Managing Capacity for Performance: How to Ensure End-to-End Scalability for Web 2.0 Applications

Traditional IT capacity management approaches that focus solely on the data center are outdated. Today's IT capacity management initiatives must address the entire Web application delivery chain, considering resources both within and beyond the firewall to ensure superior Web performance for best-case traffic scenarios. Here, Knowledge Center contributor Imad Mouline explains how to better manage capacity across the entire Web application delivery chain.


Modern Web 2.0 applications are "composites" that include content and services not just from inside the data center but from third-party service and content providers beyond the firewall. For example, a single composite Web 2.0 application may include shopping carts, search engines, user reviews or analytics which come from specialized, third-party service providers.

The average Web application of today comprises content and services from eight separate third-party providers, each of which can impact the performance (speed and reliability) of the user experience. In fact, external components make up an overwhelmingly significant portion of the time it takes for a user to download a Website or application.

Modern Web applications, which are more feature-rich and complex than ever, have created challenges for effective capacity management and planning; a more comprehensive approach is required. The stakes are higher than ever before, as user expectations for lightning-fast, rock-solid, reliable Web experiences reach new heights.

Consider that two seconds (down from four seconds just three years ago) is the new threshold that customers are willing to wait before growing frustrated, abandoning your Website and going to a competitor's Website. These demands apply not just during "normal" traffic periods but during peak traffic periods as well, when customers may realize your Website is likely inundated with visitors but they just don't care. For example, a recent study found that 67 percent of consumers expect Websites to work well regardless of how many visitors a Website may have at any given time. Plus, 78 percent will quickly switch to a competitor's Website if they encounter slowdowns, errors and transaction problems.