November 6, 2013

Big Data at Verizon Digital Media Service: Visualizing performance for a faster, stronger web

“Building a Faster and Stronger Web” sounds like the perfect description for what we do at Verizon Digital Media Services. In this case, however, it is the tagline of Velocity Conference in New York.

This year, our Chief Architect Rob Peters, was invited to speak at the conference about Verizon’s contribution to a faster, stronger web. Rob’s topic: How visualization can help detect bugs, and ultimately, improve performance.


This intro slide from Rob’s presentation plays on the notion that in web performance, you can’t fix a problem until you can reproduce it (described well by Mehdi Khalili on his blog).

This means that understanding, not fixing, the bug is the hard part of tackling a performance issue. Once you have found a way to visualize and understand a problem, solving it is significantly easier.

Rob shared the following two basic principles for laying the groundwork for effectively visualizing and improving performance:

  1. Measure everything so you can not only avoid regressions, but also find opportunities to optimize performance
  2. Don’t ignore your outliers — they might point at a significant yet undetected problem

Watch these two short excerpts from Rob’s talk to see how Verizon uses visualization to detect, understand, and fix problems to increase our network’s performance:

1. Performance maintenance of http cache/proxy

2. TCP stack monitoring and optimization

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