We all recognize that websites need to be performant. That is, they need to load fast or else users get frustrated and leave the site, abandon shopping carts, and associate bad quality with your brand. At nearly every DNN conference (DNNCon/DNN-Connect) there are at least one to two sessions on performance. We commonly hear Mitchel Sellers, Ernst Peter, Malik Khan, and Oliver present on performance. There are a lot of ways one can go about making their sites be more performant. In this month’s meeting we learned about how Oliver is taking DNN site performance to the next level. Oliver’s nBrane suite of products has 3 solutions to help add rocket fuel to your site.
Ryan Moore of Moore Creative Co lead off the meeting with a few brief announcements.
- DNNCon – Ryan noted that there are talks of a DNNCon taking place in Denver in the Jan/Feb time frame. Nothing is finalized at this point, but if you’re a fan of skiing it is looking good for you.
- DNN Forge – It seems the DNN Forge is throwing a fatal error. This has been reported and will hopefully be corrected soon.
Ryan then rolled into a brief interview period with Oliver before turning the controls over to Oliver for his session. When it comes to pirates or ninjas, Oliver does not have a preference :-) Many in the DNN Community know who Oliver is, but if you don’t Oliver has been in the DNN Community for a very long time. He originally built a project on top of Microsoft’s IBuySpy project for a local automotive shop. After learning about DNN he stopped using the IBuySpy version and has been running with DNN ever since. He’s used DNN for a local university’s web page and he’s created numerous modules and providers (such as the weather module, the Telerik provider, and the Advanced Control Panel to name a few). Along with building several extensions for DNN Oliver has done freelance work with a lot of DNN firms and knows DNN inside and out.
Oliver’s most recent project has been building out the nBrane suite of products. Within the nBrane suite there is Page Output Caching, CDN Provider, and Web farm Management. All of these products are focused around performance and they support DNN version 5.6+.
Page Output Caching
The page output caching solution allows your DNN site to generate static versions of your pages. This helps your site handle high volumes of users and decreases the load on both your web server and your database server. Oliver noted that out of all the products in the suite, Page Output Caching is the best bang for your buck and that it can be used in combination with “KeepAlive” services. And as of recent times we’ve all learned about the DNN bot attack/hack attempts. Oliver’s product does some unique handling of bots by providing them cached items in a safe way. Learn More about nBrane’s Page Output Caching.
nBrane’s CDN Provider leverages DNN’s Client Dependency Framework and helps bypass the difficult process of integrating a content delivery network into the DNN Platform. The CDN prefixes all CSS and JS files with the CDN’s URL, which by itself removes a lot of requests from your servers and rather serves them from a data center. The network of data centers being used for this solution has over 50 data centers and the provider will geolocate you and serve your content from the nearest data center! Talk about enhancing performance… reduce the number of requests to your servers and load the content from somewhere near the user! Learn more about nBrane’s CDN Services.
Web Farm Management
Do you require absolutely 0 downtime for your users? If so, nBrane’s Web Farm provider is the solution. nBrane’s admin interface allows you to route users to whatever server you would like. If you’ve got 5 nodes in a web farm you can take any one of them down for maintenance and only use the remaining 4. nBrane can even automatically remove nodes out of the web farm if it see the server is no longer active.
One common area of concern for web farm management systems is sync’ing the cache keys and data across the web farm. nBrane’s web farm management has this under control as there are automated processes for validating and invalidating cache keys as well as letting other servers in the farm be made aware of any time specific events occur. This solution is compatible with self-hosted web farms, Microsoft’s Azure, and Amazon EC2 out of the box. Learn more about nBrane’s Web Farm Management.
Pricing & Metrics
If you’re wondering about nBrane’s pricing you can find out more at http://www.nbrane.com/Products/Purchase Licensing for nBrane performance products is at a per instance level.
After walking through the products Oliver showed some live examples of page load times without using the performance products, specifically the Page Output Caching, and it’s easy to see that the pages are definitely loading faster using the solution. He took one page from an 8 second load time down to a 100 millisecond load time which was pretty impressive.
Open Source: nBrane Administration Suite
Many DNN Community members know of Oliver’s “Advanced Control Panel”. Oliver as come out with the successor to that which is now known as the nBrane Administration Suite. Oliver demo’d the Administration Suite to us and it was pretty slick! The admin suite has a new, left-aligned side-bar style, and allows for site control at both portal and site levels. As you would imagine the nBrane Admin Suite also plays very nicely with the nBrane performance products. You can do things like set the cache at the portal wide level with the click of a button.
One feature that our crew really loved was the “impersonation” feature. This feature allows the DNN Administrator to impersonate any user and then easily roll back into being the super user. This feature is great for troubleshooting bugs that only specific users are encountering. Also notable is that all the exchanges done in this process are encrypted so everything is secure in this process.
And the nBrane Administration Suite is open source! It’s on GitHub and developers can contribute to the project as well. Check out the GitHub Repo.
Thanks again to our sponsors, to Oliver for spending some time with us, and to everyone who joined in online and in-person. We’ll see you at next month’s meeting.