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Performance

DoubleClick Outage Underscores Web Complexity & Need for Automation

DoubleClick’s major outage last week had implications beyond shutting down a revenue stream for online media applications. It also impacted the performance of some major media outlets, and even brought some down entirely.

This is a classic example of third-party tags going unmanaged.  Since most ads are served by networks like DoubleClick, they are enmeshed with proprietary content and code.  This doesn’t mean they necessarily have to affect the performance of rest of the app — but they often do, thanks to lacking optimization and due diligence. This turns these third party tags into single points of failure for thousands of websites.

The web is too complex for manual application optimization

It’s easy to wag your finger at organizations when there are clear best practices for preventing this kind of failure. We’ve made the case for taking these steps a number of times, for example when Facebook had a big outage last year.  And it’s true, some businesses have a longstanding culture of diligence around such practices (not to mention large teams).

But this problem goes beyond poor IT management or indolent developers. For online applications with dozens of third party tags per page and tens or hundreds of thousands of pages, it’s not feasible or reasonable to expect flawless integration. The resources required for developers to manage the process (and others like it) would render unprofitable many online businesses that already operate on tight margins. It doesn’t help matters that responsibility for the web application is usually spread across multiple teams and even different departments.
That’s why organizations now need services to handle optimization at scale. At Yottaa our approach to this issue has always been to bring automation and code-free implemenation to application optimization. With our solution organizations can ensure that third parties are integrated safely and do not execute blocking behavior — even setting them to lower priority or conditional loading based on user interaction.  These rules are implemented instantly, and can be adjusted at any time.

Some have noted that with all the complexity of today’s web it’s a wonder that web and mobile applications are delivered as consistently as they are. But they are still far from perfect, a fact that’s is laid bare when industry leaders like Google and its high-end advertising clients are brought down at a single stroke.

The web’s only going to grow more complex and more deeply entwined.  Automation will prove the only way to handle it.

Photo courtesy of Aristocrats-hat on Flickr


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