Welcome!

Machine Learning Authors: Ed Featherston, Corey Roth, Peter Silva, Yeshim Deniz, Automic Blog

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

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
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.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
Companies are harnessing data in ways we once associated with science fiction. Analysts have access to a plethora of visualization and reporting tools, but considering the vast amount of data businesses collect and limitations of CPUs, end users are forced to design their structures and systems with limitations. Until now. As the cloud toolkit to analyze data has evolved, GPUs have stepped in to massively parallel SQL, visualization and machine learning.
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
"ZeroStack is a startup in Silicon Valley. We're solving a very interesting problem around bringing public cloud convenience with private cloud control for enterprises and mid-size companies," explained Kamesh Pemmaraju, VP of Product Management at ZeroStack, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
"Infoblox does DNS, DHCP and IP address management for not only enterprise networks but cloud networks as well. Customers are looking for a single platform that can extend not only in their private enterprise environment but private cloud, public cloud, tracking all the IP space and everything that is going on in that environment," explained Steve Salo, Principal Systems Engineer at Infoblox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventio...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, James Henry, Co-CEO/CTO of Calgary Scientific Inc., introduced you to the challenges, solutions and benefits of training AI systems to solve visual problems with an emphasis on improving AIs with continuous training in the field. He explored applications in several industries and discussed technologies that allow the deployment of advanced visualization solutions to the cloud.
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, provided a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to oper...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...