Raise your hand if you’re nostalgic for the days of waiting for web pages to load. That’s right, the days of going to make coffee while you wait for Netscape to load pictures of your five-year old niece’s birthday party on Geocities.

We’ve come a long way since the “World Wide Wait” and thankfully today we take for granted instant access to high bandwidth services such as video and browser-based SaaS.

Well, the good folks at Google want to speed up the web even more, and are using their pulpit to get the industry to make the web faster. Their focus on improving web performance centers around four areas for improvement:

  • Web pages are slow due to suboptimal use of Javascript, CSS, compression, etc.
  • Web servers are often not optimised for speed
  • TCP, HTML and other protocols, designed 10+ years ago, do not meet today’s requirements
  • Users are not using the latest set of speed-enhanced browsers

While addressing these four issues will go a long way towards improving performance of access to rich media and on-demand applications, it misses the mark for what’s needed to improve performance for web based services that are built upon a multi-tier architecture.

Business applications, e-commerce applications, and enterprise portals are typically deployed with a complex set of tiers behind the web server through which transactions flow. It is vital that business look behind the scenes to establish where issues are occurring in order to iron out performance issues. But this is often easier said than done.

We undertook some research earlier this year that showed two thirds of IT managers are being blinded by the complexity of their management environments. Oftentimes they have so many tools for managing each different application that it causes more problems than it solves. In fact, the research showed that while two thirds are using more that three management applications, 16 per cent admitted using more than five.

In order to truly be able to improve the performance of web based services, business must have a single management approach with a transparent view of the transactions taking place on all their applications.

The value of this Business Transaction Management (BTM) is the visibility it provides into all transactions across all tiers–from the clients and web servers, to the application servers, load balancers, databases, mainframes, authentication servers, message busses, ginsu knives, and any other tiers in the environment—in order to optimise the flow of these transactions.

By enabling clear visibility with BTM, businesses can pinpoint not only the application causing latency but also the specific area within this causing the issue. Resolution times are therefore vastly reduces and IT managers can focus less on fault finding and more on problem solving.

Google’s primary focus on streamlining the flow between the browser and the web server may serve the needs for many consumer web applications (think faster YouTube and Google Docs), but ignores the needs of businesses that are working to improve the performance of their transaction flows end to end.

While we laud Google’s efforts to speed up the web, it seems to us another example of how perhaps a different approach is needed for web enabled enterprise applications.

Colin Rowland is Senior VP EMEA at OpTier