|By Tech Spot||
|January 9, 2012 08:00 AM EST||
Performance is one word that is used to describe multiple scenarios when talking about application performance. When someone says I need a High Performance Application, it might mean any/all of the following:
- Low web latency application ( meaning low page loading times)
- Application that can serve ever increasing number of users (scalability)
- Application that does not go down (either highly available or continuously available)
For each of the above, as an architect you need to dig deeper to find out what the user is asking for. With the advent of cloud, every CIO is looking to build applications that meet all of the above scenarios. With the advent of elastic compute, one tends to think that by throwing hardware to the application, we may be able to achieve all of the above objectives.
The patterns employed to achieve the above scenarios at times are different and it is important to find the right approach to the solution that meets the above objectives. We will examine some of the common patterns that can help us to achieve the objectives
- Application Tier ing – One of the biggest contributors to the latency is the application tier ing. The hops from WebServer -> Application Server -> Database and back, data serialization/deserialization are some of the biggest contributor to the overall latency. Having Web and Application tier within the same box or even within same JVM can help reduce the network latency factor. One can have logical separation in the application code between Web Tier and Application Tier but need not have physical separation. Using Spring Container that has Web/App tier can help achieve the same. If the application is making use of SOA and making multiple web services or JMS message calls, network latency and serialization of data once again adds to the latency. Solutions like IBM Datapower XML Accelerators can be used to reduce the XML overheads. Similarly, the application can use Solace Message Router’s to speed up the messaging.
- Disk I/O – Another weak link in the application performance chain is Disk I/O. One way to overcome the limitations with regards to the Disk I/O is too keep data in memory. In Memory databases (like Volt DB or Solid DB or Oracle TimesTen), XTP solutions (like Oracle coherence, IBM eXtreme Scale, GigaSpaces eXtreme Application Platform) can used to speed up the application performance.
- Parallelization of Tasks - The request for the service can be broken down into smaller tasks that can be executed in parallel and their results can be combined together to weave back the complete request. Techniques like - Partition the system by functionality that independently compute and process the request, Map Reduce available via OSS software like Hadoop, CouchDB etc allows the job to broken down to smaller chucks and results are combined together for the final response, Programming languages (Scala, ERLang, Ada etc) support language constructs for concurrency, Concurrency libraries like Akka ( based on Actor model) for Java, newer API available from Java 1.5 (ExecutorService)
- Hardware/Network Configuration
- Optimized Hardware – The hardware on which application is hosted can also be tuned to reduce latency. Optimization s like 10G/20G network, fiber channels, low latency switches, SSD (Solid State Drives), not using virtualization can make sure the application latency is reduced.
- Transport Mechanism – At times, the transport mechanism can also add to the application latency. E.g. secure communication (like https) can add to the latency with the additional overhead of deciphering the data at the receiving end. One way is to offload the SSL at the Load Balancer/Firewall.
In the end, you need to measure anything and everything to address the bottlenecks. Once the obvious bottlenecks have been addressed, one can start looking at things like – cache thrashing, poor algorithms, data bloating, wrong dimensioning etc to squeeze out that ounce of performance. All the techniques mentioned may not be applicable in all scenarios’, the architect needs to take a call based on the latency requirements.
Application Scalability – Scalability means ability of an application to handle growing amount of data and concurrency in an efficient manner without impacting performance. Important thing to notice is scalability should not be at the cost of application performance. Some of the techniques that can help scale the application
- Stateless Application/Service – The application should store its state in some centralized repository, but the application itself should be stateless. It means no storing of data or state on local file systems. Stateless application allows one to add any number of application instances to accommodate the increasing growth. But soon, the centralized repository starts becoming the bottleneck. With ever increasing data, repositories like (RDBMS) may start buckling down. One approach to this issue is to minimize mutable state in the database. To handle such scenarios, techniques like data sharding need to be applied. Another approach to managing write contention in the database is to look at the possibility of using NoSQL data stores for some or all of the application data.
