End user experience is a key decider when it comes to making a hosting or bandwith choice, but this is the most elusive measurable of all.
With the increased innovation taking place in the ISP hosting and ADSL offerings area it is becoming more difficult for users to make an informed choice. It is often the extreme points of view, both good and bad, that surface on the web, distorting the real user experience.
I am proposing the creation of an impartial dashboard where everyone can view and compare the real life performance of the product offerings from the various ISPs.
What I propose is a dashboard that measures connectivity in a South African perspective, i.e. the typical experience a local user will have when using the adsl from a particular ISP. Various scenarious would be monitored, from various locations, incuding ping times, route analysis, etc.
Another key aspect when choosing an ISP is hosting performance. Many local hosting providers offers very appealing packages, but how do a typical end user know which are worth the risk in migrating to a new offering. Things that would be measured and displayed in a visual dashboard would be hosting server performance (CPU, Load, memory, numer of sites hosted, etc).
For both adsl and hosting it is also key to measure availability as well as effective usability. From a technical perspective only opensource tools like Nagios, Smokeping, MRTG, RRD, SNMP, etc will be used to perform the monitoring and graphing.
For this to be a viable proposition I will need the co-operation of the local players, including Afrihost, Hetzner, IS, MWeb, Telkom, Web Africa, etc. Let’s see if the new age ISPs will come to the party.
The site will not be a platform for those with a grunt to bear, but rather an informative portal where ISPs can be judged on what they deliver, not on what they promise, allowing the end user to make an informed choice.