A Position Paper for the 5 November 1998 W3C Workshop on Web Characterization


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Keynote Systems and its commercial products

Keynote Systems, founded in 1995, is the world's leading supplier of Internet performance measurement and diagnostic services to companies that operate e-commerce web sites. Keynote’s global real-time service -- Keynote Perspective -- enables Keynote customers to measure, assure and improve the performance of their web sites. The foundation of the service is an extensive network of strategically located customizable software measurement agents connected to the major Internet backbones in dozens of metropolitan areas worldwide. These agents measure web page download times and their components (e.g., DNS lookup) every 15 minutes, sending those statistics and any download errors detected to Keynote’s central database in San Mateo, California. Keynote clients then access this near-real-time data using web browsers or specialized tools.

Keynote’s corporate goal is to be the leading supplier of objective, credible Internet performance measures.

Keynote’s Measurement Architecture

More than 60 Windows/NT and UNIX workstations are located within ISP routing nodes (e.g., within Digex, Sprint, UUNet, etc.), where they are directly connected to Internet backbones. They receive instructions from Keynote’s central system in San Mateo, California, and execute those instructions by downloading web pages and noting performance and error statistics. These data are uploaded to Keynote’s central site every 10 minutes, where they are kept in an on-line SQL database for six weeks.

Keynote clients can use web browsers, JAVA applets, or FTP to extract data from the central database in various forms; e.g., raw data, summary or diagnostic information, or various forms of "drill-down" graphics. Keynote’s central system can also issue alerts when it detects errors or performance degradation.

Keynote’s Data

Keynote has literally millions of measurements of Internet web sites stored in its database. Although most of this data is private information for individual clients, Keynote also provides some information as a public service. Examples are:

Keynote and the W3C Web Characterization Activity (WCA)

Keynote is continually searching for ways to improve its measurement methodologies and credibility, as Keynote’s entire marketing position is based on professionalism and objectivity. This is a difficult area, and we are looking forward to working with the WCA to improve Keynote’s performance. Keynote can contribute by providing researchers with our own experiences as well as with no-cost access to the public data that Keynote has collected and continues to collect in near-real-time. It is also possible that Keynote will be able to work with other WCA researchers to collect specialized information from Keynote’s existing worldwide network of monitoring agents.