- Load Balancing – As the traffic starts going up, the application can handle the additional load by adding additional server instances to service the requests. The load balancer will make sure none of the servers are working beyond their stated load and new instance should be automatically added as and when the load goes up (auto scaling). One can also add load balance to database with techniques like Master-Master topology or Master-Slave(with partitioning read and write data) to handle the additional load. But if the data is going in Petabytes ranges, data sharding with data replication techniques need to be used. The in-memory data grid architecture can also be utilized to scale the data.
- Fault Tolerance / Dynamic Discoverable Elements – When dealing with application that is running in large clusters, it is very important to avoid manual interventions. E.g. when the application load reaches a defined load, the application monitoring should be able to add a new instance and load balancer should be able to recognize the same to utilize it. Similarly, when data gets shard, the applications should be able to recognize and look up the new IP to connect. Similarly, if the application is not able to connect to particular resource, the application should be intelligent enough to recognize the fault and try accessing the alternate resource availability. The application will need to have a central meta data repository for all such fault tolerance scenarios that can be tapped by the application.
Application availability – Availability of an application is very much a function of scalability. Following factors have an impact on the application availability
- Redundancy – The application needs to be scalable to be able to compensate for the loss of any instance (whether hardware or software). The redundancy needs to be build at all layers, Software, Hardware, Power and even at data center levels. Even if the data center goes, the user should be able to access the application. Many at times, the level of redundancy and down time is a factor of how money is being thrown at the solution. Remember some problems have no solutions within the context of today’s technology. E.g. real time data mirroring or data sync across data centers that are located geographically apart.
- Fault Tolerance – The application needs to be fault tolerant (e.g. retry mechanism) to make sure it can take advantage of dynamically allocated resources to keep functioning. Having a centralized meta data repository that has information of newly allocated / alternate resources when scaling the application infrastructure.
- Monitoring/Testing – Another overlooked factor of application availability is application monitoring. If application is not properly monitored, outages can go undetected leading to application unavailability. Ability to monitor the entire application stack and take corrective actions is very important. This capability is build over a period of time. Once the application has monitoring, auto-scaling features, testing to make sure they work is also important. Something like Chaos Monkey used by Netflix is very helpful.
- Configuration Data – Any application that needs to be continuously available needs to be able to run using configuration. E.g. if the application introduces the new service interface, the application should have the ability to either make use of the new interface or keep using the old one. This factor becomes very important when rolling out new features/services and all of them cannot be rolled out at once.
All the techniques mentioned above can be employed at various levels to build high performance applications.
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, discussed recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model for s...
Dec. 10, 2016 01:30 AM EST Reads: 745
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dec. 10, 2016 01:00 AM EST Reads: 1,257
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 9, 2016 11:30 PM EST Reads: 1,150
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Dec. 9, 2016 10:45 PM EST Reads: 536
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, discussed how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your aud...
Dec. 9, 2016 10:00 PM EST Reads: 311
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 9, 2016 09:30 PM EST Reads: 1,284
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
Dec. 9, 2016 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,025
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effici...
Dec. 9, 2016 06:45 PM EST Reads: 5,149
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
Dec. 9, 2016 06:15 PM EST Reads: 1,767
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Dec. 9, 2016 05:30 PM EST Reads: 2,375
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Dec. 9, 2016 05:15 PM EST Reads: 1,893
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
Dec. 9, 2016 05:15 PM EST Reads: 1,473
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
Dec. 9, 2016 04:45 PM EST Reads: 1,871
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Dec. 9, 2016 04:45 PM EST Reads: 1,322
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 9, 2016 03:30 PM EST Reads: 1,248
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Dec. 9, 2016 03:15 PM EST Reads: 995
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 9, 2016 03:15 PM EST Reads: 891
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
Dec. 9, 2016 02:45 PM EST Reads: 1,053
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation; Alan Williamson, Principal...
Dec. 9, 2016 02:45 PM EST Reads: 661
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
Dec. 9, 2016 02:15 PM EST Reads: 1,790