Press Room: 2003

North Carolina State University Makes the Grade with Keynote Behind the Firewall Web Performance Management Services

Private Measurement Agents Provide Valuable Insight into Internal Performance

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SAN MATEO, California — March 24, 2003 — Just like any enterprise IT department, the Information Technology Division at North Carolina State University at Raleigh (NCSU) is concerned about the quality of service experienced by its enterprise Web and network customers and needs to know how its network is performing for its users. In order to meet its guaranteed responsibility to its paying customers and deliver the optimum experience, the University’s IT division turned to Keynote Systems (Nasdaq: KEYN) Web Site Perspective®, combined with a Keynote private measurement agent to track the performance of its Web applications from the outside and behind the firewall.

By using both Keynote Perspective service and a Keynote private agent both internally and externally on the public Internet, and comparing ‘apples to apples’ metrics from both, NCSU has been able to improve and maintain the guaranteed experience of its paying customers and ensure the service level commitments to those customers and to upper management.

“This university IT division acts as both an ISP and a hosting company and each scenario presents different performance issues,” said Harry Nicholos, assistant director for UNIX and Web services. “To measure service level objectives you need results that are not only accurate, but also impartial. Accurate data is the hallmark of academic research so it was natural for us to turn to Keynote to get reliable, independent data about the performance of our Web applications. Quality of service for our customers has always been important, but before Keynote it was never easy to measure. Keynote made it easy.”

The IT group compares its network performance to that of the public Internet in two ways: by comparing the results of its private agent to those of the Keynote Perspective agents on the Internet measuring the same URLs; and by comparing its measurements to the results of the Keynote Business 40 Index (KB40), as measured both by Keynote and by the private agent on its network. “We have written into our service level objectives that the availability of our university home page and our online courses will exceed the Keynote Business 40 Internet Performance Index,” said Nicholos.

The use of both Keynote Perspective and Keynote private measurement agents has enabled NCSU’s IT division to diagnose quickly some significant performance problems and to maintain stellar performance. The availability of NCSU’s homepage is five to seven percent better than the availability of the KB40 Index as reported by Keynote; performance is as good as the KB40.

Keynote Private Agents: A Perspective on Internal Performance

NCSU has deployed a Keynote private measurement agent on its network to provide a view of the Internet gateway and how well it delivers to customers. The private agent provides a first line of trouble identification, indicating immediately whether performance problems are internal to the NCSU network or external on the Internet, and directing IT’s trouble-shooting efforts in the right direction without delay. Alerts automatically give the IT group immediate notice when performance thresholds are exceeded.

“Keynote has been invaluable as a diagnostic tool,” said Nicholos. “The MyKeynote interface gives us tremendous value. It delivers a variety of performance reports, by backbone, etc.; it can identify bottlenecks over time; and it gives us the evidence to work with our backbone providers to solve problems. Keynote gives us not only and end to end picture of our Web performance, we can also drill down and find specific problems. The data is reported in a useful, understandable way.”

The combination of Keynote Web Site Perspective and a Keynote private measurement agent, gives NCSU’s IT division the proof positive that its decision to build a Web farm, a departure from the university norm, was a good one which allows them to more affordably and efficiently add power while keeping and leveraging existing resources, as well as the ability to document its reliability and high performance.

Keynote Systems, Inc.

Keynote Systems (Nasdaq: KEYN), The Internet Performance Authority®, is the global leader in Internet performance management and testing services that improve the quality of e-business. Keynote’s services enable corporate enterprises to benchmark, diagnose, test and manage their e-business systems both inside and outside the firewall. Approximately 2,300 corporate IT departments and 16,000 individual subscribers rely on the company's easy-to-use and cost-effective services to optimize revenues and reduce downtime costs without requiring additional complex and costly software implementations.

Keynote Systems, Inc. was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in San Mateo, California. The company can be reached at or by phone in the U.S. at 650-403-2400.

© 2003 Keynote Systems, Inc. The Internet Performance Authority and Perspective are registered trademarks. Keynote Systems is a trademark of Keynote Systems, Inc. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.


Della Lowe, Keynote Systems, Inc., (650) 403-3233,

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