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The Dos and Don'ts of SLA Management By Craig Lowell The past few years have seen a huge increase in the amount of critical IT services that companies outsource to SaaS/IaaS/PaaS providers, be it security, storage, monitoring, or operations. Of course, along with any outsourcing to a service provider comes a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to ensure that the vendor is held financially responsible for any lapses in their service which affect the customer’s end users, and ultimately, their bottom line. SLAs can be very tricky to manage for a number of different reasons: discrepancies over the time period being addressed, the source of the performance metrics, and the accuracy of the data can lead to legal disputes between vendor and customer. However, there are several things that both sides can do to get accurate and verifiable performance data as it pertains to thei... (more)

Heap Analytics: Automatic Tracking of Customer Journey

An Intellyx Brain Candy Brief There are many tools that track users as they interact with web sites or mobile apps. Such web analytics tools collect familiar metrics like page visited, browser used, time spent on a page, etc. Heap Analytics, in contrast, collects far more detailed and extensive information than today’s web analytics tools do – a big data problem that only recently has been practical to solve. Heap then combines this information with data from Salesforce, Marketo, and email and payment providers, giving its customers a full, real-time view of their customers. Heap then provides ‘non-destructive’ data virtualization, enabling analysts to gain insights from such large data sets without discarding any of the raw data. One important advantage: the ability to perform retroactive analyses on historical data, even for new queries that no one has run before.... (more)

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Performance Report 2017

Black Friday Weekend has come to a close, which means the dust has settled, deals were scored, and discounts redeemed. Every year, retailers try to lure more customers with enticing sales tactics; this year, retailers spread the holiday cheer with major deals and discounts that started before Thanksgiving. Ecommerce companies made big money from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday as consumers did not hesitate to take advantage of the huge savings offered all week. A rather well-organized and incident-free Black Friday and Cyber Monday managed to set even higher records in terms of sales and revenue. Adobe reported a growth of 16.9% in online sales on Black Friday compared to last year. Sales picked up even before the Black Friday weekend with retailers offering deals in advance; there was an 18.3% increase in sales on Thanksgiving Day. Highlight – Positive Performance ... (more)

Web Performance Monitoring and SEO | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps #WebPerf

Web Performance Monitoring and Its Effect on SEO Part 2 By Anand Guruprasad In Part I of this series, we examined the impact that SEO has on web performance. In this article, we analyze the performance impact of SEO within China and from the perspective of mobile sites. Mobile-first Strategy Back in November 2016, Google announced they were experimenting to make their index mobile-first. Google mentioned, “our ranking systems still typically look at the desktop version of a page’s content to evaluate its relevance to the user. This can cause issues when the mobile page has less content than the desktop page because our algorithms are not evaluating the actual page that is seen by a mobile searcher.” Google suggested the use of a responsive site or a dynamic serving site for a mobile-first transition. Some of the important aspects to consider while transitioning into a... (more)

The Impact of Web Caching | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps #Storage #WebPerf

The Impact of Web Caching By Alva Yashaswi Try to remember something that happened on your last vacation. How long did it take you to recall? Now, try to remember it again. You were probably able to recall it faster the second time — but, why? This is because as soon as you recalled the event the first time, your brain saved the information to your recent memory. The same concept applies to caching. Caching is a way of temporarily storing the contents of a webpage in locations near the user, similar to the way our memory works. There are several types of caching options available like database caching, application caching, and distributed caching. In this article, we’ll talk about web caching and how it affects user experience. What is web caching? Website developers use different techniques to optimize performance and improve speed. One such method is web caching, w... (more)

How to Detect Malicious Traffic in Your Server Logs: Sematext + Access Watch

Do you know what portion of your traffic comes from bots? Do you know which bots are good and which ones are bad? Do you know what the bad bots are up to? We all know Googlebot and consider it a good bot. It crawls your site and makes it possible for others to find you via Google. Great! What do you know about Mars? No, not the red planet – Mars is one of the top bad bots that’s probably going through your site right now. What about all the other bad bots? In the simplest case, they could be consuming your bandwidth, using up your server resources, and increasing your monthly bill. They could also be stealing your content, modifying your pages to include viruses, or performing other malicious acts. But while some bad bots are easy to spot, there are a lot more bad bots pretending to be regular human-controlled browsers, making them very hard to detect. This is whe... (more)

Has healthcare.gov Claimed “Mission Accomplished” Too Soon?

