Mike Bailey

Speed Matters

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Velocity 2010Last week I lucky enough to attend O’Reilly Velocity 2010. In the heart of Silicon Valley, 1200 geeks assembled to discuss how we can make the web faster. We listened to techies from Amazon, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Firefox, Firebug, Chrome, and more talking about web performance and operations. The trip was worth it. Check out the videos.

Last night I had the opportunity to present a little of what I’ve learned about Web Performance to the Melbourne Ruby User Group. It’s clear from feedback that we care about reducing page load times and most of us have used performance analysers like YSlow. Folks appreciated metrics from Google, Amazon and Wikia that show a small difference in page load time (100ms) affects sales, abandonment and conversions. This kind of thing helps us make a business case to employers and clients for speeding up the web.

Australia is a “special place” network wise. The insane cost of bandwidth and services means many of us choose cheap hosting in the U.S. even when the majority of our users are in Australia. This means choosing increasing latency from ~20ms to >200ms. Latency affects TCP performance even more than most of us would guess. I’m currently looking into just how big a difference this makes.

Which leads to the next question, where are the great VPS and DNS services in Aus? Suggestions appreciated!

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