Swift Monitoring of Web Site Traffic

With the holiday season on the way, online merchants will be nervously watching for indicators of a Web site crash. A collapse could be devastating, with the possibility of an e-tailer losing up to $1 million in a flash because of one glitch.

Site monitoring is a useful way to track traffic and prevent crashes. If an operation seems to slow down, informed administrators can act to prevent an all out crash. Precise Software Solutions Inc. recently introduced a way to perform comprehensive monitoring and to ensure efficient use of existing hardware. The combination will help keep down the expense of adding new servers to the process.

All Internet transactions enter and pull data from a database. This is where Precise's Swift-e sits, monitoring every transaction, tracking what comes in and out, and checking applications to see what the response times are. Presently, Swift-e only works on Oracle databases

Swift-e doesn’t ask the Oracle database for statistics, says John McHugh, vice president of marketing at Precise. The product looks at memory and determines who is making a request, where the request is coming from, and what that request is. Swift-e then correlates the information into one performance event and checks it against how the request is consuming the database. Administrators can set thresholds so they can be alerted when an action exceeds a predetermined level.

"We're looking at the underpinnings, the infrastructure. There [is a] lot going on in terms of components and messages being sent," McHugh explains. "In the end, it always ends with the application and database on the backend. We don't measure response times, we talk about what resources on the backend are being consumed to satisfy that particular transaction."

As a business grows, receiving more online customers, the load can significantly increase. Another contributor to the load is the addition of new services. Suddenly it takes a lot more resources to satisfy one transaction.

Swift-e will pinpoint problems and suggest changes to achieve better performance. "One of the first things people do when there's a problem is say 'Let's buy more memory,'" McHugh says. "It may have nothing to do with memory. It will save a lot of time and money if you're not guessing at what the [problem] is."