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Lori MacVittie

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Learn How to Play Application Performance Tag at Interop

It’s all fun and games until application performance can’t be measured.

We talk a lot about measuring application performance and its importance to load balancing, scalability, meeting SLAs (service level agreements) and even to the implementation of more advanced concepts like cloud balancing and location-based global application delivery but we don’t often talk about how hard it is to actually get that image performance data. Part of the reason it’s so difficult is that the performance metrics you want are ones that as accurately as possible represent end-user experience. You know, customers and visitors, the users of your application that must access your application over what may be a less than phenomenal network connection.

This performance data is vital. Increasingly customers and visitors are basing business choices on application performance:

blockquote Unacceptable Web site performance during peak traffic times led to actions and perceptions that negatively impacted businesses’ revenue and reputation:

  • -- 78 percent of consumers have switched to a competitor’s Web site because they encountered slowdowns, errors and transaction problems during peak traffic times.
  • -- After a poor online experience, 88 percent are less likely to return to a site, 47 percent have a less positive perception of the company and 42 percent have discussed it with family, friends and peers, or online on social networks.

-- Survey Finds Consumer Frustration with Web Site Performance During Peak Traffic Times Negatively Impacts Business Results

And don’t forget that Google recently decided to go ahead and add performance as a factor in its ranking algorithms. If your application and site perform poorly, this could certainly have an even bigger negative impact on your bottom line.

What’s problematic about ensuring application performance is that applications are now being distributed not just across data centers but across deployment models. The term “hybrid” is usually used in conjunction with public and private cloud to denote a marriage between the two but the reality is that today’s IT operations span legacy, web-based, client-server, and cloud models. Making things more difficult is that organizations also have a cross-section of application types – open source, closed source, packaged, and custom applications are all deployed and operating across various types of deployment models and in environments without a consistent, centrally manageable solution for measuring performance in the first place. The solution to gathering accurate end-user experience performance data has been, to date, to leverage service-providers who specialize in gathering this data. But implementing a common application performance monitoring solution across all applications and environments in such a scenario is quite problematic, because most of these solutions rely upon the ability to instrument the application/site. Organizations, too, may be reluctant to instrument applications for a specific solution – that can result in de facto lock-in as the time and effort necessary to remove and replace the instrumentation may be unacceptable.

A dynamic infrastructure, capable of intercepting, inspecting, and modifying, if necessary, the application data stream en route is necessary in order to unify application performance measurement efforts across all application types and locations. A dynamic infrastructure that’s capable of tagging application data with the appropriate information such that end-user monitoring services, necessary to determine more accurately the end-user experience in terms of response and page load time, can effectively perform their duties across the myriad application deployments upon which businesses and their customers depend.

At Interop we’ll be happy to show you how to teach your application delivery infrastructure- physical and virtual – how to play a game of “tag” with your applications that can provide just such measurements. Measurements that are vital to identifying potential performance bottlenecks that may negatively impact application performance and, ultimately, the business’ bottom line. Even better, we’ll not only show you how to play the game, but how to win by applying architecting an even more dynamic, intelligent infrastructure through which application performance-enhancing solutions can be implemented, no matter where those applications may reside – today or tomorrow.


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Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.