As a leading vendor of cloud-based application performance management (APM), Compuware Corp. has its fingers on the pulse of global web services. Its Gomez Network SaaS platform monitors and collects data from more than 150,000 customer locations, more than 8 billion data points a day.
Now, the company is using that treasure trove of data to give everyone a view to the performance of third-party Web, mobile, and cloud providers. Outage Analyzer is a free service that gives a real-time visualization of outages and anomalies within five minutes of their occurrence. This information is valuable to anyone who depends on third-party Web service providers, and that’s nearly everyone who does business on the Web.
The reality is that businesses are hosting less and less of what gets delivered on their websites. On average, customers of Compuware’s Gomez service use eight to 10 different hosts make up their customer’s web experience, according to Colin Mason, senior product manager at Compuware. “When one of those hosts goes down, it’s not the third parties that get blamed,” he says, “it’s the site they are visiting that gets blamed.”
Some sites use far more hosts. The average U.S.-based sports sites, says Mason, use 29 different hosts. “All of those pieces are coming together for first time in your browser. You need to have a handle on how all those services are performing.” In one day of test data, Compuware found its customers relied on 1,500 different shared services. On that same day, there were 100,000 failures in those servers, says Mason. Some were relatively minor, such as failure to deliver a Web ad, but the volume underscores the need to have good data on the performance of third-party web services.
Outage Analyzer is a self-learning system, says Mason. As it gets more data over time about incidents or which customer apps use which services, it can more accurately and more quickly pinpoint the cause. It can also track progression of large-scale failures or their recovery down to the service provider IP addresses affected. Outage Analyze provides a map showing the geographic areas affected by each event.
Within five minutes of an anomaly or outage occurring, Outage Analyzer can create a visualization of the event and send out an alert with a probable cause of the event. As it gathers more information, the statistical certainty of the cause of the event increases. Businesses can use this information to, for example, pinpoint performance issues on their website or initiate failovers processes more quickly.
“Outage Analyzer will always be free,” says Mason. In the future, Compuware will offer more advanced features as part of its paid services to its customers that will allow them to be more proactive when an event occurs.
Compuware is an example of a company that is capitalizing on its access to large volumes of proprietary data. By creating a way to publicly access and visualize that data in a meaningful way, the company has unlocked its value. In the process, it has created a great marketing tool for its APM services and a potential new source of revenue.
Michael Nadeau is publisher of Data Informed. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @menadeau.