Reducing Infrastructure Costs through Application Performance Optimization

I spent about a decade working in the web hosting industry. Optimizing systems to achieve multitenancy, high server density, and minimizing resource utilization was crucial to higher profits. However, many web and systems application developers pay little attention to resource consumption, or how this behavior can eat into a company’s bottom line.

Consider This…

The slower your application is, the less revenue you’re likely to derive from it. Pretty simple.

Think about it…your customer is based out of a rural area and has a slower internet connection than those in the cities.

Your customer is using your application for managing their business; they rely on it. It sometimes takes close to a minute or more for some of the more complex pages on your site to load. Your competitor (let’s call them Oogle), offers the same type of software for far less than you charge, they have fewer features, but the interface is quick and snappy and loading pages take under a second.

Your customer tries a trial of Oogle’s software and finds that it runs a lot faster and the interface is a lot simpler and snappier, and while they don’t have the more complex features yours does, it has all the necessities…at a lower price.

Your customer will be a lot more inclined to switch if it means it can get them back to working on the part of their business that actually makes them money faster.

Remember the days of dial-up? You don’t want to be dial-up.

If your business is a web application or e-commerce site, you should be devoting time regularly to making sure your site is high performance and can even work great on slow connections. As your business scales, every ounce of performance becomes crucial.

Performance Affects Operational Costs

I recently worked with a client to improve their website performance. This effort achieved a 5 second speed improvement (from about 6 seconds down to 1). Over the next few months, this resulted in a 25% increase in page views, a 10% increase in revenue, and a 50% reduction in hardware. This last metric underscores the dramatic value of performance improvements, increasing revenue while driving down operating costs.

Application performance optimization helps reduce server requirements and supporting infrastructure, lowering the total cost of ownership. Cost factors such as power, networking, and real estate, while maintaining Service Level Agreements, yields strong value to data center operators and IT managers. This also allows organizations to reallocate assets, enabling faster growth and speed to market.

The Cloud Doesn’t Always Make It Cheaper

The cloud makes it easy to throw more hardware at performance problems. Now certainly you aren’t actually throwing more “hardware” at the problem, but when you consider what “more hardware” is intended to provide, you’ll probably quickly come to the conclusion that whether you’e provisioning hardware or virtual images, you’re doing the same thing. The way in which we’ve traditionally approached scale and performance problems is to throw more hardware at the problem in order to increase the compute resources available. Performance engineering is the way out.

The more compute resources available, the better the performance, and the higher the capacity of the system. Both vertical and horizontal scalability strategies employ this technique; regardless of the scalability model you’re using (up or out), both increase the amount of compute resources available to the application.

Cloud computing exacerbates this problem by making it even easier to simply increase the amount of compute resources available by provisioning more or larger instances. Essentially the only thing that’s changed here is the time it takes to provision more resources: from weeks to minutes. The result is the same: more compute resources. Now you’re just spending more money – faster.

Your Challenge

How are you regularly testing and measuring the impact of application performance on your business? Do you know how to do this?

I’m absolutely obsessed with making software faster. Just contact me if you have any questions! I read every message 😄


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