One of the things I like most about living in New England is the changing of seasons. I find myself looking forward, thinking about what's exciting about the next one. Each season offers something unique and special, and if you're ambitious enough to try new things, a variety of new opportunities. So far, this fall, we've done some apple picking and plan to take a few hikes as the leaves change color, and in the winter I plan to get my toddler on skis for the first time. We'll see how that goes :)
As the new seasons bring new opportunities and new experiences for us to look forward to so does Akamai's October Release, as did the spring release back in April. Although, I can only ski for a few months out of the year here in New England, these new enhancements can have an ongoing impact on your business, this year, next year and beyond. Some of the enhancements will be enlightening, giving you broader and deeper insights into real user experiences and business impact. Others will thrill you with new tools that increase release velocity and reduce errors in your DevOps practices, and more that will delight you and your end users in effortlessly enhancing the quality of your digital experiences with adaptive and automated performance, while you kick up your feet and enjoy a hot apple cider, an IPA, or a even a Pumpkin Spiced Latte, like my colleague Renny Shen. So what's new?
More Powerful Real User Insight
Akamai has taken the intelligence that calculates for you the business impact of performance broader to include any mPulse metric, and deeper down to the resource level so that you can model the impact of speeding up slowing down or removing individual page resources. So you can more easily and directly find and fix performance issues that are getting in the way of revenue.
The 'what if' analysis that gives you the power to correlate performance enhancements with revenue opportunity in mPulse has now expanded to include "What if?" Analysis for any mPulse metric and top page groups. This helps you determine the business opportunity for performance enhancements and now you can tailor that analysis further to include the metrics that matter most to your business and site experience.
What would happen if I removed one of these objects? The new Resource Impact Analysis dashboard uses powerful data analysis to model the business impact of speeding up, slowing down, or removing individual page resources. Not to mention it's beautiful interactive interface helps you to yield these insights easily. Simply filter and drag the resources around on the waterfall and watch the scores change to reflect their impact on conversion rate, for example.
How can I get cross-functional teams on the same page? One key success factor for digital, IT/operations, and development teams is to build a performance focused culture in their organization. The challenge to doing this is to getting everyone speaking the same language, or atleast looking at (and understanding) the same data. Timeline is your interface for event data, milestones, and alerts in a simple format that is suitable to keep stakeholders informed from various roles across your organization.
Part of that performance culture means thinking about the user/customer experience across all touchpoints with your brand. For organizations that offer iOS, Android or other native mobile apps in addition to their browser based digital experience, you can now extend RUM visibility to complement your website data with native app monitoring now available in a new waterfall dashboard for iOS and Android apps.
You do your best to choose the right partners and scrutinize the code that you allow them to place on your pages but ensuring optimum performance of any embedded third party scripts on hundred percent of the time is essentially out of your control. How can I manage the Impact of 3rd party performance issues on my site? Akamai's new Single Point of Failure (SPOF) Protection in Ion's Script Management uses real user performance data to track problematic first and third party scripts on your site and automatically defers or blocks any scripts that don't meet your standards for performance.
Keeping that end user experience in mind you'll want to know what the user would see if the a particular first or third party script was blocked or deferred as part of your automated script management policy. So Akamai has introduced a Script Management Policy Tester Chrome plugin to preview how your page would render if a 3rd party script was blocked or deferred so you can manage the impact to page rendering before you're automated policy is set to take action.
Image & Video Manager
Rich imagery is effective in engaging users with your web sites and applications. Akamai's Image & Video Manager streamlines your image and video creation and publishing workflow and optimizes its quality, size and format for every end user and device. In the interest of extending simplicity from the backend to the frontend, improvements were made to the Policy Editor that include an enhanced auto-refreshing preview pane, intuitive rules ordering, movable panes, and a whole new layout. Image & Video Manager customers also expressed the need to monitor, fine-tune, and easily present data to executive and business stakeholders. We took this feedback to heart and created new reporting dashboards designed to show both granular and aggregate byte savings, insight into utilization, and overall product efficacy.
Performance load testing is a critical practice for any online business whether you're expecting large peaks in traffic associated with major events, marketing promotions, or pushing out application and infrastructure changes. A well-executed test plan can help you avoid costly downtime and the negative brand impact of disappointing your users. Unit testing throughout your build process is important and you need a tool that can support the speed of your CICD workflow (ours can). But, to really know if you'll be ready when it counts you need to be able to test end-to-end in a production environment with the ability to reach necessary volumes with the control to do it safely and steely performance experts at the helm. To help you do this Akamai has made enhancements to CloudTest that help you gain even better performance and control during large load tests. As part of this release CloudTest has gained 65% faster startup time and improved performance for increased agility during large load tests and also added support for performance load testing over HTTP/2.
Increased Developer Agility
For development teams, it's critical to increase release velocity and reduce errors as part of their CICD practices. How can multiple teams coordinate config management and deployment without slowing down? Akamai Pipeline helps you to federate configuration development across multiple teams and automate the propagation of changes through your dev pipeline.
Additionally, it can be labor intensive and error prone when you're making changes that need to be replicated across several property configurations, but now you can save hours upon hours of effort and reduce administrative errors with the ability to search for and update multiple configuration files with a single command using Bulk Configuration Management.
In development and deployment, speed is important but not at the expense of software quality, so it's critical to be able to test easily before pushing out updates. To help improve quality and confidence in your deployments Akamai is introducing Akamai Sandbox. Isolated Akamai environments for testing versions of property configurations before deploying.
APIs continue to be the connective tissue of digital applications and services and performance, security and governance are critical operations to help you provide a reliable service, that meets the growing demand of your API consumers, and is easy to manage. So how do you build efficiency and scale into your API architectures? Recently, Akamai introduced it's API Gateway to market we're already making it better by adding support to secure API Traffic with OAuth 2.0. Additionally, many organizations like the efficiency they can gain with GraphQL but are hesitant to adopt it because there is no native support for caching and they rely on the offload they can achieve by caching their RESTful APIs. With this new enhancement to API Gateway you can now cache GraphQL responses on the Akamai Intelligent Edge to increase offload and reduce costs. (API Gateway)
We're extremely excited to announce all of these new capabilities that will help you gain a competitive edge for your digital business with more powerful insights, data-driven performance, and increased developer agility. If you haven't already, please check out the links inline or visit www.akamai.com/October2018 and don't forget to register for our technical webinar for an overview and a couple of demos.