Top Issues Impacting Application Performance on the Cloud
What are the key reasons application performance takes a hit? This question often crosses the mind of an enterprise and cloud system manager. Eliminating or reducing the key factors that can have a negative impact on the application is crucial for large system builders. However, summarizing these factors is no trivial task. Most analysts would conclude that almost everything that makes up the system or touches an application either improves or degrades its performance. Sometimes, factors that degrade an application are the result of a compromise in improving functionality or providing ease of use that cannot always be avoided. Most of the application developed these days are complex by design and include multiple dependencies making it prohibitive to isolate a single factor that can be optimized. However, not everything is abstract or uncontrollable. Here, we discuss some key factors that can be fine tuned to achieve maximum performance.
The first issue with application performance begins during the design and implementation phase. In some settings, the focus is to deliver applications “that works” and performance is something that is left to be “fixed later”. Application quality and performance need to be built into the application design. Furthermore, once the application enters production, it becomes difficult to reinvent the wheels by replacing inefficient algorithms or improving sub-optimal SQL Queries.
Another reality is that only a few percent of agile releases are tested before the code is sent for production. Most organizations don’t have the time and resources to replicate real world environments which results in the fact that even the few releases that are tested are bench-marked in simulation labs and fail to perform in production. Considering frequent updates in the code base of an application every month, inefficiency tends to multiply with time if not properly checked.
Most applications are distributed by nature and often utilize an abundance of third-party components. These components are designed and tested in separate environments, and when made to work together, they become one of the biggest factors impacting application performance. Some of these components have dependencies that are harder to identify and track resulting in dynamic behavior. The increased system complexity due to multiple layers of databases, mainframe transactions, storage arrays and network components makes it even difficult to trace the dynamism in the performance of applications.
Some web applications rely on an average of 8 or more components ranging from storage server, social media integration, ratings and reviews section, shopping cart and payment processing system. Often a single component fails or lacks to perform taking the whole application down.
More applications are moving towards the cloud and remote application components which makes them dependent on the network performance. Inconsistent bandwidth, increased latency, network attacks and lack of scalability during peak hours are some of major bottlenecks in application performance. Some virtualized and mobile applications tend to rely most on the network performance that is severely affected by outages. Some other factors such as mobility, web browser, skilled workforce and management and the lack of complete active monitoring tools contribute to affecting application performance.
By Abdul Salam
He has recently co-authored: Deploying and Managing a Cloud Infrastructure: Real-World Skills for the CompTIA Cloud+ Certification (Wiley).