Norton 2009: A message from the performance team
To our Norton Customers:
Symantec is pleased to announce the official release of our Norton 2009 products. This year, we’ve made performance improvement the key focus of the 2009 Norton product line. Virtually everyone in the company - including executive management, product engineering, Quality Assurance, design, and development - knew that this was our main mission ever since our first 2009 engineering planning sessions. Since then, we’ve questioned, agreed, and disagreed to many of the ideas and concepts that came up, but we were consistently guided by our shared vision and dedication to doing what is right for our customers: to build the best security software in the world.
Interestingly, this effort to build Norton Internet Security 2009 and Norton AntiVirus 2009 into the fastest and lightest security software using the toughest performance metrics ever also challenged us to rethink previously held ideas about security software in general. While we were happy to release Norton 2008 products with reduced impact to systems, we continued to push ourselves by asking tough questions and not stopping until they were answered.
Throughout the 2009 Norton development cycle, we pursued the best practices in engineering and product-management and overcame many roadblocks. The overall strategy we took in 2009 Norton development cycle can be summarized as follows:
Pursuit of Engineering Excellence and Innovation
1. Optimize the underlining code and logic
2. Challenge the engineering limits to re-evaluate the conventional notion that "performance must be traded for security"
3. Redesign the architecture and infrastructure to increase both peformance and usability
Pursuit of Product-Management Excellence
1. Build performance with focus on increased usability
2. Enable sensors to minimize interference and impact on users while performing ALL Norton brand background tasks
3. Construct an intelligent feedback loop to help improve the performance over time (see Norton Insights)
Smart Scheduler – Say goodbye to running down your laptop battery power at the Airport, coffee shop, or during that important presentation.
Smart scheduler is a new feature that detects whether users are actively working on tasks such as emailing, browsing the Internet, or working on their favorite spreadsheet application. The main idea of Smart Scheduler is to minimize CPU and I/O intensive operations from 2009 Norton products while users are actually working on the computer.
Smart scheduler is highly effective in making an optimal decision about when and how background tasks of Norton 2009 products should be performed by using over 40 built-in sensors. For example: running a laptop on battery power with no network activity will automatically defer the full system scan in order to keep the battery power from running down. This feature, together with Silent Mode settings, helps to ensure that your next PowerPoint presentation goes smoothly!
Silent Mode – Say goodbye to interruptive alerts while playing games
Norton 2009 products are built with both professionals and gamers in mind. Who wants to be interrupted in the middle of an important presentation, or during an intense joust in World of WarCraft? We’ve answered this question by giving users the option to suspend alerts and background tasks during these crucial moments where system interruptions can make all the difference in the world.
Norton 2009 products also have a built-in sensor to detect full screen gaming and other activities, just in case a user forgets to activate Silent Mode. Only the activities that require constant on-demand protection from viruses and other threats keep on running, resulting in minimal impact to the system.
Norton Insight – Scan faster and smarter over time
As our computers become loaded up with programs and services, performance often becomes an increasing issue. Over 384 performance improvement changes went into Norton 2009 products right out of the box. But our products were also designed to continuously protect against performance degradation over time.
For example, a new P2P file sharing application running at system start-up can extend the system startup time and create extra CPU and IO activities. Windows OS applications and other process activities can also create CPU and IO intensive activities. Rather than blindly treating every process and application as an unknown - taking up valuable resources scanning unnecessary items – we’ve responded to this problem by building a “trust” concept by evaluating the publisher, file size, hash keys, and behavioral assessment.
The system is synched with our backend servers during the system idle time and updated with what applications and processes should be trusted or not. Norton 2009 products exclude these Norton trusted items for both scheduled and on-access scan events. Over time, Norton Insight will not only keep you protected, free from unwanted applications, but also makes sure your computer doesn’t suffer from slow-downs. For more information on Norton Insight, please visit another blog article (http://community.norton.com/norton/blog/article?message.uid=20642).
09’ Performance Metrics
Although our performance metrics have grown in terms of coverage every year since the 2007 development cycle, we have continually challenged our engineering teams to expand the quantity and quality of performance metrics. It is based on our belief that there are truly an unlimited number of ways that our customers can encounter performance issues.
During our 2009 Norton product development process, we tracked over 46 different performance criteria from build-to-build and week-to-week. For example: we tracked every single registry key and value added by Norton components; disk/memory usage of all features and functionalities in bytes; the required number of users’ clicks; the loading time of all components in microseconds; and the response time of all menus, links, and buttons.
In addition, we have tracked the performance of Norton background operations to ensure that normal user activities are not affected to a perceptible level. For example, a user uploading or downloading media files (such as pictures, songs, or movies) should not be penalized from the scanning of the files for vulnerability checks.
A user browsing favorite Web sites should not experience any delays while the sites are being downloaded and displayed. Other examples we’ve tracked include the processing time to restart systems, installing new software, and backing up a collection of family photos. These were problem areas that we had heard from our user-base and we listened and responded. In fact, these metrics have evolved based directly on customer feedback.
Needless to say, our commitment to continuous improvement is an on-going effort as long as we have our valued customers to help guide us. In our next blog, we will choose an area of interest from customers, and publish our performance test methodologies and results. Until then, please accept our sincere appreciation to all our customers for allowing us to work for you.
The Performance Team at Symantec
Message Edited by Sondra_Magness on 10-01-2008 09:58 AM