Due to the nature of our business, we require continuous operations with zero tolerance for network performance delays or downtime. Performance expectations are high for our IT team and network.
We rely on optimal network response times to our auction applications and databases to present, track, and sell plants and flowers as quickly as possible. As soon as one product is sold, we need to be able to showcase the next item immediately. Time is of the essence, and we can’t waste it with unnecessary troubleshooting steps.
In an auction clock environment, plants and flowers are brought into a room to be bid on by both in-person and online buyers. A database pushes information to the clock, which displays the product, quantity, price, and time left at auction. Bidders push a button to purchase flowers based on the price displayed on the clock at that particular time. As soon as the product is sold, a new product is displayed as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, we recently encountered a response time delay between the database and the auction clock. The delay slowed the clock display information by up to two seconds between each auction, which is far too long in our environment. We needed a mechanism to pinpoint the issue and determine if the root cause lay with the database, application, or network. That was easier said than done at the time, given our organization’s complex, homegrown databases and applications.
A delay of even a few seconds is unacceptable when we’re auctioning more than 50 million items each day to on-site and international bidders. Time literally translates to money, so we do everything possible to mitigate delays.
We evaluated multiple technologies before implementing a Visual TruView unified network and application performance monitoring and troubleshooting solution from Fluke Networks. We deployed Visual TruView to monitor and troubleshoot both our backbone and marketplace networks. The backbone network is made up of two core switches, two connected server switches, and five distribution switches. This infrastructure powers the organization’s home-grown applications and databases. The backbone network is connected to the marketplace network, which powers all auction bidding through numerous connections to in-person bidding devices and online bidding applications.
Visual TruView uses key data sets (including packet storage, application response time, transactional decode, NetFlow and SNMP) to highlight performance metrics through a single dashboard. The comprehensive overview of both network and application performance provides us with a clear picture of where issues originate across both our backbone and marketplace networks.
TruView tracks the networks and devices for all auction activities. It doesn’t make any difference what the issue is or where it originates, giving us immediate access across our entire infrastructure. The response-time savings are phenomenal.
We used Visual TruView to troubleshoot our delays between auctions. The solution monitored performance from the application data query across the network to the database and back. TruView immediately identified the database as the root cause, taking an extra second or two to process the query and respond. We optimized the database and fixed the problem without wasted effort scrutinizing the entire network and application since the issue was isolated immediately.
Visual TruView provides visibility into the our network, applications, and databases from a single solution so we don’t waste time unnecessarily pinpointing where issues originate. The result saves us two hours of accumulated delays each year, equaling €200,000 in annual savings, along with an improved image for our operations.