Healthcare.gov Performance Analysis by AppDynamics
Augmenting the roster of tribulations haranguing Obamacare and the healthcare.gov website comes a technical deep-dive performed by leading performance monitoring organization AppDynamics that paints a picture of a sophomoric development initiative used in building that site.
Among the defects cited are performance issues on both the client and server sides of the application, as well as inconsistent protocols between internal API's.
By analyzing response-time metrics it was observed that "You can see really bad performance on both the client and server side on average."
Starting on the registration page underscores the breakdown of response times across the server and client sides. "This page took almost 71 seconds to load with 59 seconds attributed to the server side and almost 12 seconds attributed to the client side data loading and rendering."
But the analysis disclaims that "without having access to either the server side to measure its response time, or to all network segments connecting the server to the client to measure latency we cannot fully determine why the client side is slow. We know there are js and css file optimizations that should be made but if the server side and/or network connections are slow then the impact will be seen and measured at the end user browser."
Next in the site's workflow comes the profile page, which on load-completion comes up blank. This is attributed to some incorrect Ajax requests; "This is the type of frustrating web application behavior that drives end users crazy. It appears as though the page has loaded successfully (to the browser at least) but that is not really the case."
The article goes on to explain that the Ajax response returned an HTTP 503 ( “Service Unavailable” ) status code, indicating that the HTTP server was able to accept the request but couldn't do anything with it because of problems on the server side.
The article concludes with some recommendations:
1. Correct the functional integration errors. The article posits that "Healthcare.gov was obviously launched without proper monitoring and testing and that’s a major reason why many user interactions are failing, throwing errors and insurance companies are getting incomplete data forms."
2. Identify and correct scalability bottlenecks. "There are performance bottlenecks in the software that need to be identified and tuned quickly."
The article says, "this isn’t an unusual problem. We see this time and time again with many companies who eventually come to us looking for help solving their application performance issues."
AppDynamics concludes with an offer to the Obama administration to help fix the site for free "because we think the American people deserve a system that functions properly and doesn’t waste their time. Modern, service oriented application architectures require monitoring tools designed specifically to operate in those complex environments. AppDynamics is ready to answer the call to action."
John Krewson, Steve Ropa and Matt Badgley Nov 24, 2014