Let’s face it; your site is never fast enough. That’s why you use precious development time to:

  • Lower page weight
  • Cache more of the page
  • Optimize JavaScript
  • Use content delivery networks (CDNs) to push content closer to the visitor

For this reason, there’s one part of your site that we’ve been working to speed up: the analytics. For instance, earlier this year we release version H.20 of our JavaScript code. It’s the fastest yet-taking advantage of native browser functionality to avoid any noticeable JavaScript delays. More recently we’ve built a regional data collection network, pushing our content (the 1×1 pixel image) closer to your site visitors. This second enhancement is exciting because it’s built on a very robust, very smart architecture; and because it’s lightning fast.

As of today, five data collection centers have been setup around the globe, each responding to millions of requests in less than half the time of the standard network. Those collection centers are in London, Tokyo and the US, with more being considered globally.

What Does this Mean For You?

In short, this means that your site will be faster for visitors around the globe. If you’re curious, here’s a description of some details. If not, just skip to the “Results” section.

Your data is processed in one of two US-based data centers. Currently, visitors to your site request little images from that data center, regardless of where they are in the world. Long distances, especially across oceans, can result in poor response times for those images.

Regional data collection lets site visitors request data from the data center nearest them, not necessarily the data center where your data is processed. Those data collection centers respond immediately with an image, and then forward the data on to the data center for processing.

This works just like a CDN-pushing content closer to the visitor for faster response times.

The Results


On average, the new system responds in half the time of the old system. Response time for visitors in North America improves by 38%, while response time for European visitors drops by a whopping 83%! Here’s some more detail:

How to Get On the New Network

This is when people typically ask: is there any reason not to use regional data collection? The answer: no. Come over as soon as you can. We’re moving customers over as quickly as our capacity allows, so it’s a first-come first-served priority. Here’s the general process:

  1. You tell your account manager you’d like to migrate
  2. Omniture gets ready by deploying your SSL certs and/or giving you collection domain info
  3. After your go-live date, you make the switch by either
    a. Updating your DNS CNAME record (first party cookies only), or
    b. Updating your JavaScript file(s)

More details are available in the white paper RDC (Regional Data Collection) Transition, available in the Knowledge Base here.

Typical Follow-On Questions

Once we start talking about regional data collection, a number of questions come up. I’ve addressed many of them here. Your AM should be able to answer any others.

Will data take longer to show up in reports?

No; at least not that you’ll be able to notice. Collection centers forward data to processing centers in seconds. Since traffic data is typically available in 30-120 seconds, you probably won’t notice the change.

Is this system as robust as the current system?

Yes, in fact it’s more robust. Not only does each collection center have redundancy built throughout, the network of collection centers provides another layer of redundancy. If a collection center is unable to reach the desired processing center, it forwards the data to a collection center that can send the data to a processing center. Additionally, if one collection center goes completely down for any reason, we have multiple back-up collection centers ready to step in.

What about regional processing centers?

Customers outside of the US typically wonder whether they can get faster report speed by having a data processing center in their region. While we are considering building those out, we’re currently focused on other ways to speed up reporting around the globe.

Where will the next regional collection centers go?

We’re considering many locations for 2010, but we’re not ready to talk about any yet. We’re going to focus on areas where you have or will have the most visitors, so let me know if you’ve got plans to expand to new regions. Your AM will be able to connect us if you’d like to talk to me directly.

Summary

Regional Data Collection is live and in use by high-volume sites. I’ve helped multiple customers through the migration process, and it’s surprisingly simple to move over. Call your account manager to get started, or download the whitepaper if you want some more details.

4 comments
Bret Gundersen
Bret Gundersen

If you're on first party cookies, you don't need to touch the code on your site. It's a very simple DNS change. If you're using 2o7.net, we'll transfer visitors' cookies from 2o7.net to omtrdc.net, which requires H code. You may not be aware that version H of the JS file supports version G page code, so you'd just need to swap out JS files in that case. KB article 1826 has a whitepaper on how to use version H of the JS file with G page code.

Heather Aeder
Heather Aeder

Do you have to be on H code to take advantage of this? Or will it work with G code as well?

Bret Gundersen
Bret Gundersen

Excellent point, James. Omniture account managers are reaching out to customers over the next few weeks, to recommend this. Your account manager has access to average response times by region, so I won't list them all here. But to give you an example, image response times in the UK, measured by Gomez and Keynote, average 392 milliseconds without RDC, and 25 ms with. On the other hand, the network topology in Asia prevents quite as dramatic of an improvement. Average response times in Asia go from 547 milliseconds to 352. These will improve as we introduce more collection nodes in that region. I'm glad you asked about the use of asynchronous scripts. The async flag is an HTML 5 feature. Based on our research, the only browser that supports asynchronous JavaScript is Firefox 3.6, which is still in beta. So using that flag now probably won't impact the speed of your site much. However, we are planning to include this in our standard tags in the future, as HTML 5 becomes more prevalent.

James Dutton
James Dutton

Bret, Interesting article, though based on what I've read here I assume this is a process recommended for all Omniture customers - I can't see any reasons why an organisation might be concerned about the migration (beyond the *potentially* complex issues of js file migration). As such would it not be appropriate for Omniture account managers to share this with their customers as a matter of courtesy to say 'hey there, we're now considerably faster.. would you consider these steps?'. I'd be curious if you could share just how bad the US centric system was before / after - particularly for European and Asia customers - care to share response times? Can you also share an opinion on the use of asynchronous script / function calls and Omniture's plans to support this method? I'll certainly be encouraging clients to add this to their project pipeline. Cheers, James.