Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Mehdi Daoudi, Pat Romanski, Flint Brenton

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Mobile IoT

Microservices Expo: Article

Five Overlooked Factors of Mobile Application Performance

Why addressing them can help you triumph in the mobile arms race

Too often, little consideration is given to performance testing in the context of mobile application testing. We are reaching a tipping point in how consumers are accessing the Internet, with more than 50% of users expected to access the Web via a mobile device by the end of 2013. With this increase in mobile usage comes the need (really, a requirement) for organizations to meet an increased expectation in application performance.

As users demand the same experience whether they are accessing Web-based content from their smart phones, tablets, or laptop computers, the performance of your mobile application has never been more crucial to the performance of your bottom line. Not only are user expectations creating a need for better performing apps, your competitors are rushing to mobilize their apps, creating a sort of "mobile arms race" in which the loser risks market share, customers, and revenue. To effectively compete and meet user expectations, you need to ensure that performance testing is central to all aspects of your app development process.

Here are five overlooked factors in mobile application performance that, if addressed, will help your company triumph in, rather than be crushed by, the mobile arms race.

#1 Time to start addressing performance issues
When it comes to performance testing your mobile application, good things do not come to those who wait. The longer you wait, the more expensive it will be to fix any issues you uncover. It can be up to 100x more expensive to find and fix problems with your app after deploying to production than it is to address performance throughout the development process. But when in your design process should you start testing for and taking performance into consideration?  This is something you should be doing from the word "go". Build performance service level objectives (SLOs) into your development objectives so that QA and functional testing teams have performance goals. Once your SLOs have been established, testing, analyzing, optimizing, and validating those objectives early and often will save you from headaches and lost revenue associated with post-deployment performance nightmares.

#2 Instability of networks
You cannot control the network but you can control how your application will perform in the network. When testing app performance, many companies do so in isolation, under pristine network conditions. As anyone who has traveled, had a call dropped, service interrupted, or tried to connect to the network at a tech conference knows, network conditions change throughout the day and from location to location. Without taking this variability into account when testing your app, you will not have a clear sense of your app's performance in the real world. By planning for the variability of the network throughout the development life cycle and incorporating real-world network conditions into the testing environment, you will have a much better chance of deploying an app that performs up to your SLOs regardless of where or when it is used.

#3 Discovery
Know thy device. Know thy network. Know thy user. These discovery mantras will keep you focused on key areas of application performance. How will your app run on iPhone vs. Android, iPad vs. Kindle Fire, Verizon vs. AT&T, 4G vs. 3G, New York vs. LA, London vs. Tokyo? Each device, network, and location has its own set of limitations that you will have to account for as a developer. To get your app to meet SLOs, including varying geographic or user-specific SLOs, you have to test for each and every variable. With network, software, and device upgrades being introduced seemingly on infinite loop, it is necessary to continue this in-depth testing throughout the lifecycle of your app.

#4 Designing for performance
What makes a great sports car is twofold. First, it has to look fantastic. Second, and more importantly, it has to perform. Without world-class technology under the hood, it is not a machine, but art. The same principle applies to an app. It could have the most intuitive user interface design with an outstanding look, feel, and style, but all of that means nothing unless it performs. How do you do this? Consider performance as you design or code. Some critical considerations include being aware of cache space, reducing app turns by combining Java Script files, and placing a premium in your development process on optimizing data sent to and from the app. Make this an ongoing process even after app deployment because as new content is added, the structure and size of your site or app will necessarily change. Also, optimize your content. Different devices will display your app at different sizes and image qualities. Reduce the size of page graphics if needed. Remind your marketing department that even though the company logo does look better with more pixels, your customers are more interested in how fast the image loads, not how big it is. Balancing performance with design is a delicate issue but keep in mind that without this balance, a beautiful app that doesn't load fast enough is like a Ferrari with a Yugo engine. People will try it once but never use it again.

#5 Efficient Delivery Strategies
Not all content for your app has to be sent from your hosting location. By utilizing a Content Delivery Network (CDN), you can easily distribute dynamic content closer to your end users. This will decrease load time, reduce latency, and give users a better interactive experience with your site. For example, if your data is located on servers in San Francisco, users in London will experience greater latency than users in Chicago. By considering early on in the development process what content can be placed on a CDN and having already discovered locations of your end users, you will be able to provide users in remote locations with a faster time to first byte along with overall faster transaction times and increased performance. You also need to consider third party content that will be displayed on your site. Since you have less control over that content and its load times, be sure to, whenever possible, design your application so that it is less dependent upon such third party content.

