Posts Tagged ‘Website Monitoring’

New Aware Monitoring blog: One v.small step for man, one giant leap for us

August 7, 2009

Here at Aware Monitoring HQ we’re moving rapidly towards the beta of our new website/web app monitoring service. We’ve been very busy building the app. It takes longer than you want or expect to develop a web app. But that’s  quite normal. We released our launchpage six months ago.  Since then we’ve been very quite.  That’s about to change.

Apollo Launch

An Apollo rocket launch

We’ve set-up a new Aware Monitoring blog to keep you upto date with our final beta steps and launching the app. This will be our fifth blog: this one (obviously); Simon my co-founders home page and the blog – our adventure into the world of Enterprise 2.0.  Exciting times ahead!!


Website/SaaS downtime: bad planning or bad luck

July 17, 2009

Websites, SaaS and web apps do suffer from downtime and slowdowns. These problems can result in a loss of revenues, customers and even reputation. Amazon looses $310,000 for every 10 minutes of downtime!!  Can downtime be avoided?  Yes, it can. The root cause of most  slowdowns or downtime is bad planning. But very occasionally it is bad luck.

Dilbert Downtime

The root cause of downtime: Plan to fail or fail to plan..

Just as a new building requires good design so does the software and hardware foundations of  a new website/web app. Both buildings and web systems also need regular maintenance or they will break.  Everyone knows this, right. Unfortunately these basic principles are sometimes forgotten during planning and once systems are operational. The result is unplanned downtime or slow downs. According to Yankee Group:

The major causes of Web site downtime are both technical – such as power outages, network failure, application problems and lax security – and human – such as inadequate staffing and monitoring or a lack of recovery planning.”

Causality (cause & effect) is at work here. Downtime is the effect and the  caused is often from one or several of the following:

  1. Poor code or app Poorly written or design code causes downtime. It can also be a result of unsuitable platform or an app that’s been shoes horned into doing something it was not intended.
  2. Under capacity infrastructure – Hardware and software demands grow and change over time. One eye must always be kept on capacity and performance. Web infrastructure monitoring can help avoid this.
  3. Overloaded comms– This is probably the most difficult area to keep under control. You have to rely on a comms provider/ISP. So choose a good one. And don’t skip on the plan. If you do keep a eye on capacity. Website performance monitoring can help.
  4. Insufficient systems admin and management – Procedures and processes keep systems healthy and in tip top shape. Outsource it if you must. Again Website monitoring helps warn of growing problems.
  5. Bad luck – Multiple failures and failure of backup/contingency systems take websites down. At this point the disaster recovery plan should kick in. Unfortunately many people don’t have one of these.

The only point from the above list that can’t be avoided or planned for is Bad Luck. When website or web app revenues stakes are high why gamble with the chance of downtime or slowdowns. The blame for downtime often lies with poor management decisions. Corners are cut on resources. However as a business owner it’s a tough choice. Over architect and resources are wasted. Under architect capacity and your potentially setting up a problem for the future.

Related post:

The reality of website/SaaS downtime & slowdowns

The reality of website/SaaS downtime & slowdowns

July 3, 2009

As you can imagine the subject of website downtime/slowdowns is very close to my heart. Our startups new app monitors websites for uptime and performance. The full impact of Website downtime has just really hit me. This week part of The Pitch website frustratingly went down. On the same day the premier Web host provider Rackspace had a full hours outage which impacted many, many websites. These failures got me thinking. How common is downtime and what are the downstream effects for both ecommerce and SaaS apps/sites?

Downtime with the XXXX

Customers get angry when web pages are down. Don’t blame them.

Sh*t downtime Happens

As our good friend and Cloud Computing expert Simon Wardley says Cloud downtime is inevitable. Its going to happen. However that does not mean we should be complacent and accept it. Ecommerce consumers certainly aren’t. They’re increasingly less tolerant of downtime. The effects are real. A Harris survey in 2008 found that consumers abandon or switch 42% of all transactions when they have a problem. This is up 12% on 2007.

