Welcome!

Machine Learning Authors: Kevin Benedict, Harry Trott, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, William Schmarzo

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Industrial IoT, Machine Learning , Agile Computing, @BigDataExpo

Microservices Expo: Article

With Confidence Through the Holiday Season: Manage Success in Production

The top goal for eCommerce sites is to ensure high conversion rates as this converts into business

In our last two articles, we discussed what we have learned from last year's holiday season as well as things that we can do in the preparation phase for this year's upcoming event. In this blog we show you those dashboards and data points you need throughout the holiday season to make it a success.

The top goal for eCommerce sites is to ensure high conversion rates as this converts into business. IT's responsibility is to ensure that consumers can use the eCommerce site in an "enjoyable" way. But there is much more than measuring the UpTime or Response Time of your services. The dashboards shown are taken from other eCommerce sites used to monitor the health of their application, infrastructure as well as end user satisfaction and conversion rate.

#1: Infrastructure and Application Health

Dashboards need to show the system health impact on applications, services and processes. If no systems are impacted it has less priority to deal with high CPU, Memory, ...

Applications ultimately run on an IT Infrastructure; whether these machines are "physical", virtualized, or running in the cloud. Ensuring a healthy infrastructure is the key requirement for IT. But it is more important to know whether there is an immediate impact on the hosted applications, services and processes. Before upgrading any hardware, reconfiguring your routing tables, or bouncing your application, it is important to understand whether it actually impacts the application and the end user. Just because you run on 95% of CPU doesn't mean it's a problem - maybe your developers just built a perfect system that consumes all resources available in an optimum manner.

You need a dashboard that alerts on system monitoring issues but also take into account the applications, services, and processes running on them. Are these impacted by the resource shortage or not? That answer dictates your action if you know what is actually impacted.

#2: Application Performance

What are they key performance indicators per application? Are end users impacted by bad response times or failures? Is it the App or the underlying infrastructure?

The second dashboard you need focuses on the application, its performance, and impact on the end user. It answers the following critical questions:

  1. How much traffic is currently on the page? Is it still climbing? Is it outside the norm?
  2. Do we have an unusual high failure rate, e.g., failed credit card transactions, abandoned carts?
  3. What is the overall response time and is it violating my baseline?
  4. Is the application impacted by unhealthy app or web servers, e.g., high GC
  5. Are the hosts (physical, virtual or in the cloud) running into CPU, Memory or I/O limits?
  6. Are end users currently impacted when accessing the app? Are they leaving because of bad user experience?
  7. What is the current conversion rate or are we making money?

#3: Regional Availability and User Experience

How is user experience in our target markets? Any regional availability or performance problems?

The first two dashboards in this blog analyzed performance from within our datacenter. The dashboards above and below now focus on performance perceived from the outside - meaning - from the real end user perspective. You need to know if your app is not reachable from a specific region or when conversion rate drops even though your servers are doing fine. These two dashboards answer the following important questions for you:

  1. Is my site reachable from my key regional markets?
  2. If I am not reachable: How long did the outage last and did it impact Users?
  3. How many users do we have per region and what was their User Experience?
  4. How does the traffic per region develop over time?
  5. How is our conversion rate over time and how many orders do we actually get in?

How is conversion rate and number of orders evolving over time? If we have a drop in conversions - is it related to a regional problem or is it related to general system health issues in our data center?

#4: Real User Experience on the Conversion Funnel

Learning how users move through the conversion funnel, where they drop off and how response time and end user experience (APDEX) impacts the conversion funnel

You need a dedicated dashboard for all important actions along your conversion funnel. That includes landing pages and actions such as search, product details, add to cart and checkout. The dashboard helps you to understand:

  1. How many users you have on each conversion funnel step?
  2. Do they encounter problems during a particular action and is that the reason for a drop?
  3. How fast is each step and does it have an impact on end user experience?

#5: Third Party Monitoring dashboard

How fast is static content delivered by Akamai & Co? Are there spikes or outages that impact my end users?

Most eCommerce sites rely on third-party content which not only impacts the feature set of the site but also performance and with that end user experience. Third Party Monitoring requires a view from two different angles: The third parties that are directly included into your website or mobile app and the external services you call from your backend.

These are the questions your Third Party Monitoring dashboard has to answer:

  1. Are the resources delivered via CDN fast or do we have regional problems?
  2. Is the integrated social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing...) slow?
  3. Are the backend services facing bad requests to the integrate third parties?
  4. Is the performance of the third party good?

How fast and reliable are third party services such as facebook or Google API? Does it impact the failure rate of my application?

#6: Desktop Web vs. Mobile Web vs. Mobile App dashboard

Get to know your users: what devices to they use and does that impact user experience?

Your potential customers can use desktops, tablets or smart phones to access your site. They will either have fast WiFi or slow dial-up speed. All of this impacts user experience. In order to analyze performance and optimize your site for these types of browsers, devices and connection speed you need a dashboard that tells you:

  1. How many users are accessing my portal via Mobile App or Mobile Browser?
  2. What are the top browsers used? Do we need specific optimized pages for older browsers?
  3. Do we need to optimize for lower bandwidths, e.g: use better image compression?
  4. Is there a difference between the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) depending on the different types of devices, browsers, mobile native vs. mobile web?

