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Don't Let a Slow Website Kill Your Bottom Line

"The only reason we tolerate less than instant performance from websites is because our first Internet experiences were slow and we still encounter sluggish sites. As the best sites get faster and faster, we’ll hold all the sites we visit to that standard."

Roger Dooley, Forbes Magazine*

USE CASE: INTERNAL APPS

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Monitoring Web Applications Inside the Firewall

Web applications inside the firewall are central to business and play a key role in employee productivity. When they are slow or unavailable, business stalls. With AlertFox, you can easily verify the availability and performance of your company's web apps.

Use Case Details

In our use case, several employees at the London office are having difficulty accessing the company's ADP application. Our screenshot shows the delay in the server responding (red circle in lower left) and we also see more details about the cause in the iMacros* popup (red circle upper right). Let's see if AlertFox can show us what's behind the problem.

*If you're new to AlertFox, iMacros is the name of our transaction monitoring tool and it's the tool you would use to create a monitored transaction. iMacros is available as a standalone application and as a browser plug-in.

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AlertFox Monitors All Key Application Processes

The IT team uses AlertFox to monitor resources across the distributed organization. Our snapshot shows us that other regional offices are able to connect, and transactions like form completion and file upload are working fine. The connectivity problem seems to be limited to the London office. Let's dig deeper.

Using AlertFox inside the firewall

You can conveniently use the AlertFox iDrone virtual appliance inside your firewall to monitor company web applications. With AlertFox, there's no need to open your firewall and potentially expose sensitive company data (e. g. payment information or health insurance details). The only information sent back to AlertFox from the iDrone appliance is the transaction macros and the performance data. All traffic between the iDrone and the AlertFox servers is encrypted by SSL, so your macros are never exposed to a third party.

However, if you feel uncomfortable editing/storing macros that contain passwords in plain text on the AlertFox servers, you can opt to encrypt the passwords directly on your iDrone, so the login information never leaves your premises. If you need a complete on premise solution (as opposed to AlertFox SAAS), we offer this as well.

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Error Details

The AlertFox Overview report shows us what's happened with each monitored resource/transaction (we call them sensors) over the last 24 hrs. Everything looks good except for the intermittent errors (shown as small black squares) at the London office. To find out more we just use our mouse to click on the hour block revealing the error details.

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Sensor Detail log

With the Sensor Detail Log report, we can see exactly when the problem occurred and the associated error message generated by AlertFox. But what went wrong? Apparently, the page failed to load and ultimately hit a timeout. We know that a number of steps occur during a successful page load, so which step(s) isn't working?

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AlertFox Multi-Step Graph

The multi-step graph show us if one or more steps or resources are causing the problem in a monitored transaction. This particular graph shows us data for five days and we see a a number of spikes in runtime that are certainly associated with an application timeout. If a single step in the transaction is taking too long, the transaction will timeout. The timeouts seem to be a connectivity issue - and not an issue with the application itself.

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Root Cause Analysis

Looking at a single day's multi-step graph, we can see that the many of the peaks show significant delays in the page load time. Our data confirms the complaint by the London employees - the ADP application was unavailable, most likely due to an intermittent issue with connectivity.

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Verifying SLA's

AlertFox can monitor web transactions and alert you if the performance is outside the agreed SLA (illustrated here using the red vertical bars). As a result, your IT team can be notified the moment an SLA breach occurs.

*Roger Dooley, "Don't Let a Slow Website Kill Your Bottom Line," http://www.forbes.com/sites/rogerdooley/2012/12/04/fast-sites/ 12/04/2012 @ 8:40AM
Roger Dooley is the author of Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing (Wiley, 2011).

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