Subsecond pageviews are mission critical, so outsource

Dana Gardner agrees with me that subsecond response times are essential. He says this is good news for infrastructure software vendors, which is where our opinions diverge.
Written by Phil Wainewright, Contributor

I was interested to see Dana Gardner write a post yesterday that echoed a sentiment I'd recently expressed, but coming from a different angle:

"... when a server takes 4 seconds to deliver a data-laden Web page, extracting data from a variety of sources, it ends up costing millions of dollars over a period of a few months in lost revenue to many more businesses. Making the page appear in 1 second is now mission critical."

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Acceptable screen refresh for on-demand apps and my belief that subsecond response times are essential:

"Users are prepared to wait a few seconds for a page to load if they're planning to read it, but if they're in the middle of a process they have a different mindset: they're impatient for the page to load so that they can click the next button and get closer to completing the process."

Dana's point is that today's ad-funded websites and on-demand services are just as impatient for the page to load as their users are, because they can't earn any revenue until there's something for the user to click on. He therefore goes on to draw the conclusion that this raises the data center performance bar for everyone:

"The datacenter and applications delivery downtime is no longer a customer satisfaction issue, it's directly related to the bottom line. It could easily make the difference between profits and losses at an increasing variety of companies — from retail to media to finance to most all online transactions."

He then goes on to suggest this is good news for infrastructure software vendors, which is where our opinions diverge. I think it's good news for the hosted services model, because only best-of-breed specialists will be in a position to operate data center infrastructure that's capable of meeting those requirements.

If you doubt that at all, then explain to me why Google just won the contract to serve search and ads on MySpace? Google's ad-serving technology is better than subsecond, it's capable of analyzing a user's country and language, selecting the most appropriate contextual ads and dynamically serving them in less than the time it takes for most web pages to finish loading.

If MySpace is prepared to outsource the operation of its biggest revenue-generating activity, then doesn't that tell you something significant about where the world is heading?

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