click of a button. The most natural place to have this technology is the Application Delivery Controller (ADC), as all of the rules accelerate the front end of the web application, exactly where the ADC sits, in-front of the web application’s servers. Radware’s FastView™ is an excellent example for such implementation as it provides many acceleration techniques which can all be activated at a push of a button in Radware’s Alteon ADC.
Knowing that a web site performance is critical for online business performance, once an acceleration solution is implemented, how can you ensure web application really performs as expected?
It is relatively easy to know when a website is up or down, accessing any page on the website will send an alert as ADC’s health checks are designed to do. So how can you determine if the website response times are fast enough for end-users? How can you know if they meet the SLAs?
Take for example the recent service slowdown that occurred on the Evernote popular smart note web application on May 31st. The service was available but many users received a poor quality of experience that day. Imagine what the affect on customer loyalty would have been had the web service owner not been as quickly aware of the problem and failed to respond until it was too late.
To detect application slow-down in real time and effectively resolve it, a web application administrator needs an Application Performance Monitoring (APM) solution which includes at least three components:
- Real time statistics gathering for application performance, covering all pages and transactions used on the site, based upon actual user experience.
- End-to-end visibility on each of the different application delivery segments’ performance (e.g., datacenter delay, network delay and web browser rendering delay) to enable effective root cause analysis.
- A good reporting tool which processes all of the above statistics, enabling proactive assurance of consistent application performance through simple reports which you can drill down for fast and accurate root cause analysis.
Solutions of this kind will often require deep integration into the web application servers, to gather all relevant statistics, making it quite expensive and complicated to implement.
Just as in the web application acceleration case, where the ADC is the correct location for implementing an acceleration solution, it is also the most logical place for implementing an APM solution. An APM integrated into the ADC oversees all applications and all application delivery segments, and gathers all of the required statistics for effective and detailed reporting.
Once the application performance and user QoE statistics are gathered, it must be processed to create reports that deliver a clear picture of applications’ performance, and highlight the applications that are not meeting their SLA. Coupling the APM solution integrated in the ADC with a strong reporting engine creates a very powerful tool, which can help application administrators ensure that the actual SLA the end-users receive is up to expected standards, as well as to perform a fast and accurate root cause analysis in case of unacceptable performance drop.
Radware’s recent announcement of FastView™ – a result driven acceleration tool, coupled with it a new APM solution now introduces an unmatchable holistic and powerful solution for application performance management, which maximizes the business impact of any online business.