The new management console is finally out!
It’s sleek, fast and above all insightful. The past weeks have been pretty intensive, full of passionate internal debates, feedback discussions with our early access group and trial and error — lots of trial and lots of error.
We’ve put a lot of thought into the new analytics screens and their statistics and graphs. We want Incapsula to be more than a black box. We want users to understand their visitor experience, the security incidents and their web application performance.
Part of our mission is to improve our users’ web sites performance and among other things, this involves caching static and dynamic content. In our previous analytics screens we decided to stick with the bottom line for caching statistics — “Your total bandwidth was X GB from which Y% were cached”.
As much as it is great to know, we understood that there wasn’t really anything a user could do with that piece of information. How can we help users that want to improve their caching performance? How can we provide feedback on caching performance over time?
How can users choose between our standard and advanced caching and what is the difference between them? Those are part of the questions that were asked by our users and internally among us.
Our first and obvious move was to add a Daily Cached Bandwidth graph that shows the total daily bandwidth and the cached bandwidth for standard and for advanced caching. Although this graph made it possible to identify trends in caching performance, we felt that something was still not right. Every time we analyzed this graph we found ourselves performing a mental exercise calculating the percentage of cached bandwidth out of the total. Moreover, since the daily total bandwidth changes over time, it was impossible to understand if caching performance was improving or not.
Our next step was to add a Percentage of Cached Bandwidth graph that shows the daily percentage of cached bandwidth for standard and for advanced caching. This graph was better than the Daily Cached Bandwidth graph as it not only shows trends but also makes it easy to understand how the caching performance changes and comparing the performance for different time frames pretty quickly.
This of course made some people uncomfortable. Some sites, for example those hosted on Amazon’s Cloud, are billed by the amount of bandwidth they use. So the amount of bandwidth Incapsula saves is directly related to their monthly bill. Those users were not willing to let the daily cached bandwidth go! However, what became clear is that the sum is more important than its parts. In the process of improving our caching performance statistics we forgot where we started from “the bottom line”. To complete the picture we added an Accumulated Cached Bandwidth graph that shows the accumulated amount of cached bandwidth over time. This provides users with the last part of information they need — how much bandwidth is Incapsula saving me.