×

The definition of availability is a topic often debated when organizations are defining metrics for their systems to be measured against. A survey by Continuity Central stated that 40 percent of IT professionals do not understand what qualifies as high availability. Surprisingly, the most important aspect of availability monitoring is frequently overlooked: Can the users access and utilize the application?

twitter-is-over-capacity

I’ve seen countless line-of-business owners call a meeting with the administrators of each component within a business application to make long lists of metrics that will define availability. Each team will throw a few items in the bucket, and advanced IT organizations will even bring all these items into one central console to look at everything at the same time.

The list of what the administrators pull together often includes some of the following:

  • Network – Link Saturation, Router Interface Status, Loss Rates
  • Server – CPU, Memory Utilization, Context Switches, Queue Length
  • Database – Table Space, Locks, Connection Time, Hit Ratio
  • Web server – Process Up/Down, Log Events, Session Counts, Pings

One thing that you’ll notice above, is the lack of anything related to usability — a “so what?” metric.

If you are a SaaS provider, can you answer the question “Can my users log in?”; or if you are an eCommerce company “Can my customers complete a purchase?” To answer these types of questions you will need to watch users complete these processes or have test with automated synthetic users going through the motions.

If you’re going to spend the time and money to track application availability, make sure you understand if users can access the application or not.

Suggested Blog Posts

The Perception Gap for Poor Web Performance

E-commerce revenue continues to grow,as consumers turn away from shopping in brick-and-mortar stores to shopping online.  However, many businesses are not prepared for this growth because they do not fully understand the market and how to invest in...

Read More

Using Browser Trends to Maintain a Better Site

Because of the multifarious nature of web clients today, it’s important to consider the usage statistics when designing, implementing, and managing your site. However, misconceptions often arise when determining what browsers to design...

Read More

Finding Causes of Intermittent Errors from Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools is a web service that allows webmasters to view the status of their sites as seen by Google and the Googlebot crawlers. In addition to indexing your site structure and content, the Googlebot crawlers also record data on perform...

Read More

Optimization Options not Always Optimal

Web designers and developers are always looking for ways to speed up their page load times. Yahoo has an excellent article written on the best practices for speeding up your page. How do you know if implementing one of their suggested practices will...

Read More