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Five Weaknesses That Kill App Performance

Performance issues are at the heart of why many apps don’t meet user expectations and die a slow death. While the user might see a single application, on the backend there are many moving parts that must align in order to deliver a consistent experience.

According to Forrester, nearly 60 percent of delivery challenges revolve around infrastructure-related performance issues.

Here are five performance weaknesses that impact the end user experience of any app:

1. Spinning wheels

What the user experiences: Long wait times to pull or process information, dragging down productivity.

The Aberdeen Group reports that corporate revenues dip almost 10 percent due to slow performance while a three-second performance boost yields a nearly 25 percent revenue increase. The average website or web app relies on eight or more different components (analytics and tracking, payment systems, site search, aggregated content, social networks, etc.), so a lag in any one piece can degrade performance for the whole application.

2. Application crashes

What the user experiences: After a crash users attempt to enter information on the website, it stops responding, doesn’t save entered data, and then requires users to invest more time re-entering data instead of moving on to the next task. This fiasco plagued the HealthCare.gov website and caused a flurry of negative media attention and loss of confidence in the system.

Crashes usually result in lost data and user frustration. An application can crash for a number of reasons, from overloaded processors, to a natural disaster sweeping across the country, to the Oprah-effect causing an unexpected traffic spike. A plan for scale, redundancy, and recovery with the appropriate infrastructure resources to support it is a must to ensure that a single failure doesn’t freeze up an entire app.

3. Under-tested enhancements

What the user experiences: A new feature is finally live in your app. It was tested for 400 concurrent users but today 800 users attempt to use it. They experience slow response times and sporadic crashes.

Launch time isn’t the time to find out that new features or application updates don’t work or cause bottlenecks. Because of limited resources for testing environments, many IT teams can’t execute the rigorous testing needed to flesh out potential issues. Once launched, the lack of thorough testing becomes evident in features that perform inconsistently, leading to a lack of confidence in users.

4. Storage deficits

What the user experiences: To add content to your CMS, a user needs to be registered. However, due to resource constraints, user data is only updated once daily, making the user wait up to 24 hours for access or to make account changes.

When storage capacity is tapping out, resources take too long to commit saves and feed data to other apps to process transactions. To keep up with ballooning data stores and the need for real-time analysis of that data, the IT team is straining its resources. Over a third of surveyed IT professionals report that it takes eight-plus hours to add new data targets – hours that could be better spent on high-value infrastructure improvements.

5. Cutting costs on performance

What the user experiences: Databases running on antiquated hard drive disk servers can’t update inventory changes quickly enough, causing inaccuracies in things like the online catalog. This creates a constant flurry of customer phone calls, complaints, and bad word of mouth.

As noted in an IDG report, from year one to year seven, per server support costs more than quadruple while failures and outages triple. More importantly for the life of your application, maintenance and support costs go through the roof. Costly upgrades that increase ROI, like moving to solid state drive servers or boosting content delivery capabilities, are often delayed in lieu of the cost to maintain existing, support-hungry servers.

How Rackspace Performance Cloud Servers Strengthen App Performance

  • On-demand scale for storage, test/dev, and unexpected spikes
  • High performing SSD-based server architecture keeps application components running at top speed
  • Expertise to help you plan, deploy, and optimize specialized infrastructure built for complex application workloads

Learn how other customers have increased performance and lowered costs with Performance Cloud Servers.

View Performance Cloud Server technical details and feature list.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Lizetta Staplefoote.

Lizetta Staplefoote is a Rackspace Marketing Copywriter with a decade of experience writing about small business challenges for healthcare, real estate, and technology. Her passion is researching and writing about the impact of cloud computing. When she's not wordsmithing, she enjoys hanging out with her sons, exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, and feeding her music addiction.


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