GSX Blog

How the Route to the Cloud Affects the SharePoint User Experience

Posted by Jean-Francois Piot on Thu, Aug 30, 2018

illuBlogAs you may have read on several blogs and Microsoft Technet, the route to the cloud has a significant effect on Cloud service delivery performance. Several points have been identified that you should consider:

  • The distance to the Microsoft datacenter
  • The use of a proxy
  • The DNS configuration
  • The bandwidth requirement

Let’s examine the real effect of these parameters on the SharePoint Online experience.

To test that we have setup multiple GSX Robot Users running SharePoint Online synthetic transactions (i.e. perform actions as a user would). In this example, the robots test: login, uploading and downloading document.

GSX Robot Users are Windows services that you can install in any locations you want and that will consume Office 365 service exactly as a user. They will also collect critical network statistics to help you troubleshoot any performance issues.

We can analyze the results thanks to PowerBI.

SharePoint performance

To learn more about how to read our PowerBI dashboard, please read this link

Case 1: Bandwidth

We can see here how significant the effect of bandwidth on SharePoint performance is.

Bandwidth here was done 30% of the normal ISP offering running at 100kb/s.

Sharepoint performance 2

You see that the availability of SharePoint is still at about 95%, but the user experience is horrible. Actions can be done with normal latency only 33% of the time!

Now that the obvious is behind us, 2 things important to notice here:

First, you have service quality at 33% even if the usual network tests are up 65% of the time. It means that half the time, even with normal network tools, you won’t see how bad the service is.

Also, if we look at the latency per action, we can clearly see that the Login and the Download are not really affected. On the other hand, the Upload is constantly failing the performance test. 

When we saw that, we checked internally, and the answer is the asymmetric bandwidth that was provided.

The bandwidth is actually good in download but awful in upload. So, if you have this kind of issue, you should check the symmetry of your bandwidth in your regional locations.

Case 2: Proxy

Like the bandwidth, the proxy does really affect the end-user performance on SharePoint. It gives a warning/downtime 10 times higher than normal conditions.

Sharepoint performance 3

If we look at our Performance SLA, we can see that because of the proxy we provide a normal service only 93% of the time.

We also see that it mostly affects the login and the upload on SharePoint.

It is not something you would easily detect with traditional network tools. You need to be able to track the performance at the action level to understand the impact of your route to the cloud.

So you should stay away from proxies, especially if some locations have some connectivity or network issues.

Case 3: DNS

Now DNS is a bit different. In this case we configured our DNS resolution to occur at the other side of the world. We see that the DNS resolution time is pretty bad on the graph at the bottom of the screen.

Sharepoint monitoring 4

Nevertheless, the service provided is still pretty good.

The performance SLA is met and you can see that every action provides decent performance.

SharePoint is less affected by DNS resolution time issue than bandwidth or the use of a proxy.

Case 4: Distance to the cloud

Now for the last use case, we will compare the performance of our “Ideal” Robot that sits in Nice accessing a US tenant with our EU-DC Robot that sits in Nice and accesses a European tenant.

Ideal Nice to USA

SharePoint monitoring 5-1

Ideal USA to USA

SharePoint monitoring 6

Results were predictable. We know that the shorter the distance is between your user and the cloud, the best performance you have.

The path “Nice to USA” provides 99.3% service performance when “USA to USA” provides 99.59% of achievement.

“Nice to US” is in warning 6% of the time when Nice to Europe only 5%.

So, you can see the difference, even if it is not that obvious in this example. The difference could be bigger if you compare other area of the world especially if the network is not good in these locations.

Distance definitely affects performance, not by a lot and really depend of the network between your users and the tenant they try to access.


We have seen that SharePoint performance relies on multiple factors and we showed you here with real life statistics the effects of bandwidth, proxy, DNS resolution and route to the cloud on your end-user experience.

Make sure you test your end-user experience to understand what is the service you really deliver and improve your route to the cloud and improve your overall Office 365 user satisfaction.

Want more info about SharePoint Online Monitoring?
Check out the podcast of our webinar “SharePoint and OneDrive Monitoring Best Practices” 

At GSX Solutions we provide a unique way to constantly and accurately measure the end user experience of SharePoint Online from where your users are.

Our Robot Users continuously use SharePoint Online exactly as a user would while checking the performance of the network. With that data you can get back visibility on everything that matters to assess and improve the SharePoint user experience.


Tags: User Experience, Service Delivery, APM, Office 365 monitoring, End user Experience, office 365 performance, manage Office 365, DEM, PowerBI Dashboard, PowerBI