Over the weekend those in charge of Healthcare.gov have claimed "Mission Accomplished," that the site is now performing optimally, and will be able to handle 50,000 concurrent users. The healthcare.gov team also stated that if there happens to be a problem they have software in place to help get to the root cause. Any affected user will get a number in line and receive an email when they can return to the site. However, when we tried to access the site today with our Ajax Edition to see what changes have been made, we received the following error message. In fact as of this report there have been new indications that thousands of people are getting the error message. The question we have is "is this Mission really Accomplished?" Mission Accomplished? Doesn't look like it for those who want to find their health insurance It is only about the end user experience The... (more)

Common Web Application Security Vulnerabilities and Mitigation

Web applications are vulnerable to a multitude of security attacks. This exposes the underlying businesses and the consumer data to public view. However it is a common observation that web developers hardly take any preventive steps to secure their web applications. Most of the time web application developers focus only on authentication and authorization to secure the web applications. This may be a viable approach for designing an intranet application. However, for the Internet application, multiple programming practices need to be followed to prevent such attacks. This article details in brief the various security vulnerabilities web applications face and how they can be mitigated. Bypassing Input Validation Generally developers validate the user input using JavaScript validations. Once the information is sent to the server side, developers do not validate again,... (more)

CIOs' Top Priority: Analytics and BI

Whether as a driver for growth, a means to attract and retain customers, or a way to drive innovation and reduce costs, the business value of analytics and business intelligence has never been higher. Gartner's Amplifying the Enterprise: The 2012 CIO Agenda as well as IBM's Global CIO Study 2011 confirm this point, with analytics and BI setting atop CIO's technology priorities in both reports. Data Integration Is the Biggest Bottleneck Providing analytics and BI solutions with the data required has always been difficult, with data integration long considered the biggest bottleneck in any analytics or BI project. Complex data landscapes, diverse data types, new sources such as big data and the cloud are but a few of the well-known barriers. For the past two decades, the default solution has been to first consolidate the data into a data warehouse, and then provide use... (more)

Book Review: The CSS3 Anthology

The CSS3 Anthology by Rachel Andrews is subtitled instant CSS answers, how-to's, and examples. This subtitle clearly explains the goal of this book. The book consists of nine chapters. The first chapter is a quick review of CSS. The other chapters cover major topics such as text styling, image design elements, navigation, tabular data, forms and user interfaces, CSS positioning basics and CSS for layout. The topics in each chapter are laid out in the form of a question followed by one or more solutions and then a discussion explaining why that solution was offered. Here is an example of one of the questions: How do I remove the large gap between an h1 element and the following paragraph? I really like this book because it's a practical problem solver for everyday issues you encounter when designing web pages. It is especially useful for people just getting started ... (more)

Mobile Marketing, Business Analytics and Code Halos

In an article I published earlier this week, Digital Transformation, Code Halos, Analytics and Mobility, I provided an overview of the concept of Code Halo™.  The idea is that nearly all organizations, brands, products and people are surrounded by a halo of data.  Companies that recognize the value of code halos will develop new business models and IT systems to utilize these code halos to better engage with customers and prospects, deliver more relevant content and employ precision marketing and support campaigns based upon known interests and desires. Today I want to explore the role of mobile marketing and how it relates to code halos.  First, let's review the four basic elements of a "logistics of information" system that can derive value from code halos: There must be effective data collection strategies - Often in the form of mobile apps, loyalty programs and o... (more)