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Swarovski makes website sparkle with Compuware dynaTrace APM

Jewellery maker's online store front is now as shiny as its crystals

Swarovski, maker of cut crystal jewellery and fashion items, is using Compuware dynaTrace application performance management (APM) to ensure the smooth-running of its online stores.

Swarovaski started working with dynaTrace last year, before it was acquired by Compuware in July 2011, as part of an early access program. The company implemented version 4 of dynaTrace Enterprise edition, and has since upgraded to version 4.1.

During that time, Swarovski claims to have seen 80% better performance in back office apps, and 20% performance improvement at the checkout.

Ren Neubacher, team leader of eBusiness B2C operations at Swarovski, said that the company sells products in 24 countries and in six different languages, so working in multiple time zones and ensuring optimum performance is essential.

While Swarovski's IT department previously had good insight into the running of its data centre and networks, it was not able to monitor the experience on end-user clients. Neubacher said the company chose dynaTrace APM because it was technically up-to-date, easy to configure and had a dashboarding capability.

One of the first things Swarovski disovered was that its use of Javascript on the website meant that pages were taking a long time to load on some clients with low CPU or RAM. The company is now planning to phase out its use of Javascript.

It also discovered that checkout delays, which had previously been blamed on the payment providers, were actually down to a login problem. This could easily be fixed, resulting in a significant improvement in checkout times.

Meanwhile, its backoffice systems had been developed in-house, and suffered from long waiting times. Using dynaTrace, the company discovered that some database indexes were missing, resulting once more in a drastic performance improvement.

Neubacher said that, although these are "low-hanging fruits", dynaTrace has greatly reduced mean time to repair.

"In the early days I would have to go to development and say, here is a problem on the front end, and he would have to find out where in the code it's situated," said Neubacher. "Now I can drill down from the dashboard, find the right piece of code and then go to development and ask them to fix it.

"You avoid finger pointing - the fact that you really know where the error is means you don't have to guess. We are all talking in the same language."

As well as helping the IT department, dynaTrace has brought benefits for the whole business, according to Neubacher. The company has created dashboards that allow executives to monitor the traffic and transactions in different counties, and use this information to make informed decisions about future business strategies.

For example, dynaTrace showed that network latency issues mean that customers in Asia sometimes have to wait a long time for pages to load and transactions to process. Swarovski has therefore decided to implement a content delivery network (CDN) to service those customers better.

"It's a basis for big decisions," said Neubacher. "If we saw we were getting 200,000 visits a day from Russia, we could decide to make the next project a shop in Russia."

Version 4.2 of dynaTrace will be rolled out in the coming weeks, offering "zero configuration," meaning that it automatically discovers both cloud and virtualised instances and provides analytics for Big Data technologies such as Cassandra.

Neubacher said that Swarovski would be using the updated software to extend its online shops and introduce dynaTrace early in the lifecycle for load and functionality testing.


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