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Mad About March Madness? | @DevOpsSummit #WebPerf #APM #Monitoring

Millions of fans around the world are expected to tune in to America's most-watched amateur sports tournament

Mad About March Madness? Performance Issues off the Court
By Mary Katherine Sullivan, PJ Stevens and Nick Welter

One hour before March Madness is about to begin, the CBS Sports app crashes. Per Twitter, college basketball fans across the country are freaking out, trying to get their last minute bracket changes completed before the first game begins.

Millions of fans around the world are expected to tune in to America's most-watched amateur sports tournament, and for many, competing with friends and coworkers to create a winning bracket is one of the primary appeals of watching.

March-Madness-Fail-3

Not only is the mobile app causing issues, but the CBS Sports website is also down, giving aspiring bracketologists no way to make any last-second updates. In this particular circumstance, the performance issues experienced by the mobile application and the website may have the same root cause, or alternatively, the slow response times in one of the applications caused users to flood to the other in droves, causing it to exceed peak load.

To the users of the app, the result is the same - they are unable to update their brackets, and thus, kick off the big dance with a feeling of disappointment. Next year, they might choose to select another app from ESPN or Yahoo! to manage their brackets. To the developers and testers who build these applications, there is one big lesson: performance testing and monitoring are key - especially around times of peak traffic.

Why It's Important to Monitor Your Site and Mobile Applications:

  • Real time monitoring and alerting of your critical API journeys allows you to know immediately of any functional or performance issues - often before user experience them.
  • Monitoring the performance of your site and APIs prior to a major event will enable you to set a baseline that aligns with performance expectations.
  • Setting performance thresholds from these baselines allows for early detection prior to a complete meltdown of your sites and APIs.

Why It's Important to Test your Web and Mobile Applications for Performance:

  • Generating synthetic load can help you test your application against multiple user traffic scenarios to match real-world dynamics.
  • The results of a load test give you in-depth insights into infrastructure performance, application behavior, and end user experience.
  • Using an intuitive, easy-to-use load testing tool like LoadUI (for APIs) or LoadComplete (for web-based applications) allows testers and developers of all stripes to get involved in performance testing.

At the end of the day, user experience is critical. 57% of people will abandon your website or app if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. In other words, you're likely to lose lots of potential customers. There's a massive opportunity cost associated with your website or application going down on the day that it's supposed to provide you with the most revenue.

Whether you're a media brand like CBS that has invested billions of dollars to be the ‘go-to source' for March Madness-crazed fans, or an e-commerce company looking to capitalize on the holiday season rush and sees major traffic increases on Cyber Monday - the key lesson is the same: don't let the success of your website or application be your downfall. Performance test beforehand to ensure your site and mobile app can handle the load, then monitor it just in case.

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As the leader in software quality tools for the connected world, SmartBear supports more than two million software professionals and over 25,000 organizations in 90 countries that use its products to build and deliver the world’s greatest applications. With today’s applications deploying on mobile, Web, desktop, Internet of Things (IoT) or even embedded computing platforms, the connected nature of these applications through public and private APIs presents a unique set of challenges for developers, testers and operations teams. SmartBear's software quality tools assist with code review, functional and load testing, API readiness as well as performance monitoring of these modern applications.

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