Ever visited a website to purchase a product and had to wait for a long time before the checkout page came up? Ever waited a long time before a product search completed on a e-commerce site? Did you ever returned to that site? If you have ever experienced this the changes are great that you did not return to purchase something again from that website. The change is also great that you even aborted your purchase. And you will not be alone in this, hundreds or even thousands of customers every day get disappointed at the speed of some e-commerce websites. Those websites can provide the best products around or they can even represent the best brands, as the performance of a website is not expecting the demands of a visiting customer you will most likely lose this customer to the competition.
The financial loses of loosing customers due to under performing it systems can be enormous and even deadly in some cases. It can harm your brand in such a way that it will lose market share. For this reason companies do apply systems to measure system performance. Most of those systems monitor the health of your system. They will look at memory use, CPU utilization, network bandwidth. Some companies do probe the website from a inside or outside location and let bots crawl there website and report response times back to the IT department. All good things you should do, you should be aware of the health of your system and you should be aware if your site is till available to the outside world. However, measuring your system performance is not saying anything about how quick a page request is send to the customer who requested the page. And measuring one or more pre-defined click paths into your website from a outside location is not saying anything about the real performance a customer is experiencing.
To tackle this problem you should be looking at the speeds your real customers are experiencing. Oracle has developed Oracle Enterprise Manager Real User Experience Insight as part of the Oracle Enterprise Manager 10G stack. Oracle Enterprise Manager Real User Experience Insight or OEM-RUEI will capture, analyse and report on real customer experience by 'sniffing' network traffic. It will look at the requests send to your webserver and the response send back. So when a customer asks for somedomain.com/index.html the customers browser will send a get request to the webserver running the somedomain.com domain. The webserver will send the request back and OEM-RUEI will detect the time that the request leaves the companies network and is at the customer. The time between the get request and the moment the response is send back over the network is the real time the customer is also experiencing.
This way you can see what the real times are, if customers abort transaction and what is really happening in the eyes of the end customer. This will be of more value to indicate if a customer is having a good experience. if you see that the response times are getting up you can look more into the details and this is when the measuring of your CPU, memory and bandwidth of your server come into play in combination with the analysis of your network switches, routers and such. So all tools in the market have some value and all have a place in analyzing the performance of a website, however in my opinion OEM-RUEI is such a valuable tool that if you are running a serious website you should consider looking into this.