Just in time for the holiday shopping season, APMdigest asked experts from across the industry – including consultants, analysts, organizations, users and the leading vendors – for their opinions on the best way to measure eCommerce performance, in terms of applications, networks and infrastructure. Part 2 covers APM and monitoring.
WEBSITE PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT
The more successful an e-commerce site is at generating sales, the more stress is placed on it. Simultaneously, even one failure or problem can bring down an otherwise exemplary shopping platform. That's why the best way to measure e-commerce performance is to monitor and test the site regularly to ensure it will work flawlessly under a maximum load. Don't wait until the week before Cyber Monday to measure and test everything that could impact the user experience. This includes page load times, shopping cart features, the functioning of all links and the state of your infrastructure, including how much free disk space remains on key servers. And continue to monitor the site at all times so you can easily identify the root cause of any issues that arise. Never stop asking yourself if your site is ready for a record-breaking number of new visitors and purchases.
CEO, Paessler AG
APPLICATION PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT (APM)
Even for the most traditional enterprise, APM can enrich their understanding of their business and give them information about their customers in ways that they might not see with traditional metrics.
Founder and CEO, IT Central Station
We all know that faster page loads mean more conversions and more dollars. That said, most APMs break performance down from route to route; ultimately performance is about brand perception in the eyes of specific users. Since performance varies from user to user — and since, ironically, the most active users have the largest datasets and thus often the worst performance — it's important to use an APM that can measure performance from any angle, not just application handlers. By doing so, cohorts, user classes, or specific individual sessions can be segmented for separate analysis and optimization.
Co-Founder and CEO, LightStep
APM + INTERNET PERFORMANCE DATA
I believe everyone is going to say focus on the customer, which is the obvious answer here. The problem which occurs commonly in APM is that over-rotating to the front-end allows you to measure and understand when there is a customer impacting performance issue, but how does one fix these? A unified APM solution should detect slowness and help you isolate the problems within your environment, but many of the customer impacting events happen outside of your direct control. What has been missing from APM is the convergence of internet performance data with APM to identify and isolate performance impact across the internet. This will only increase in importance as IoT and connected everything continues to proliferate.
VP of Market Development and Insights, AppDynamics
MONITOR INFRASTRUCTURE RESPONSE TIME
In addition to obvious application response time metrics, a key metric that is often overlooked when measuring performance is infrastructure response time. Outside of the public network issues, the main causes of e-commerce performance problems lie within the data center infrastructure, independent of whether the application is deployed on-premise, in a private cloud, or in a hybrid environment. In order to ensure application uptime and performance, it's essential to monitor and analyze performance across the virtual server infrastructure, networks, and storage infrastructure in the context of the e-commerce application(s) — and this can be done by leveraging a combination of machine data and real-time wire data.
Senior Director, Product Marketing, Virtual Instruments
MONITOR APP AND INFRASTRUCTURE PERFORMANCE
Digital experience is at the forefront of priorities for e-commerce businesses. Every second of application slowness directly impacts revenues, customer satisfaction, and the brand itself. Having different teams — app owners, dev, opps, etc. — battle out the reason for application slowdown in lengthy war room sessions is no longer an option for e-commerce businesses. Organizations must be able to monitor application and infrastructure performance from a single pane of glass. Correlative intelligence to analyze code-level performance of every digital transaction and that of the supporting infrastructure (network, storage, virtualization, etc.) is a must if IT is to meet the growing needs of the business.
Sr. Product Marketing Manager, eG Innovations
Pop quiz question – "How can you measure IT performance during the holiday season when there's uncertainty about demand - When literally millions of customers could be hitting your systems from new mobile apps and APIs?" But even with all the uncertainty and "unknown-unknowns" one things for sure — application latency and poor response times are the silent killers that will snuff out even the best laid eCommerce plans. It's why IT teams need in depth visibility into critical API performance data combined with end-to-end tracing of performance related to critical eCommerce transactions – across any business channel.
Advisor, Product Marketing, CA Technologies
APIs are key parts of any ecommerce system. Typically, IT measures API performance only — response time and status codes — but that simply isn't enough. The API has to work correctly and exactly as expected for the entire system to work. Tools to ensure API behavior through automation are critical during times of heavy load.
MONITOR 3RD PARTY SERVICES
To effectively manage and measure ecommerce performance, it's important for IT teams to not only think about the individual apps they use within their four walls, but also the dependencies that exist between the third-party platforms and services that are part of their broader ecommerce delivery stream. To detect ecommerce irregularities early, teams will be dependent on their ability to aggregate and monitor independent service data. When you have comprehensive and reliable early warning signals in place, you can prepare for single points of failure and head off problems that can shut down online shopping. This is especially important during the holidays when power shoppers are out in force. You need flexibility to burst to support unanticipated loads, and balance traffic across data centers and third-party cloud provider availability zones. All of this is key to ensuring you can deliver the kind of brand experience that exceeds consumer expectations and keeps shoppers coming back for more.
Chief Information, Security & Risk Officer, Digital River
Read The Best Ways to Measure eCommerce Performance - Part 3, covering the customer journey.