Raising awareness with the Performance Monitoring Toolset
When Sappey first took over as Director of Engineering, one of his biggest initiatives for the team was building awareness for the engineering team. By encouraging engineers to be more aware of the code and also how users interact with the websites, Sappey predicted that engineers would make smarter coding decisions and deliver greater performance online.
“The Performance Monitoring Toolset was everything that I could hope for to bring awareness to our engineering team,” says Sappey. “It doesn’t matter how many calls, services, or pages are involved. The Performance Monitoring Toolset provides highly detailed, real-time reports that help us make decisions and solve problems before they affect customers.”
Previously, monitoring the complex environment could be time consuming and difficult. An engineer would need to pull together reports from across 30 servers and multiple services, stitch together data, and share the results with the engineering team. Since the process was so time consuming, engineers typically only dug into reports in response to complaints. Minor issues such as underwhelming application speed or occasional errors were not addressed promptly.
The Performance Monitoring Toolset constantly measures performance and alerts engineers to issues before they affect customers. Features such as auto-tuning allow Market America to develop a baseline for performance and watch for abnormalities. Before deploying the Performance Monitoring Toolset, the engineering team had noticed a minor performance issue on one site that caused occasional timeouts.
“We couldn’t pinpoint the issue,” says Sappey. “But when we checked the Performance Monitoring Toolset, it has already isolated the source down to the specific SQL database query. We were able to go to the SQL team with a detailed report with the exact run times and responses, which allowed the team to address it quickly. The result was faster and more reliable performance for our customers, without needing to spend hours staring at reports and trying to find the problem for ourselves.”
Sappey estimates that he spends 70% less time in meetings to discuss website issues. This is partially because the Performance Monitoring Toolset is constantly looking at code, sounding alerts, and making recommendations for his team. But it’s also because engineers are taking far more ownership of their code. With regular reports surfacing activity across the sites, engineers are more conscious of how users are engaging with sites and how their code is affecting users. This leads to more careful and efficient coding with fewer repeated mistakes.
“To me, the business intelligence we get from the Performance Monitoring Toolset empowers engineers,” says Sappey. “Engineers are learning how to create better code and improve the customer experience in less time. We’re catching errors earlier and spending less time fixing problems. This gives us even more time to develop innovative experiences for our sites or focus on training engineers to improve their ColdFusion skills even further.”