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Would you know if your cloud was slow?

Here’s everything you need to know.

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Image: KnowTechie

Speed matters. Whether it’s media sharing, downloading files, video calling, or any of a number of other tasks being carried out online, high internet speeds are crucial. Cloud applications are no different. 

In fact, expectations may be even higher than in some of these other areas because users know the kind of speed that local applications, stored on their hard drive, will run at and expect — with good reason — that a cloud app is going to run at comparable speeds.

Particularly if it’s a tool they’re going to be relying on in a big way, such as is the case with cloud apps used for remote working. Tools such as Cloud APM can help.

You don’t win friends with slow cloud apps

If an online service doesn’t live up to speed expectations, therefore diminishing the user experience, users may not stick around to find out if this is a one-off latency problem or a more permanent issue. This is borne out in study after study.

Walmart, for example, has found that every second improvement in web page load-time increases conversions (meaning the number of users who take the action the creators of a webpage or online service want them to take — such as filling out a form, clicking through to a product page, etc.) by 2%. 

Meanwhile, front-end-as-a-service company Mobify found that, for every 100 milliseconds improvement in the load time of their home page, their conversion rate increased 1.11%. Similar patterns exist when it comes to customer conversions on web apps impacted by slow response times.

These figures aren’t especially surprising: Imagine going to a coffee shop and finding a long line of people outside, thereby delaying your entrance. Sure, some people will be willing to wait, but others will decide it’s not worth it and move on with their day.

The longer the wait, the more people are likely to drop out. This effect is likely to be even more pronounced when it comes to the tools people rely on for remote workforces. A web app that is used infrequently is less likely to cause annoyance than one that is needed multiple times a day in order for you and your colleagues to get work done. With so many companies offering remote working solutions, a cloud app that dawdles is unlikely to retain customers over the long haul.

The visibility problem

But knowing whether or not your cloud solution is slow isn’t necessarily easy. How quick should a service be? And how do you find out about problems? 

Speed is just one of many areas of visibility that can be difficult in the cloud. There are multiple reasons for this, ranging from infrastructure controlled by the cloud service provider (CSP) to vendor-specific monitoring solutions to complex multi-cloud environments. All three can obfuscate cloud visibility in a way that makes it difficult to assess all important metrics such as this.

There is therefore a big need for cloud APM. Short for “cloud application performance management,” cloud APM refers to software that lets you monitor different aspects of your cloud application environment to ensure that it is delivering the performance, availability, and user experience you require — whether that’s public, private, or hybrid cloud environments. 

If cloud environments can sometimes lack visibility for users, cloud APM tools make up for this by presenting a single pane of glass dashboard to cloud administrators that allow them to easily view what is going on with their systems and network.

Because diagnosing a problem is only useful if you can do something about it, cloud APM solutions don’t just rapidly identify issues with cloud-based applications, but also help to resolve them and restore the applications to their optimal performance.

Why do applications run slowly

There could be multiple reasons for a cloud application running slowly. It may be a problem with resource availability, such as database requests hanging. Another cause of slow response times could involve network bandwidth or other resource issues. Still, another cause might be application errors or, potentially, traffic levels.

For example, a large number of users accessing a particular cloud application might sound like a positive from the perspective of the owner of said application. But if the cloud infrastructure lacks the scalability to cope with this surge inactivity, this could result in a suboptimal experience for users.

Knowing which of these causes (in some cases, just one; in others, it may be multiple) is the reason for your cloud application running poorly, and then fixing these issues, is essential. Reliance on the cloud, and cloud applications, is here to stay. Selecting the right tools to help you and your users manage this continued transition is one of the smartest business decisions you can make. Fortunately, cloud APM is here to help.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Chris has been blogging since the early days of the internet. He primarily focuses on topics related to tech, business, marketing, and pretty much anything else that revolves around tech. When he's not writing, you can find him noodling around on a guitar or cooking up a mean storm for friends and family.

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