Also 84%  of online consumers share negatives  experience’s with others (Harris).  Many of these problems are technical and performance related. A reputation which took considerable effort to establish can vanish overnight. The downtime message spreads at the speed of light through Twitter across 10’s millions of users. You can become known for being unreliable.

I’ve done some routing around to find evidence of how common website downtime is. According to Pingdom the average website is down for two hours per month!! That could be alot of visitors or customers lost. Sainburys, a leading UK supermarket, website was down for three hours during one day last year and at various other times. A large number of customers were tracked immediately moving from Sainburys to a competitor.

Downtime costs

Back in 99′ Ebay’s 22-Hour outage was estimated to have cost them $2 Million. The Register figured UK  Website downtime to cost £565m a year in 2002. This included “indirect costs, such as loss of reputation, lost future sales and the cost of storing unsold goods”. Harris says (2008) transaction problems impact £11.9b of sales. The impact of downtime has other downsides. Google penalizes your long term Ads Quality Score when your site or landing page is down.

Despite the interruptions the outlook remains very strong for ecommerce and for other web services.  Cloud/SaaS is forecast to grow massively over the next five years. IDC are saying upto 33% of IT spending growth by 2013!! This growth includes many of the free services such as Gmail, Facebook, etc which we have come to love. As Cloud inertia grows more and more chargeable apps are going to switch to the web.

A very similar downtime and slowdown reality to ecommerce also applies software-as-service (SaaS) apps. Only the churn rate of customers is slower i.e. SaaS users/consumers are on short term billing contracts. The effect is not a immediate loss of sales. Unless they are trying to sign up of course. However the resulting loss of sales and reputation is the same. The Cloud and SaaS apps have much to learn from ecommerce’s 15 years of experience. And ecommerce still has a long way to go.

Related Post:

Website/SaaS downtime: bad planning or bad luck

Aware Monitoring: The startup formally known as Viisys

May 22, 2009

When we set out on our startup journey we didn’t know what we were going to make. So we named our company Viisys, which is an abbreviation of Seven Systems (seven being in the roman numerals VII). The seven (vii) means the 7th step of enlightenment and Sys refers to Tech systems. Seven is also a lucky number but who needs luck?

Moving the clock forward  we have been enlightened and our new website monitoring app, Aware Monitoring will be released later this year 🙂 We’re now ready to change our name to reflect what our service does i.e. monitoring. We will now trade and be known by our product name, Aware Monitoring and not Viisys. This change of identity is not unusual. Our good friends Andy and Ali at started out as Ninian Solutions and now trade as Huddle.


Simon, my co-founder, recently posted that its really exciting to see our branding coming together. To complete the brand switch over I’ve now changed company name on my LinkedIN profile and email footer to Aware Monitoring. I’ve also removed the ‘About’ page on this blog and updated the ‘Who am I’ without reference to Viisys.

These changes have also been a chance to update my ‘about/Who am I’ as they felt a little ‘corporate’ and unfriendly. A summary bio is now also on the front page. Hopefully you’ll agree that the new blog bio is more straight forward and friendly.. Here’s the old version:


Innovations including the internal combustion engine, electricity and the Internet have radically changed our lives. I am interested in one thing and that is change, love it or hate it change is inevitable.

Market innovators and entrepreneurs drive business change through marketing strategies. We can only speculate on what the future holds, so join me on this journey to uncover how new software technologies may change the way we work and live.

This blog is for for marketers, technology innovators, fellow entrepreneurs and anyone else interested in new social media technologies and how they are affecting businesses and organisations.

The blog was formed by Nick Barker in 2008. If this is your thing subscribe to the feed and stay in touch.

Who am I

Having worked in the IT industry for 20 years I have seen many innovations and much change from the very early days of the IBM PC through to the growth of global outsourcing and today the rise of social media. My experience ranges from working in small owner manager firms to global software giants in a variety of sales, pre-sales and product management roles.

Today I run a start-up, Viisys, technology company with my co-founder Simon Oxley based at the University of Nottingham incubator facilities. We have just released a central website,, to inform firms of the value of Enterprise2.0 technologies. For more information check me out at LinkedIN or my firm Viisys at

And you can see the new one over to the right..