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Minimizing Performance Risks in the Cloud

Takeaways fromPerformance Optimization on a Cloud-Centric World

Something that made me grin when I opened Andy Still’s “Performance Optimization in a Cloud-Centric World” was its dedication, “For Candance, who insists that all poor performance on the Internet is my fault.”

Hidden inside the joke is a kernel of truth. When visitors come to a website with a performance problem — be it availability, speed, security issues, or whatever — they don’t see it as an Internet issue. They see it as a website issue. But when you move to the Cloud, or take advantage of Cloud services such as AWS or CDNs, those third-parties’ performance issues suddenly become your performance issues. In fact, the problem goes deeper, as those third parties probably have relationships with other solution providers, and there’s probably no way you have insight into the health of all the Internet links between you and your customers… until something goes wrong.

Loss of complete control over your website’s performance is one of the major “gotchas” slowing businesses’ move to the Cloud, and Still’s “Performance Optimization in a Cloud-Centric World” points out some risks to your site’s performance created by this loss of control. Happily, Still also spends the bulk of the book on methods to identify and then mitigate those risks.

If You Can’t Control It, Monitor It

Still notes that it’s vitally important that you understand what’s going on with your website, especially the parts that you don’t control. Cloud, Application Monitoring, and CDN Monitoring tools are all valuable as part of an infrastructure management toolbox, to manage the Cloud / CDN / app services you might be using. But typically, these tools are focused on one technology, one vendor.

To complete the picture, customers need a complementary tool that monitors the Internet itself.

How to Minimize Performance Risks in the Cloud

After looking at a variety of monitoring tools, such as RUM, APM, and Network Monitoring, Still explores how to minimize performance risks, including tips to pick a best-of-breed DNS provider, why caching content as close to users as possible will help maximize performance, and how you can ensure you can handle any network failure that might occur.

Typical of an O’Reilly book, Andy Still’s “Performance Optimizations in a Cloud-Centric World” packs a lot of content into a very readable operating on getting the best performance from your Cloud infrastructure. The book is available free of charge, compliments of Dyn, and I encourage anyone interested in optimizing Internet Performance to download it today.

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