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Understanding and managing the customer experience for Internet business applications is a difficult process. This difficulty is primarily driven by the highly complex infrastructure between the application provider and customer, which is comprised of a multitude of entities that control individual pieces of the service delivery chain, but are outside the control of the application provider. To address this complexity, the "end-to-end" service delivery process is divided into five distinct zones.

Zone 1 – Servers

Servers have been the traditional focus of system management since well before the Internet era. Server-based performance monitoring solutions provide the functionality to measure, analyze and report on the myriad of computer resources that house the business applications. Critical server components include everything from the database and application logic to the hardware resources such as processor, memory and the I/O subsystem.

Zone 2 – Private Network

Private networks have become one of the largest system management areas since the emergence of the Internet era. Solutions focused here are targeted to key network infrastructure components such as routers, switches and firewalls that enable application traffic to leave the data center for its journey across the Internet cloud to the customer. In the case of private Intranets this zone can extend directly to the customer network, or Zone 4.

Zone 3 – Internet Network (public)

The public Internet represents what is now the largest network in the world, comprised of many hundreds of smaller networks that interconnect to span the globe. As these networks are owned and administered by individual companies, the system and network management solutions they have deployed are not available to outside businesses using the Internet infrastructure to provide their own services. This is one reason why the Internet is referred to as the "Internet Cloud" -- once a transaction enters the public Internet it seems to disappear until it reaches the end-user.

Zone 4 – Customer Network (private)

The customer’s private network similar to a application provider's private network (Zone 2) with the important difference that this zone is not in the domain of the application provider’s control. Normally any system and network management solutions in place in this zone are not visible to the application provider. Identifying and getting acceptance of service delivery problems caused by the customer’s network is a significant but important challenge. In many cases the customer may have no involvement or experience in network management, but is often expected to help in the identification and resolution of a problem.

Zone 5 – Customer Desktop

The customer desktop represents the end-user destination -- an individual workstation desktop -- and like Zone 4 it is clearly not in the application provider's domain of control. In an ideal World the end-user system environment would be a constant and not impact application delivery. In reality this is never the case, and variables such as the desktop software and hardware configuration, connectivity bandwidth, other running applications and security processes all have a dramatic affect on the performance and service of an Internet/Intranet application.

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