Site Speed - It Matters!

Posted on October 12th, 2010 by Victoria Pal in Tech

Website speedWe are all obsessed with speed. Just today the elevator in my building got me thinking how often we get nervous with the slightest changes in our every day routines.

It usually takes the elevator around 12-15 seconds to get me up to the 4th floor. All of a sudden, the elevator door began malfunctioning, and as a result it now takes me 15 seconds to get to the 4th floor, and another 5 for the door to open. After a couple of days I began to think that the stairs are not such a bad option. Now, imagine that this is your website. People are used to getting the information they need when they need it. When your site gets slower and it takes 10-20 second for a page to load, people tend to get nervous and find an alternative route to get what they want.


Quick Tips on Website Maintenance

Posted on October 8th, 2010 by Victoria Pal in Tech

Website maintenanceWhen are you performing your next website maintenance? It is night time, yes? Well, let us give you a few pointers on how to do it more smoothly.

Any intentional website downtime requires that you consider 4 main parties - your partners, your current and prospective users, and the search engines. Luckily, the tips below cater to all three.


Facebook Down

Posted on September 24th, 2010 by Victoria Pal in Tech

Facebook is downFacebook was down – this is the news making the headlines today. Quite unexpectedly for both the Facebook team and the millions of users, the social networking giant went down yesterday from 2.30 p.m. EST and recovered around 6 p.m.  resulting, in their own words,  in “the worst outage we’ve had over four years”.  The failure was also immediately detected and confirmed by all of the locations in our monitoring network.

The reason for the outage was a series of problems involving an automated system designed to verify configuration values in the cache and replace invalid values with updated values from the persistent store. An error sent system into a feedback loop that only cutting traffic to a database cluster and rebooting the site could solve.


Response Time Test

Posted on September 3rd, 2010 by Victoria Pal in Tech

There are many different components by which you can measure the performance of your website - uptime, availability, speed, ease of use, etc. One of these components, which is by far the third most important after only availability and uptime, is the response time. In essence, response time is the total amount of time needed to download all the components of the page that the user is visiting.

You can use the free web page test tool to check out the response time of a random page below:


Microsoft Struggles with Cloud Availability Issues

Posted on August 26th, 2010 by Victoria Pal in Tech
Microsoft CloudOn Monday Microsoft experienced a two-hour long outage of its hosted software services in North America due to a network issue, reports IDG. The downtime, which took place between 8:30 am and 10:45 am US Eastern Time, affected the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) as well as number of other hosted services including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Live Meeting, Exchange Hosted Services, and Office Communications Online. Access to Microsoft’s Administration Center, Sign-In application and other online services was also impacted by the outage.

Microsoft issued a statement to warn the potentially affected customers that they “may experience timeouts with multiple services” and claim that “During the duration of the issue, customers were updated regularly via our normal communication channels”. However, the problems provoked a strong reaction and were widely discussed in the official Microsoft Online Services discussion forums. Some of the users pointed to other recent outages and performance issues, as well as about sluggish communication about them from Microsoft.

Despite the fact that Microsoft have apologized officially for the outage, this issue has once again put forth the concerns of the performance, availability and reliability of the cloud applications. The complete reliance on a third party leaves the IT departments with their hands tied whenever the cloud services become partially or completely unavailable as a result of slowdowns or outages in external data centers. And cases like these are a major discouraging factor for most IT executives who then have to field complaints from their frustrated users.