A single minute of downtime can cost your organization an average of $5,600 per minute, according to Gartner. While the monetary loss that comes with some downtime is one of the biggest concerns by executive leaders, perhaps the greatest loss is the customers that give up on using your services during the aftermath. One of the leading causes of downtimes which can easily be predicted and stopped is a spike in traffic.
In most cases, this will occur when you launch a new product line or during times of the year when your products or services are in season. All it requires you to have is an arsenal of formidable APM tools.
Here is some more information on leveraging these tools:
The Burden of Monitoring a Mobile Customer Base
Mobile phones bring your services closer to the customer, which makes predicting spikes in traffic even harder. Users can access your application at any time of the day and from anywhere when compared to users who are using desktops. For instance, users can make use of smartphones to look at the health of their portfolio in a banking app at a time of their choosing.
Additionally, the smartphone has also brought about the need for bandwidth-intensive experiences which end up causing some burden to both the network and servers. Luckily, investing in performance management tools such as log analysis tools and those that help in monitoring your syslog server will be essential in identifying any stress on your resources.
It Starts With a Performance Baseline
For successful traffic predictability, you must first understand the normal traffic for your application. How does it look like at the weekends and the weekdays? Does it increase during the holidays?
A baseline will ensure that the application monitoring tools you use can provide you with context-based alerts whenever the traffic goes beyond normalcy. Once your application starts slowing down due to traffic-induced stress, you can step in and prevent any type of downtime.
Plan for Traffic Spikes
Monitoring the traffic of your application will only take you halfway. You need to be ready to counter spikes that might be too high for your current resources to handle. In most cases, this will call for options such as cloud servers that allow you to upscale or downscale on demand. However, it is not always enough to guess the level of upscaling you will need to cater for a traffic spike.
Working with synthetic testing environments will help you compare how your application reacts to different types of upscaling options and in choosing the best option in a controlled environment. For instance, you might only require adding a single server to cater to the traffic spike which makes adding two more a loss for your organization.
Use Load Balancers
It is one thing to increase the number of servers on which your application runs and another to balance the traffic within the servers. In case one server is overburdened with traffic, this will result in it running slow and the eventual breakdown of your application. The trick is to use load balancers to balance out the traffic to all servers.
This means that a server that has more capacity will receive additional traffic than the one that is struggling to keep up. This should also be done on a global level when the servers in one location get overworked. In case of the failure of a data center, having such a strategy by your side can help eliminate the instances of downtime while you try to take your center back online.
Traffic is a coveted thing in the app development industry, but only if it comes in good measure. Instead of taking this traffic for granted, why not be ready for traffic spikes. Invest in application performance monitoring tools to stay ready of any spikes.
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Founder Dinis Guarda
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