Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Speeding Things Up a Little More

FasterITRP is the world's fastest enterprise-class ITSM solution.
And now it is even faster.

At the ITRP Institute we monitor the response times of every transaction. We use that data to analyze which transactions take the longest to complete so we know where we need to focus our performance improvement efforts. For each transaction we look at how much time was spent on the user's browser, how long it took to get to our servers, and how long it took our servers to complete it. And that's not all. We can see, for example, how much time was spent on the database server versus the web server, or which type of browser processes a certain type of transaction more quickly.

As a result of analyzing this data, we continue to make improvements. We regularly optimize data caching, review database indexes, make queries more efficient, set up additional servers for specific tasks, etc.

This weekend, we added a new component to ITRP's architecture to improve performance further. ITRP now makes use of a content delivery network (CDN). This CDN is made up of a large number of web servers that are located all over the world. The static content of the ITRP application that is consumed by the browsers (such as the JavaScript code, the style sheets and the graphical elements) is hosted on all these servers. The result is that when a user accesses ITRP, the user's browser will obtain these files from the nearest server.

This has a significant effect on users who are physically far from the ITRP servers. Users in China, for instance, obtain these files from Hong Kong, Japanese users from Tokyo or Osaka, a server in Singapore serves users in Indonesia and Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand are served from Sydney, etc.

It also improves response times for users in North America and Europe, but because the service is already so fast there, they will probably not notice the difference. Still, there are numerous content servers in the US, Canada and Europe, so that users in the Bay Area get this content from a server in San Francisco and Dutch users get it from a server in Amsterdam.

For users in South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, this single optimization can shave a full second off of a transaction when the static content is not yet cached by the user's browser. So when a user logs into ITRP for the first time, or when a user has cleared the browser's cache (or pressed Ctrl+F5), or when a new release of ITRP has been transferred into production (which happens about once a week), this really matters.

Some people may think that we are taking performance too seriously. We don't think so. In today's global economy it is not sufficient to be the best. You also need to be the fastest. This does not only apply to the IT industry; it applies to every business. It is our job to make sure that your IT support organization is ready to respond more quickly to the ever-changing needs of the business. The faster a business can adjust, the more competitive it will be.

Ultimately, having a slow ITSM application will slow down your business. Organizations are becoming increasingly aware of this. And for large multinationals, there is only one ITSM solution that can provide them the performance they need all around the globe. That's ITRP.