What Does This All Mean?
Given that most companies are developing and deploying mobile apps not for fun, but to help their business grow, there is significant risk in overlooking these factors. In the mobile arms race, app performance is the new deciding factor in determining which companies profit and which lose customers. By addressing these five factors from the very first stages of mobile application development, you will place your company at an advantage over the competition. Not only will addressing them provide tangible benefits like saving time and money on fixing issues, it will also keep your company's reputation, public image, and customer loyalty in tact, important non-tangibles in a Twitter-driven world. So, plan for performance early, test for it often, and you will have a much greater chance of being victorious in the new mobile arms race.

More Stories By Mark Tomlinson

Mark Tomlinson is the Senior Director, Application Performance Engineering at Shunra Software (www.shunra.com), a Philadelphia-based company that helps firms worldwide ensure application performance and end user experience. He has 20 years of experience of real-world scenario testing of very large and complex systems. He is regarded as an expert and leader in software testing automation with specific emphasis on performance.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
Enterprises are moving to the cloud faster than most of us in security expected. CIOs are going from 0 to 100 in cloud adoption and leaving security teams in the dust. Once cloud is part of an enterprise stack, it’s unclear who has responsibility for the protection of applications, services, and data. When cloud breaches occur, whether active compromise or a publicly accessible database, the blame must fall on both service providers and users. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben Johnson, C...
Most of the time there is a lot of work involved to move to the cloud, and most of that isn't really related to AWS or Azure or Google Cloud. Before we talk about public cloud vendors and DevOps tools, there are usually several technical and non-technical challenges that are connected to it and that every company needs to solve to move to the cloud. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Stefano Bellasio, CEO and founder of Cloud Academy Inc., will discuss what the tools, disciplines, and cultural...
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...
With the rise of DevOps, containers are at the brink of becoming a pervasive technology in Enterprise IT to accelerate application delivery for the business. When it comes to adopting containers in the enterprise, security is the highest adoption barrier. Is your organization ready to address the security risks with containers for your DevOps environment? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Chris Van Tuin, Chief Technologist, NA West at Red Hat, will discuss: The top security r...
‘Trend’ is a pretty common business term, but its definition tends to vary by industry. In performance monitoring, trend, or trend shift, is a key metric that is used to indicate change. Change is inevitable. Today’s websites must frequently update and change to keep up with competition and attract new users, but such changes can have a negative impact on the user experience if not managed properly. The dynamic nature of the Internet makes it necessary to constantly monitor different metrics. O...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
The nature of the technology business is forward-thinking. It focuses on the future and what’s coming next. Innovations and creativity in our world of software development strive to improve the status quo and increase customer satisfaction through speed and increased connectivity. Yet, while it's exciting to see enterprises embrace new ways of thinking and advance their processes with cutting edge technology, it rarely happens rapidly or even simultaneously across all industries.
Many organizations are now looking to DevOps maturity models to gauge their DevOps adoption and compare their maturity to their peers. However, as enterprise organizations rush to adopt DevOps, moving past experimentation to embrace it at scale, they are in danger of falling into the trap that they have fallen into time and time again. Unfortunately, we've seen this movie before, and we know how it ends: badly.
These days, APIs have become an integral part of the digital transformation journey for all enterprises. Every digital innovation story is connected to APIs . But have you ever pondered over to know what are the source of these APIs? Let me explain - APIs sources can be varied, internal or external, solving different purposes, but mostly categorized into the following two categories. Data lakes is a term used to represent disconnected but relevant data that are used by various business units wit...
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
Today most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes significant work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reducti...
Many organizations adopt DevOps to reduce cycle times and deliver software faster; some take on DevOps to drive higher quality and better end-user experience; others look to DevOps for a clearer line-of-sight to customers to drive better business impacts. In truth, these three foundations go together. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 21st Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, industry experts will discuss how leading organizations build application success from all...
The last two years has seen discussions about cloud computing evolve from the public / private / hybrid split to the reality that most enterprises will be creating a complex, multi-cloud strategy. Companies are wary of committing all of their resources to a single cloud, and instead are choosing to spread the risk – and the benefits – of cloud computing across multiple providers and internal infrastructures, as they follow their business needs. Will this approach be successful? How large is the ...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
"NetApp's vision is how we help organizations manage data - delivering the right data in the right place, in the right time, to the people who need it, and doing it agnostic to what the platform is," explained Josh Atwell, Developer Advocate for NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...
One of the biggest challenges with adopting a DevOps mentality is: new applications are easily adapted to cloud-native, microservice-based, or containerized architectures - they can be built for them - but old applications need complex refactoring. On the other hand, these new technologies can require relearning or adapting new, oftentimes more complex, methodologies and tools to be ready for production. In his general session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, Solutions Marketi...
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Today companies are looking to achieve cloud-first digital agility to reduce time-to-market, optimize utilization of resources, and rapidly deliver disruptive business solutions. However, leveraging the benefits of cloud deployments can be complicated for companies with extensive legacy computing environments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, founder and CEO of Metavine, will outline the challenges enterprises face in migrating legacy solutions to the cloud. He will also prese...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real r...