When disaster strikes: Collaborate with R&D
It is likely that you have smaller hiccups throughout the holiday season. To avoid lengthy and painful war room situations it is important to level-up your monitoring system and provide data your engineering team needs to speed up error resolution. Here is a list of capabilities that will speed up triage and error resolution:

  1. Capture all actions of each visitor
  2. Collect Crashes, JavaScript Errors, iOS/Andorid Exceptions from your mobile app
  3. Provide method level visibility on the server side including context information such as method arguments and return values
  4. Provide the ability for memory heap dumps and access to all requested application performance metrics, e.g: connection pool, thread count, heap sizes, ...
  5. Use tools to capture this data that developers already use and that also allow sharing data from different environments.

This level of detail is what developers need to understand what exactly went wrong instead of digging through giga bytes of log files

Crash information from mobile native apps by mobile device and version makes it easy to fix specific problems

Conclusion
Having these types of dashboards make it easy to monitor the success of the holiday season and also easy to react on problems and prevent larger damage by executing the right actions. Make sure you do not waste your time with problems that are not real, e.g., an individual user complains or trying to find a problem related to a regional outage of an ISP. Focus on those problems that impact a large number of users and that you can fix. This will make sure you keep conversion rate high and business flowing.

For further reading check out our other recent blogs such as DevOps Survival Guide: 2013 Online Holiday Shopping Season and With Confidence into the Holiday Season: Verifying Readiness in Test / Pre-Production

More Stories By Klaus Enzenhofer

Klaus Enzenhofer has several years of experience and expertise in the field of Web Performance Optimization and User Experience Management. He works as Technical Strategist in the Center of Excellence Team at dynaTrace Software. In this role he influences the development of the dynaTrace Application Performance Management Solution and the Web Performance Optimization Tool dynaTrace AJAX Edition. He mainly gathered his experience in web and performance by developing and running large-scale web portals at Tiscover GmbH.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
"Peak 10 is a hybrid infrastructure provider across the nation. We are in the thick of things when it comes to hybrid IT," explained , Chief Technology Officer at Peak 10, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We are still a relatively small software house and we are focusing on certain industries like FinTech, med tech, energy and utilities. We help our customers with their digital transformation," noted Piotr Stawinski, Founder and CEO of EARP Integration, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I think DevOps is now a rambunctious teenager – it’s starting to get a mind of its own, wanting to get its own things but it still needs some adult supervision," explained Thomas Hooker, VP of marketing at CollabNet, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We've been engaging with a lot of customers including Panasonic, we've been involved with Cisco and now we're working with the U.S. government - the Department of Homeland Security," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution and join Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader, Sergey Grebnov, in his session at @ThingsExpo, for an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
Any startup has to have a clear go –to-market strategy from the beginning. Similarly, any data science project has to have a go to production strategy from its first days, so it could go beyond proof-of-concept. Machine learning and artificial intelligence in production would result in hundreds of training pipelines and machine learning models that are continuously revised by teams of data scientists and seamlessly connected with web applications for tenants and users.
"We're here to tell the world about our cloud-scale infrastructure that we have at Juniper combined with the world-class security that we put into the cloud," explained Lisa Guess, VP of Systems Engineering at Juniper Networks, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I will be talking about ChatOps and ChatOps as a way to solve some problems in the DevOps space," explained Himanshu Chhetri, CTO of Addteq, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We are an IT services solution provider and we sell software to support those solutions. Our focus and key areas are around security, enterprise monitoring, and continuous delivery optimization," noted John Balsavage, President of A&I Solutions, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, provided a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services with...
The financial services market is one of the most data-driven industries in the world, yet it’s bogged down by legacy CPU technologies that simply can’t keep up with the task of querying and visualizing billions of records. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Karthik Lalithraj, a Principal Solutions Architect at Kinetica, discussed how the advent of advanced in-database analytics on the GPU makes it possible to run sophisticated data science workloads on the same database that is housing the rich...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
"We want to show that our solution is far less expensive with a much better total cost of ownership so we announced several key features. One is called geo-distributed erasure coding, another is support for KVM and we introduced a new capability called Multi-Part," explained Tim Desai, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Hitachi Data Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SkyScale will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SkyScale is a world-class provider of cloud-based, ultra-fast multi-GPU hardware platforms for lease to customers desiring the fastest performance available as a service anywhere in the world. SkyScale builds, configures, and manages dedicated systems strategically located in maximum-securit...
As businesses adopt functionalities in cloud computing, it’s imperative that IT operations consistently ensure cloud systems work correctly – all of the time, and to their best capabilities. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Bernd Harzog, CEO and founder of OpsDataStore, presented an industry answer to the common question, “Are you running IT operations as efficiently and as cost effectively as you need to?” He then expounded on the industry issues he frequently came up against as an analyst, and ...
DX World EXPO, LLC., a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, will examine the regulations and provide insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
What sort of WebRTC based applications can we expect to see over the next year and beyond? One way to predict development trends is to see what sorts of applications startups are building. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arin Sime, founder of WebRTC.ventures, discussed the current and likely future trends in WebRTC application development based on real requests for custom applications from real customers, as well as other public sources of information.