Tears of Joy: Fixing Retail Web Application Performance

Vincent Yesue is a member of the ExtraHop Solutions Architecture team. Vincent Yesue is a member of the ExtraHop Solutions Architecture team.

In the retail industry, slow web application performance means abandoned shopping carts online, and long lines and frustrated customers in stores as retail employees use those web applications to check inventory and process transactions.

In the video below, ExtraHop Solutions Architect Vincent Yesue explains how ExtraHop helped dramatically speed up one retailer's in-store web applications, bringing tears of joy to a store manager. The ExtraHop wire data analytics platform helped the retailer identify and resolve two issues slowing their web applications:

  1. A web proxy auto-discovery (WPAD) setting that was enabled on browsers but not on the Active Directory servers. Disabling WPAD on all browsers eliminated a 40-second delay when launching a new session.
  2. Router misconfigurations in the stores meant that public Internet traffic (comprised of YouTube, Instagram, etc.) was consuming bandwidth that was supposed to be prioritized for application data. Updating the routing profile ensured that only web application data was encapsulated and sent back to the datacenter for processing, and that public Internet traffic was sent directly to the relevant sites.
Read more about ExtraHop's professional services offerings and how national gas station and convenience store chain Murphy USA uses ExtraHop to optimize retail web applications.

Video transcript: One of my customers called me a short time ago. This customer is a nationwide retailer that has outlets all over the country. … As we examined the wire data, we found that some requests were being from that web browser, on the first request after it started up, for a Windows [Web] Proxy Auto Discovery feature that wasn't enabled on their network. … We readied a configuration change and actually made a call back to the store that we had visited earlier in the day. We got one of the retail personnel on the line and asked her to bring up the application and go through the workflow that she would normally suffer with, and lo and behold she was still having problems. Things we were still slow even though we had made that WPAD proxy discovery change—she was still struggling. So we told her to hold on just a second. We made the change to the routing in the store and we asked her to load the application again, and she started crying. The application was just blazing fast now and the problem that they were fearing going into Christmas with these long lines and being unable to service transactions very quickly was now not going to be a problem at all because we had solved the problem and these applications began to be really, really fast—just like they should be.

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