For a successful application rollout, it is vital to assess the user experience appropriately and have an understanding of how the new app impacts your already deployed apps and infrastructure. This requires a great deal of preparation across various IT functions, from network to application teams. To put your team on the path to a successful rollout, take the time to consider the following points before the wide-scale launch:
Determine the topology. Where will users access the application and where will the app reside (there may be more than one hosting location)? Is the location intended to be on-premise or off-premise? How will the app behave from remote locations or on mobile devices? How will this impact performance?
2. DATA TRAFFIC
Examine the expected regular traffic load and profile. How does this new app rank in terms of bandwidth priority compared to other apps? How will the additional traffic generated by this new application impact existing app performance? What about overall impact on end-user Quality of Experience?
Establish a performance and capacity baseline for the existing infrastructure and applications at all locations. What potential problems could arise after deployment? How does the impact compare to your baseline?
4. PIPE CAPACITY
Determine the most likely path the traffic will take between the application and those user locations. Assess available capacity of both your internal and WAN network – is it sufficient to carry the additional load?
Define the new app’s sensitivity to latency. Think about the delay incurred to serve remote locations and mobile users. How will this impact your app deployment?
6. POTENTIAL BOTTLENECKS
Examine capacity and traffic considerations. Is the application using cloud services? Do you have the capability and capacity on the hosting site to allow traffic between the on-premise and off-premise application components?
Establish the critical nature of the app. Is this app important enough that you need to configure it for monitoring, either temporarily for the initial rollout or longer-term?
8. LIMITED ROLLOUT
Consider deploying the application to a limited number of test users in each site to get some preliminary testing done. Set expectations for how the application should perform and give users adequate time to acclimate and validate the new application as part of their workflow. How are users receiving the new application? What is the user experience like? Are there any issues that need to be resolved immediately?
9. QUALITY OF EXPERIENCE
After crossing all these hurdles, you can consider moving ahead with a full rollout. Continue to measure the user experience for the new and existing apps, and compare this to your pre-deployment baseline to determine early warning signs of potentially user-impacting behavior. How is the new app stacking up? With any luck the new application will prove to be a valuable addition to the company.
Bruce Kosbab is CTO of Fluke Networks.
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