|By Sebastian Kruk||
|March 19, 2013 11:00 AM EDT||
When the operations team gets an alert about potential performance problems that users might be experiencing, it is usually either the infrastructure or the actual application that is causing those problems. Things get interesting when neither the ISP nor the application provider is willing to admit fault. Can we tell who is to blame? Could it be that it is neither the ISP nor the application provider?
The IT department of our customer, SerciaFood, a food production company from Sercia (names changed for commercial reasons), received complaints about the performance of one of its applications. The IT department suspected network problems while the local ISP stood firmly behind its infrastructure and blamed the solution provider.
It Is Not Our Infrastructure
The SerciaFood IT team recently tested a new application before rolling it into production. During the tests the team complained about the performance of that application; the most likely cause of the poor performance was attributed to network problems.
SerciaNet, a big name not only in Sercia but also worldwide, was delivering the network infrastructure for SerciaFood. The ISP began to monitor the network with manual traces and other techniques; the company could not, however, provide any strong evidence that it was not their issue.
The pperations team at SerciaFood was appointed to look into the problem using a real user monitoring tool.
Its first observation was that network performance, i.e., the percentage of traffic that did not encounter network-related issues (Server Loss Rate, Client RTT and Errors), was varying between different regions where SerciaFood services were used.
Figure 1 shows a report where both network and application performance metrics for EMEA are good. EMEA is the most active region on the report since it is where the core business operations of SerciaFood are focused. Other distant regions reported performance problems; the second most active "third-party" region reported high Client RTT and Server Loss Rate. Client RTT is the time of the SYN packet (sent by a server) to travel from APM probe to client and back again. Server Loss Rate is the percentage of total packets sent from a server that were lost and needed to be retransmitted.
Figure 1: Overview of KPIs across all monitored regions
How Is the Network Performance in EMEA?
The Operations team decided to first confirm what was indicated in Figure 1: the key business region, EMEA, was not affected by network problems.
Figure 2 shows a report with all areas monitored within the EMEA region. According to this report the performance is consistently good with about 2.5 sec of operation time and no network-related problems (100% network performance) for all areas within EMEA region.
Figure 2: Performance across all areas appears consistent with operation time at around 2.5 sec for all operations. Network Performance is good across all areas.
After a drill-down to one of user sites (Switzerland), the report shows that the operation time is spent almost entirely on the server side and that the network performance is good too (see Figure 3).
Figure 3: Operation time is spent almost entirely on the server. Network performance is good at this location.
Another drill down to the report with transactions executed at that site (see Figure 4) shows that although server time varies between transactions, the network time remains consistently below 400 ms. The differences in server time between transactions are a result of the different computational complexity between these transactions. For example, responding to Query is likely to be more demanding than responding to Get File.
Figure 4: Server time varies across transactions between 0.5-4 sec. network time is consistently below 400ms
The operations team decided to further investigate two transactions: one that should be heavy on network (Get File) and one that might be heavy on the server side (Query). The former was mostly responsible for merely delivering files to the client application while the latter required more computational power of the server to execute the query. The performance of the former is good with an almost even split between server and network time (see Figure 5), which does not indicate any network-related problems. The operation time for the latter is almost exclusively spent on the server, with negligible network impact (see Figure 6).
Figure 5: Performance is good for the Get File transaction, which by its nature would be more impacted by network time
Figure 6: Performance is poor for the Query transaction with time spent almost exclusively on the server
The operations team concluded, based on the analyzed traffic in the EMEA region, that at least in that region the performance was good and that it was not affected by network infrastructure delivered by SerciaNet.
Who Is Really Affected?
The question remained: why were some users reporting performance problems? From the overview report (see Figure 1) the operations team decided to drill down through third party, the region with the lowest network performance and highest server loss rate.
This region reported poor network performance below 50% and a significant contribution of network component in the operation time (see Figure 7).
Figure 7: Network performance is degraded at third-party locations
Figure 8 shows the report with a list of transactions for the affected user site. Although server and network time varies between transactions, the application performance for all transactions is low, down to 0% for Get File and Query transactions.
Figure 8: Server and network time varies between transactions likely due to the nature of the transactions
Further analysis of the Get File operation across different users shows significant contribution of the network time (see Figure 9). The network time for both operations is inconsistent; it took 4x more time to deliver results of the Query operation to the second user than to the first one (see Figure 10). This might indicate that users represented in this report connect to the SerciaFood applications through different ISPs.
Figure 9: Performance is inconsistent for the Get File transaction with network time being the main contributor
Figure 10: Performance is improved for the Query transaction but network time again showing inconsistency
Based on that analysis the operations team could determine that some users did in fact experience performance problems caused by network issues. Further investigation revealed that those users who were experiencing poor performance were not connecting to the SerciaFood application using the SerciaNet infrastructure but were instead working remotely through VPN using various ISPs.
When operating a service accessed by users from various locations it is important to remember that the end user experience may vary, sometimes significantly. In the case of SerciaFood its most active users were coming from the EMEA region that was implemented on the SerciaNet infrastructure. However, the second most active users were connecting to the SerciaFood services via VPN. Since these users relied on the general Internet connection, their experience was affected by poor network quality. Different users were connected from different ISPs; as a result the network performance in the third-party region was inconsistent.
Using Compuware dynaTrace Data Center Real User Monitoring (DCRUM) the operations team was able to show evidence, which SerciaNet could not gather otherwise, that the problems were neither caused by SerciaNet infrastructure nor by the application itself. They were, in fact, only experienced by remote users connecting via VPN, who were negatively impacted by ISPs network performance problems.
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Dec. 5, 2016 01:15 PM EST Reads: 2,150
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
Dec. 5, 2016 12:34 PM EST Reads: 126
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
Dec. 5, 2016 12:30 PM EST Reads: 2,281
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Dec. 5, 2016 12:30 PM EST Reads: 935
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Dec. 5, 2016 11:38 AM EST Reads: 176
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
Dec. 5, 2016 11:30 AM EST Reads: 760
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 5, 2016 11:15 AM EST Reads: 936
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and sh...
Dec. 5, 2016 10:30 AM EST Reads: 279
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Dec. 5, 2016 10:30 AM EST Reads: 642
We are always online. We access our data, our finances, work, and various services on the Internet. But we live in a congested world of information in which the roads were built two decades ago. The quest for better, faster Internet routing has been around for a decade, but nobody solved this problem. We’ve seen band-aid approaches like CDNs that attack a niche's slice of static content part of the Internet, but that’s it. It does not address the dynamic services-based Internet of today. It does...
Dec. 5, 2016 07:30 AM EST Reads: 1,001
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Dec. 5, 2016 07:30 AM EST Reads: 7,059
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web ...
Dec. 5, 2016 07:15 AM EST Reads: 1,298
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, 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 strategy.
Dec. 5, 2016 06:45 AM EST Reads: 1,797
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
Dec. 5, 2016 06:45 AM EST Reads: 1,629
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 5, 2016 06:30 AM EST Reads: 758
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
Dec. 5, 2016 06:15 AM EST Reads: 969
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Dec. 5, 2016 06:00 AM EST Reads: 1,693
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, will share examples from a wide range of industries – includin...
Dec. 5, 2016 04:15 AM EST Reads: 1,621
Unless your company can spend a lot of money on new technology, re-engineering your environment and hiring a comprehensive cybersecurity team, you will most likely move to the cloud or seek external service partnerships. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, revealed what you need to know when it comes to encryption in the cloud.
Dec. 5, 2016 04:00 AM EST Reads: 4,713
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
Dec. 5, 2016 04:00 AM EST Reads: 5,138