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How to get the best performance out of Salesforce and other SaaS apps

Sean Armstrong, AppNeta Director of Product Management | Jan. 29, 2015
Seven ways to resolve Salesforce and many other SaaS performance issues.

4. Ensure high quality network bandwidth and equipment. Getting more bandwidth isn't going to necessarily make you SaaS apps run faster or perform better, but higher quality bandwidth might. Web applications are TCP-based with guaranteed delivery and even small amounts of packet loss will have an incredible impact on web application performance. When a web application has 3-5% of packet loss, also represented by the retransmit rate in flow-based applications, the overall user experience of that application will be terrible.

The solution is to make sure you're not experiencing packet loss and retransmits on your current Internet connections and to ensure your network equipment, as well as your ISP's, is working properly. The reason many companies upgrade from residential to business class or other dedicated circuits is to ensure tighter tolerances, better equipment and less chance for packet loss for their web and SaaS apps.

5. Choose the right SaaS instance for your users. Salesforce, for example, operates 27 production "instances" globally, with 21 of them in North America. The location of your office in relation to the location of your Salesforce instance and all your Salesforce plug-ins factor into performance and central to many of the issues Salesforce users see.

Reducing the physical distance and the number of network hops to Salesforce can have a huge impact on performance. Of course, no one is going to notice a 20 or 30 milliseconds delay, but when those 20 or 30 milliseconds are tacked on to each of the 75 objects on a Salesforce web page, and users are spending several hours in this mission critical SaaS app, they really add up. Most other SaaS services do not have the option to choose where your account is provisioned, but you should take advantage of this option with Salesforce and choose the instance that is closest geographically to your users, as this will give the best performance.

6. Enable intelligent caching. Web applications tend to have lots of Javascript and Cascading Style Sheets to provide a rich user experience that is comparable to what people experience with a desktop application. As a result, you're going to have 3, 4 or 5MB Javascript files that can take time to download, especially when you have packet loss. One page with multiple plugins can have a total page size of 5 MB. Since it rarely changes, if you can enable caching on your network and create a cache derivative of it stored locally, you'll be enabling larger file downloads and creating a much better experience for your users when loading Salesforce.

7. Assess your Salesforce plug-in usage. The average Salesforce customer has seven plug-ins, each of which can dramatically help or hurt the overall end user experience. The majority of your total data transfer could actually be from these third-party plug-ins, which work with Salesforce to provide lead sourcing, marketing, sales and accounting capabilities. Therefore, you want to explore how much bandwidth your plug-ins are using, and from where these plug-ins are being served. The performance impact of these plugins should be a consideration when choosing between the available plugins, not just the features they have available.


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