Gomez's Performance Network 6.0

This Internet application monitor displays real-time performance stats and collects data to project your future needs.

April 22, 2005

4 Min Read
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GPN always has its stopwatch in hand, collecting data regarding times for connection, DNS lookup, first byte, SSL layer and content download. In fact, data is collected on every object on every page tested. Checks are performed from strategically placed monitoring engines found on 60 Internet backbone points of presence and 8,000 broadband and dial-up sites around the world. Performance data collected is displayed centrally in the form of Web views and e-mail reports.

GPN has improved its diagnostic capabilities by holding onto the HTML that precedes an error--it backtracks to see what happened prior to an error. Also new: Gomez's proprietary agent can be placed on the private side of your network. And GPN 6.0 comes with a performance dashboard for real-time monitoring.

Dynamic Dashboard

I hooked up GPN by linking to the product from the Gomez Web site. The dashboard's real-time, online performance display is a significant improvement. In the old days, when a performance threshold was crossed, you received an e-mail message with a link to the Web site, and only after logging in could you see the details. Now, besides the e-mail, you have an always-available display. The dashboard shows the availability and performance of Web pages from a number of customizable points of view. I created custom views of individual tests, and combined tests and locations to show specific views, such as performance by region. The test results began to appear immediately. This isn't always the case with other services I've tested--they can take hours or even days to show results.


• Dashboard displays real-time performance stats• Error-page capture helps determine root cause of problems


• Error-page capture navigation needs a tune-up• Pricing difficult to understand

Gomez Performance Network 6.0, contact vendor for pricing. Gomez, (877) 372-6732. www.gomez.com

Dashboard icons show current status of an app or Web page. In my tests, a red icon indicated a Web page loading more slowly than the desired threshold. Clicking on that icon revealed a scatter graph showing performance stats for the time period responsible for turning the icon red. Earlier versions of GPN sent alerts when a page failed to load, but without much detail. A new error-page capture saves all the pages leading up to a failure and displays what didn't work plus what did and why.

I tested this by recording a group of pages in sequence using the Gomez Script recorder. I checked for invalid content so an error would occur. Results were displayed indicating what test failed and why. From a split window I could view the failed page rendered (as it would be seen by site visitors) or as source (with its code showing as a developer would see it).

I also tested a beta of Gomez's Private Peer agent, a version of the GPN Universal Testing Agent designed to be used on private networks. 

Bruce Boardman, executive editor of Network Computing, tests and writes about network and systems management. Write to him at [email protected].

When I tested GPN 6.0, I also looked at a beta of Gomez's new Private Peer agent, a version of the GPN Universal Testing Agent designed to be used on private networks--places where GPN doesn't usually reach, such as a point-of-sale unit or kiosk. Private Peer agents are directly downloaded and updated from Gomez over HTTP or HTTPS to the test location or can be downloaded and redistributed within a private network. The data collection and reporting functionality is exactly the same for these private agents as it is for regular GPN monitoring engines, in as much as the data is collected by GPN and viewable from the agent and dashboard, but the tests and results of those private agents are available only to the enterprise deploying those agents.

I downloaded an agent and installed it in the lab. It took a few minutes to record our account info and optional user-defined fields. I jumped back to the GPN to configure the newly added agent into some tests. It took just a few minutes.

Private Peer agent groupings are flexible. The groups define target populations through a statical definition of particular agents or dynamically from user-defined fields. For example, by creating user-defined fields, such as "Machinery Hall Lab," "Green Bay Lab," and " Florida Lab," any added agents that match these strings will be added to these groups.

Further, the connection to the agents within these groups doesn't require that all the agents in the group be available at all times. You define a number of agents for GPN to select for each test. This way you get a variety of combinations across a wider population of agents, which strengthens the performance data reported on. The reports are further customizable--you can create subsets or supersets of agent groups by region, bandwidth, agent group or specific agent.

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