Velocity Workshop 90-Minute Optimization Life Cycle

The 90-Minute Optimization Life Cycle: “Fast by Default” Before Our Eyes?

Joshua Bixby (Strangeloop Networks), Hooman Beheshti (Strangeloop Networks)
1:45pm Tuesday, 06/22/2010
Please note:this is a workshop, for which there is an additional fee required to attend.
By now, we’ve all internalized Steve Souders’ rules for optimizing web performance, but the question is: do you need to spend 6 months and raise an army of top developers to make your sites fast by default? In this workshop, we’ll subject an unsuspecting website to real-time optimization, following Google and Yahoo’s rules for high-performance websites.

Over the course of the workshop, we’ll witness the entire optimization life cycle:

  • We’ll choose our guinea pig site and use various measurement tools to benchmark current performance, focusing on load time, start render time and round trips.
  • We’ll implement A/B segmentation to measure key business metrics like conversion, bounce rate and page views/visit.
  • We’ll iterate through acceleration best practices.
  • We’ll analyze results from different geographical locations using different browsers.

Sponsored By Strangeloop Networks

  • People planning to attend this session also want to see:
  • Psychology of Performance
  • Building Performance Into the New Yahoo! Homepage
  • A Day in the Life of Facebook Operations
  • Stupid Web Caching (and Other Intermediary) Tricks

About Joshua Bixby

Strangeloop Networks
As President of Strangeloop Networks, Joshua defines Strangeloop’s strategic marketing and product direction. Prior to founding Strangeloop, he co-founded and served as President and CEO of IronPoint Technology, helping lead the company to successful acquisition by The Active Network in 2006. Joshua also served as Senior Vice President, Marketing and Product Development, at NTS Internet Solutions, after having held senior marketing and product roles at MNK and GRAPAD.

Web site

About Hooman Beheshti

Strangeloop Networks
Hooman is a pioneer in the application acceleration space. In 1997, he helped design one of the original load balancers. Since then, he has defined and driven the development of load balancing, web acceleration, and application delivery products, while also leading the technical evangelism initiatives behind them. Prior to becoming Vice President, Product, at Strangeloop Networks, Hooman was VP of Technology at Crescendo Networks and CTO of Radware Inc.

Notes on Session

Funny presenters…they are using the “Cooking Show” approach for presenting the materials. They wrote a nice little blog on this presentation. Starts by talking about the 8-second rule from 1999. Then he talked about the 2 second rule from Forrester. He called it the “Barbie” Rule…everything needs to be pretty.

Visualizing the Problem
In the example we have a web performance problem. Front-end problem is getting worst in this example. They are increasing the size of data on the web. The visual he showed was based on 1995 to 2010 of the change of the web. He starts with a waterfall chart. It’s a 60+ http object chart. The page is 9.5s. The first 1 to 2 seconds is the page (backend request). The remaining 7 seconds is the actual front-end page requests.

I did a quick experiment on my Managed Hosting site. Sadly our home page took 7s to load. You probably can see it here. We have so many issues that still to this day we need to address:

  • No compression still of images
  • Need image optimization
  • Need to minify
  • Need to change the order of loading

Makes me think that we should put this behind our NetScaler and turn on compression. This is a good way to demonstrate the value of compression. We can turn on compression as well at the system level. That’s worthwhile from an experimentation perspective.

Random Note to Research this Project from Souders

Another random note: They showed video comparison of the screens as they load. It’s a capability on the web page test app. The screen goes gray when the page is fully loaded. It’s a cool idea…might want to do for BbWorld.

What They Optimized

  • Keep-alives and Compression made about a 6s difference
    • Keep alives reduced the connections from 97 connections to 19 connections
  • Caching: RFC2616, Section 13
    • Dropped from 10 to 5s for first page and 6 to 2s from second load.
  • Used a CDN for content
    • Got about 20% savings after adding the CDN
  • Reduce Roundtrips
    • Combine images, JS and CSS
    • Minify CSS and JS
    • Image Compression
    • Increase concurrency with more domain sharding
      • Is it possible for us to deploy sharding technique in our application architecture?
    • Went from 8.3s to 3.8s

Note to Self: OK…so I think Anand’s recommendation from a while back to consider StrangeLoop is something we should seriously consider.


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