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New accounting software performs poorly

Shortly after implementing new accounting software, management started to get complaints from users that it was much slower than the old application. With both application and web servers in the local server farm, it was simple to show that network issues were not the cause of the problem – but was the problem server related (which one?) or the application?

To find out, the network engineers focused on the communication between servers, capturing transactions by mirroring the traffic to a laptop protocol analyzer. They quickly realized that their analysis was hampered by the laptop analyzer dropping a significant number of frames, consequently missing much of the traffic. Efforts to filter out extraneous traffic were stymied by not being able to isolate down to one particular client’s session, as multiple sessions were occurring between the web and application server nearly simultaneously.

As a result, any analysis they did on the capture file would be potentially flawed. Using a hardware-based portable analyzer with the ability to capture traffic at gigabit line-rate and trigger on specific user input text strings, the engineers were able to focus on the relevant transactions and capture the required data.

After looking at the data capture in the analyzers’ application bounce chart, they realized that between each request there was a significant delay from the application server while it processed a request. This information was passed on to the server group, who examined and tuned server processes to remove the delay. Then, the engineers used the tool to verify the problem had been resolved from the end-user perspective, meaning users were getting the application response time they expected.