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Can Web Service Companies Do Without 24x7 Dotcom-Monitor support?

 The background

Enterprises worldwide have embraced ‘Web services’ as the preferred middleware technology for integrating their Web-enabled, e-business applications. Hundreds of Web service sites offer very useful services that provide essential components for running B2B or B2C e-business applications. Many enterprises outsource items ranging from security services for their plants and offices to outsource packing and forwarding, or even cleaning services. Specialized Web service companies provide the latest exchange rates for any combination of the 100+ countries they cater to. Web service companies have hundreds of B2B or B2C e-commerce/e-business clients who need their services (on a 24x7 basis) for running their non-stop global businesses.

Some examples of Web services include:

    * Providing access to FedEx tracking information by taking a tracking number and returning shipment status from FedEx

    * Credit card maintenance and management

    * Providing authentication

    * Returning real-time flight information for flights in the air, given an airline code and flight number, using current information from online service.

    * Calculating and providing postage requirements in any currency

    * A monthly lease payment calculator service

    * Sending text messages to mobile phones, when provided a list of countries and their international dialing codes

    * Providing Internet time

    * Retrieving news headlines from sites like CNN, CBS, or MSNmoney and supplying them to news portals

    * Providing up-to-the-minute sports updates to various channels

    * Offering Web site management system by providing 100+ functions

    * … and many more!

Vital Issues involved in Web services business

As Web service companies integrate with hundreds of important B2B/B2C clients, they become vital components in hundreds of billions of dollars of international trade and e-commerce, manufacturing, and service business. Since a transaction cannot be completed without their service input, any disruption of service, delayed response, or system error could spell disaster and incalculable loss from deferred shipments, cancellations, and even business operations stoppage. Thus, it is imperative that Web services work correctly and efficiently every time.

Web service companies therefore must consistently perform within acceptable framework. There is little margin for error. That is why Web service companies typically have SLA agreements signed with clients for proper functional and performance delivery. Any deviations could mean attracting censure, penalties, or both.

What must be done to prevent exposure?

Clearly, automatic and constant monitoring of the functionality and performance of a Web service site is necessary. This website monitoring should not only check that correct functionality is delivered, but also, how efficiently it is being delivered. If the turnaround time is consistently beyond the SLA norms, it must be recorded and the service company notified of the anomalies, so that the company can examine inside and outside of their firewall to rectify the situation. has the solution. can provide customized monitoring through its highly respected and acclaimed Dotcom Monitoring Service. This automated, non-stop (24x7) service caters to a site’s specific functional and performance monitoring needs, automatically alerting and reporting deviations to site management, in real time, through the built-in Dotcom-Monitor reporting system. This prompts site management for immediate remedial action.

How Dotcom-Monitor works

Dotcom-Monitor has remote agents strategically positioned around the world, each acting as an Internet browser. After a customer creates an account, he or she supplies the URLs of the Web service site, along with functions to be monitored with inputs, algorithms, expected results, and performance norms. Then, the process starts immediately. Dotcom-Monitor’s global agent checks the Web service(s) to ensure that it is accessible and maintaining acceptable levels of performance. If any of these fall outside the specified parameters, the customer is notified.

1. Functional Monitoring: Dotcom-Monitor constantly checks the functionality of the service by making specifically tailored, functional calls to the site (application) server to monitor the accuracy of the results obtained in real time. It uses representative input from transactions/messages, algorithms, and results provided by the Web service company for this purpose. The monitor performs Dotcom-Monitor’s service at pre-defined intervals. Any deviations from the supplied results are promptly reported for appropriate action.

2. Performance Monitoring: Most Web service companies use SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) technology to architect service transactions’ receipt, de-serialization, processing, serialization, and delivery. SOAP is a lightweight, stateless, XML communication protocol that lets applications exchange structured messages/transactions across the Internet. Most current SOAP implementations use HTTP binding due to SOAP’s wide availability and ability to pass through firewalls.

One of Dotcom-Monitor’s features is to determine the level of performance available from SOAP implementations using appropriate test transactions/messages. First, Dotcom-Monitor checks for latency, the round-trip time taken to send and receive a single transaction/message from the monitor server to the service server and back. High resolution timers are used to measure the time taken for each round-trip. Dotcom-Monitor repeats this check at a defined interval. For throughput, Dotcom-Monitor conducts checks to find the peak throughput available from each SOAP implementation using a number of concurrent driver threads, records the number of round-trips completed per second, and compares it to supplied norms.

Dotcom-Monitor conducts a separate exercise to measure SOAP serialization and de-serialization overheads. The test driver sends a number of customer detail records to the server. The monitor captures the times required by the server to perform serialization and de-serialization of SOAP transactions/messages. Any overall performance degradation beyond the Web service-defined boundaries are recorded and reported. A proper log of the checks made is maintained for later analysis.

In Conclusion

Just as business is vital to economy, Web services are crucial to e-business. Web services must consistently perform with absolute integrity and deliver sustained, non-stop performance to B2B or B2C e-business sites. Since these sites are concurrently concatenated with hundreds of e-business Web sites providing functions vital to each business they serve, there is no margin for error or for failure.

Web service sites must plan for zero tolerance. While it is easy to plan and implement redundant hardware and network infrastructure, exposure lies in making flawless functional delivery within desired turnaround time, every single time. That is only possible if constant monitoring for correct functional output(s) and response time performance are maintained, and any deviations highlighted in real time for remedial action. A 24x7 website monitoring solution from is the real answer.