Web Performance is a Journey, Not a Destination

Mehdi Daoudi

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Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016

Each year, we like to take a look back to reflect on the biggest and most popular stories covered on our blog. From DDoS attacks to best-practice tips, here are your favorites from 2016:

  1. Performance Impact of Third Party Components

Understanding the performance and impact third party content has on a website isn’t a new thing.   Back in 2010 Steve Souders wrote about the complexity of third party content and published a table on the impact some components had on performance. The world of the web has changed quite a bit since then but the need to understand the impact third party content has on page performance has not. Well maybe it has become even more important since then.

2. Major Netflix Outage Disrupts Luke Cage Release

Since its first original series premiered (House of Cards, circa 2013), Netflix has transformed the small screen, giving the average weeknight the potential to be pretty extraordinary. The streaming service has evolved into more of a culture than a service; even its name is now frequently used as a verb. So you can imagine that when something goes wrong that doesn’t allow users to “Netflix”  and binge on the highly anticipated Luke Cage release, it would cause some commotion.

3. Did Riot Games Really Negotiate Direct Connections from its Users to its Servers?

Every day more than 27 million people depend on Riot Games’ League of Legends to deliver an incredibly fast user experience. My fellow Catchpointer Greg Rubin and I are two of them. Like just about everyone else who plays, we can tell when our connection to the server is faster or slower, even by a handful of milliseconds. A faster connection means better input times, and the ability to react faster to game situations. We noticed recently that we were doing better than usual, and saw that our ping times were improving.

4. Revisiting the Anatomy of HTTP: Pt. I

One of the key driving factors behind the various web/mobile performance initiatives is the fact that end-users’ tolerance for latency has nose-dived. Several studies have been published whereby it has been demonstrated that poor performance routinely impacts the bottom line, viz,. # users, # transactions, etc.

5. Detect DNS Spoofing, Protect Your Digital Identity

Your Domain Name is your digital identity, the first interaction your customers will have with your online brand. In this article, we will cover DNS Poisoning and why you need to proactively monitor and catch it before it affects your business; but before we get to testing and detecting a problem, let’s first define the problem.

6. Southwest Airlines Suffers ‘Catastrophic Technological Failure’

Today Southwest Airlines COO Michael Van De Ven went on twitter to explain the “catastrophic technological failure” that took down Southwest’s systems for most of the day yesterday, and how its customers were impacted. With no network, Southwest was unable to let passengers check in to flights, to move crews around, or to find baggage. Van De Ven said that the company has redundancies in place, but they did not kick in as expected, and about 800 of its servers were affected.

7. A Practical Guide to SLAs

While visiting a customer last week (a large SaaS platform company), we started to have an interesting discussion around Service Level Agreements (SLAs) during which he encouraged me to write this blog. When I was tasked with setting up the QoS Team at DoubleClick in 1999, the primary mission was to setup a monitoring team (internal, external, etc.) and the secondary mission was actually an accidental one: to manage our SLAs.

8. Security (SSL) has a Performance Tax

While on a call with a customer last week, I was faced with the question of why the customer’s site had slowed down, even after they had switched to full SSL. Well, to be honest, it’s pretty obvious; SSL is more expensive from a web performance perspective. However, it wasn’t until I saw this chart that I realized how bad it has gotten.

9. DNS Outage was Doomsday for the Internet

What was supposed to be a quiet Friday suddenly turned into a real “Black Friday” for us (as well as most of the Internet) when Dyn suffered a major DDOS attack. From an internet disruption’s perspective, the widespread damage the outage caused made it the worst I have ever experienced. At the core of it all, the managed DNS provider Dyn was targeted in a DDOS attack that impacted thousands of web properties, services, SaaS providers, and more.

10. Ask Me Anything with O’Reilly Media: DevOps vs. SRE Recap

This month’s topic was DevOps vs. SRE; there seemed to be a lot of confusion relating to the difference between the two roles, expectations and best practices, and how to fill each position to build the ultimate team of IT pros, so we decided to take on the task of clearing the air and finally putting some rumors to bed. Our panel featured Chef CTO Adam Jacob, Google SRE Manager Liz Fong-Jones, and Charity Majors, Engineer and Co-founder of Honeycomb.

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Catchpoint radically transforms the way businesses manage, monitor, and test the performance of online applications. Truly understand and improve user experience with clear visibility into complex, distributed online systems.

Founded in 2008 by four DoubleClick / Google executives with a passion for speed, reliability and overall better online experiences, Catchpoint has now become the most innovative provider of web performance testing and monitoring solutions. We are a team with expertise in designing, building, operating, scaling and monitoring highly transactional Internet services used by thousands of companies and impacting the experience of millions of users. Catchpoint is funded by top-tier venture capital firm, Battery Ventures, which has invested in category leaders such as Akamai, Omniture (Adobe Systems), Optimizely, Tealium, BazaarVoice, Marketo and many more.