Website and Network Stress Monitoring

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Website and Network Stress Monitoring
By Vadim Mazo and David Leonhardt

In today's world, organizations are fast accepting the web and related applications as part of their overall business strategies. They understand that the Internet provides them with the potential to target a very focused set of customers spread across a very diverse geography.

For a successful Internet presence, it is important that the web server and web applications are reliable, scalable and always available, irrespective of traffic volumes to the site.

To achieve this, you must test all your hardware and software using tools to check your website, usually called web stress tools. These tools should ideally be used even before the site is on the World Wide Web. They can provide a reasonably good estimate about the performance of your website and a company can identify issues before they arise.

Such issues might include slow response times while opening the website, a limited number of users able to simultaneously browse the website, or a cap on the number of requests that can be handled by a processing application. Based on the results, a webmaster can identify the bottlenecks and take corrective actions before they result in lost sales.

What does Website stress testing do?

Web stress testing provides performance reports for varying elements. For example, users might be complaining that your shopping site is taking ages to load and most search results are showing errors message. Using a web stress tool, you can check the performance of your web server. To your surprise, the CPU utilization on the Server may be just 20%. But if you are also monitoring the database application, you might find that it is already running at 100% and is the most likely reason for poor performance.

Stress tools can be deployed as software solutions where you can monitor the key components of your servers such as the CPU, memory and hard disk utilizations. They are built with user- defined alerts that can be triggered if a particular parameter crosses a threshold set by the user. As an example, you can configure an alert that must be generated whenever the CPU utilization crosses the 80% mark. Although this is helpful in identifying system bottlenecks, the results are limited to web servers that are connected to your internal network.

If the target audience is across the globe, or even across the country, a company needs to monitor its website and applications stress loads from different locations across the globe. The web server must provide reasonable performance from wherever customers are located. In such a situation the software solution is unlikely to meet the company's requirements.

Organizations must use external website stress monitoring tools, which provide detailed performance reports on servers that are tested from different locations. The outcome of these tests can help in fine-tuning the settings at their ISPs and in optimizing performance of the servers. Besides this, external stress testing also include monitoring of other network infrastructures that connect to the web server, such as routers, firewalls and leased lines that provide the back-end connectivity.

This is why Dotcom-Monitor's stress test tool (http://www.dotcom- ) offers its clients stress test agents located in various countries such as the USA, UK and Germany. This service provides performance data about the website from these and other locations spread across the globe.

So if you run a business on the Internet, it is important that your website and all associated web applications perform to their optimum levels. They handle transactions quickly and in turn offer faster response times to your user requests. Using web stress services you can get information you need to ensure superior throughputs and gain a reputation for high-performance dependability among your customers.


Vadim Mazo is CTO of Dotcom-Monitor
David Leonhardt is a website marketing consultant:
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