Discount Dance Supply (DDS) is the world’s largest dancewear retailer. The company started with a single store more than 40 years ago, and now has transformed into a leading multi-channel retailer. As DDS business grows, their environment and infrastructure grow, and it’s critical they equip their databases to scale dynamically.
For Chief Technology Officer, John Miller, and his team, high-performance starts with metrics and analytics, used to establish goals for site performance. According to John, DDS set a goal last year that included a 500 millisecond increase in speed. To accomplish this, he knew that he needed better visibility into what was impacting site performance and, specifically, deeper insights into query activity: how they interacted, the number that executed, and the way they impacted latency and site performance.
"With these tools, I can say 'hey look, we’ve reduced our response time and user response time by 500 milliseconds over the last six months', and this has resulted in an increase in conversion rate."
—John Miller, Chief Technology Officier
APM and VividCortex Side-by-Side
DDS discovered that using a combination of APM tools and VividCortex’s proved to be the ideal combination, as it provided an aggregate view of system performance and deep drill down into the database layer. The high-level view displayed any spikey application behavior, while VividCortex provided the granular analysis necessary to uncover the root cause of the problem — often at the database layer.
"VividCortex allowed our team to peel-the-onion,” John said, “to isolate poorly performing queries and systematically uncover the source of a problem, replacing gut feelings and intuition with hard performance data, down to the individual query."
Better Process, Better Results
The DDS team supports a standard LAMP stack of MySQL, PHP, and Linux, which requires many members of the team to wear multiple hats: they must develop application code as well as maintain the database. The team discovered that when everyone adopts VividCortex and performance monitoring into their daily routines (code pushes, upgrades, and maintenance), new insights naturally emerge.
Maintaining App Stability and Performance
The DDS team uses VividCortex’s Profiler for daily monitoring of their databases and to evaluate the performance of new code pushes. For daily system performance reviews, they access the Profiler to sort queries by average latency and look for high latency queries, typically over a two-day period to see if any new issues have emerged. Developers use the tool to determine the impact of changes they have made, before pushing to production. They may filter by a specific query to see if it is operating as expected or triggering other performance issues. This filtering process helps them pinpoint inefficient areas of code or queries that could cause issues in the future. This continual process of monitoring helps DDS ensure the stability and performance of the application.
"We really wanted to get more detailed in our monitoring and analysis of our applications. We always used internal tools but were more seat-of-the-pants in our approach. We wanted to formalize our solution."