Web Monitoring Data And Capacity Planning

Two weeks ago at the UCKMG annual conference our CEO, Deri Jones, gave a presentation on “A Single Point Of Truth:Monitoring And Managing Complex Websites, User Satisfaction and External Content Providers. ” as part of the Performance track, sharing the platform with Innes Murray, IT Director of our client Inghams Travel.

In the Q&A and afterwards there was a lot of discussion about how SciVisum works with clients to help optimise performance and efficiency and provides data used in trend analysis, release impact comparison and forecasting.

The following topics came up many times in conversation over the course of the day:

  • The unprecedented level of realism provided by both SciVisum’s Dynamic User Journey based performance monitoringand our managedLoad Testing.
  • The business impact focus of the SciVisum approach including: effect on user experience andopportunity cost, managing partners and suppliers though SLA performance data, the  Site Release Management performance comparison system
  • That Scivisum performance measurement is “technology agnostic” and enables understanding of end to end systems from the UI, through internal systems, logistics and warehouse management, to delivery for complex systems integration
  • That Scivisum reporting provides a common language / understanding that is being used across departments in client organisation that that makes scoping / modelling easier.
  • How SciVisum data can help to understand resource allocation (eg time spent firefighting/bug fixing) and help with prioritization/development/investment decisions and forecasting.

Ensuring IT capacity meets current and future business requirements is becoming more and more complex. The pace of change does not allow for long development cycles and models need to be incredibly adaptable if they are to retain their relevance and provide realistic predictions. Most organisations now have so many different systems, both internal and external, being run by many different teams that  understanding how to optimise performance and efficiency (right time, right volume, right price”) in order to justify financial investments can seem next to impossible.

As budgets become tighter the need for explanations for unplanned expenditure, expensive unforeseen incidents, high levels of unused capacity and missed SLA targets becomes more focused. If decisions were made on models built on unrealistic data then capacity planners are the first to feel the ire of senior management. If there is no confidence in the large scale plans then it will be harder to get buy-in for doing the smaller stuff that is needed to maximise existing infrastructure, such as  tuning applications, load balancing, moving batch cycles to quieter periods etc.

Often capacity planners’ need to look at  big picture facts and figures for high level strategy is complicated by the lack of a common language between reporting systems and between departments.

Performance Monitoring

A business focused web monitoring system that moves beyond analytics metrics, but can be used in conjunction with them, is becoming increasingly necessary for Capacity Planners. It is no longer enough to have “simple numbers” to report and work with. The reasons behind those numbers need to be easily investigated, understood and extrapolated into future planning in areas such as:

  • Trend analysis of performance monitoring data to understand recurrent errors and impact of sporadic errors
  • Common error causes and their real cost to business
  • Assessing the  impact of new releases
  • Realistic KPI thresholds
  • Using host data to understand SLA performance with 3rd parties/partnerships/suppliers
  • Understanding complete end to end systems from customer, through internal systems, to logistics and warehouse management to delivery for complex systems integration (eg multichannel eCommerce, Travel industry, impact of legacy systems etc).
  • Understand business processes for online and multichannel activities
  • Access to detailed annotations and documentation of previous fixes.
  • Transparency to prevent interdepartmental politics colouring interpretation of figures

All of which are available through the SciVisum Monitoring Portal.

Load Testing

Recently  we have found that many Capacity Managers and Planners have been joining load test stakeholder teams. Scivisum load testing differs from many traditional approaches in offering unprecedented levels of realism and capacity planners have found that:

  • The results of load testing are extremely important in understanding capacity and redundancy in the system
  • Regular “maintenance” load tests are necessary  to ensure there was no degradation happening or that needs are increasingly slowly and going unnoticed.
  • The ability to to forecast capacity needs based on business events allows pre-emptive recommendations to prevent overloading and damage to brand or bottom line.
  • It is possible to ensure capacity levels support established service level targets
  • THere is a need for in depth understanding of performance in the cloud that cannot be truly provided by any other means.

The realism of results particularly valuable when modelling. As everyone knows if the input is nonsense, output will be worthless. A model must take data from many systems, making like for like measurement a problem. Scivisum data is “technology agnostic” and instead focuses on the strategic KPIs and User experience based on actual performance on the front end.

Common Language

This also means that SciVisum reports provide a common language / understanding that can be used across the organisation. Not only does this make scoping / modelling easier, but it enables everyone to understand the models, the issues, and the decisions that need to be taken with the necessary clarity. This kind of approach makes business side understanding of resource allocation (eg time spent firefighting/bug fixing) proposals much easier, along with with prioritization/development/investment decisions and forecasting.

SV Monitoring Suite

All products in the Monitoring Suite have been designed with different user needs in mind, but all are delivered through the intuitive Customer Portal, and enjoy the one-on-one managed service support, that our clients value so highly.

To help support all teams, and provide a “single point of truth”, all products in the SV Monitor Suite are designed to ensure that everyone can understand and be proficient in using the wide ranging metrics to deliver ongoing improvements.