In 2004 I was involved in a performance disaster on a site that I was responsible for. The system had happily handled the traffic peaks previously seen but on this day was the victim of an unexpectedly large influx of traffic related to a major event and failed in dramatic fashion.
I then spent the next year re-architecting the system to be able to cope with the same event in 2005. All the effort paid off, and it was a resounding success.
What I took from that experience was how difficult it was to find sources of information or help related to performance improvement.
In 2008, I cofounded Intechnica as a performance consultancy that aimed to help people in similar situations get the guidance they needed to solve performance issues or, ideally, to prevent issues and work with people to implement these processes.
Since then we have worked with a large number of companies of different sizes and industries, as well as built our own products in house, but the challenges we see people facing remain fairly consistent.
This book aims to share the insights we have gained from such real-world experience.
The content owes a lot to the work I have done with my cofounder Jeremy Gidlow; ops director, David Horton; and our head of performance, Ian Molyneaux. A lot of credit is due to them in contributing to the thinking in this area.
Credit is also due to our external monitoring consultant, Larry Haig, for his contribution to Chapter 6.
Additional credit is due to all our performance experts and engineers at Intechnica, both past and present, all of whom have moved the web performance industry forward by responding to and handling the challenges they face every day in improving client and internal systems.
Chapter 3 was augmented by discussion with all WOPR22 attendees: Fredrik Fristedt, Andy Hohenner, Paul Holland, Martin Hynie, Emil Johansson, Maria Kedemo, John Meza, Eric Proegler, Bob Sklar, Paul Stapleton, Neil Taitt, and Mais Tawfik Ashkar.