|By Peter Varhol||
|September 1, 2000 12:00 AM EDT||
In just a few years the Java language and platform has become the technical approach of choice for building complex, distributed and Web-enabled applications across the enterprise. Thanks to its cross-platform runtime environment, object-oriented development model, and facilities for working with object request brokers and other code components, Java is well equipped for building such applications.
Java enables software developers to provide seamless communication and application access to the rapidly growing world of Internet computers and communications devices, from UNIX servers and PCs to cell phones and beyond. IDC Research estimates that the Java products market will grow by 85% annually through 2004.
Java applications - especially those designed to work with other applications and components (often written in other languages) in a distributed environment - have different development requirements than traditional applications. For example, Java's execution model virtually eliminates traditional memory errors, but can introduce performance problems stemming from poor resource utilization. For those used to addressing traditional programming errors and other issues, Java's unique execution model and language characteristics may make building error-free and efficient applications more difficult.
The distributed nature of many Java applications can also make it difficult to pinpoint performance issues or diagnose programming errors. As a result, Java developers need software development tools and techniques for viewing and analyzing code execution on multiple systems on the network and from multiple code bases.
Issues Surrounding the Development of Distributed Java
Java is unique - it's a mainstream programming language that works like no other. Its rules aren't well understood yet by many application developers. Part of the reason for this is that its capabilities and limitations haven't been fully explored.
As a result, while many of the problems may be similar, recognizing them and knowing what to do when you find them remains challenging, even to experienced Java developers. What follows are just a few of the development issues and what they mean for Java.
Performance is a concern of applications written in any language. Most programmers are familiar with common performance issues using a conventional language such as C with a stand-alone or even a client/server application. Such issues often involve improper allocation, deallocation of memory and poor use of system APIs.
These aren't even characteristics of the Java language. For example, relating Java code to how the JVM manages memory is difficult and error-prone. However, it's vital to improve Java performance because its execution model has additional overhead that tends to degrade performance more than native applications do.
In addition to typical performance requirements and issues surrounding traditional stand-alone applications, distributed Java applications must contend with problems surrounding the interactions between components running on different systems. Performance problems may manifest themselves in unexpected ways or appear to be caused by different parts of the code other than the actual problem area. Identifying and locating performance bottlenecks rapidly is a significant challenge in distributed application development.
Enterprise Java applications, especially distributed ones, are often mission-critical in nature: all aspects of the application must work perfectly at all times. Developers and development managers must be able to gauge the reliability of their applications accurately. While the characteristics of the language tend to make Java applications less error-prone, there are still plenty of ways to introduce runtime errors.
With distributed Java applications the reliability equation is even more difficult. It means assessing not only the individual applications but also the components as they interact. Java also makes it possible to write highly threaded applications that make sense in a distributed environment. But using threads means that problems with resource contention and deadlock are much greater.
Java applications face the same testing problems as traditional ones. They must be tested as thoroughly as possible before fielded, and developers should have a good idea of the extent of the test coverage before certifying an application. Distributed software systems written in Java, however, are extraordinarily difficult to test and debug. Because components reside on different computers and must work together perfectly for the application to work properly, all components must be tested simultaneously.
Since JVMs perform all the memory management tasks for applications, understanding the memory usage of the underlying platform and influencing memory allocation and use to affect performance is difficult to do and not intuitive. That's especially true because developers have no easy way of determining the relationship between code and the underlying memory use. Analyzing underlying memory use is a key component of building efficient applications (see Figure 1).
Software Tools Can Make Java Transparent
Several of the integrated development environments for Java are quite good, combining visual development, context-sensitive editing, JIT compilation and runtime debugging. What they lack, however, is the ability to determine the efficiency and reliability of the application, especially if it's distributed across several servers.
Most developers do without such tools, due in part to the relatively poor selection. There are many different Java-oriented development environments, but few tools to move code beyond the development stage. A few tools, such as the Compuware DevPartner for Java suite, combine components that evaluate performance issues, examine memory usage, analyze threads and track testing progress (see Figure 2).
Many Java developers fail to recognize that it's not enough for Java applications to be debugged within the development environment because of several myths regarding the use of Java as a development language and environment. One myth is that the VM eliminates programming errors and bugs. While direct memory errors aren't usually possible in Java development, it's still possible for Java applications to contain serious errors that affect the proper operation of the program.
Another myth is that the application developer has no control over the performance of the software since the VM manages the low-level details that determine how fast the code runs. How developers use specific language instructions can have a significant impact on application performance. Often a few simple changes can greatly improve performance if developers know their underlying effect in advance.
Java development tools assist and accelerate the development of reliable, high-performance applications, especially distributed ones. They go beyond the traditional development environments to include components that help make applications more reliable and efficient. When choosing a set of tools to supplement those found in development environments and improve the reliability and performance of Java applications, developers and development teams should take the following characteristics into account.
- Support for multiple, unmodified VMs: Different operating systems often use different JVMs with different performance and behavior characteristics. In addition, some Java tools require the use of specially modified VMs that may not represent the characteristics of production systems.
To obtain accurate information to improve the performance and reliability of distributed Java and mixed-language applications, developers should select tools that run in the actual deployment environment. This way they can be certain that the behavior observed and analyzed during development and testing will be the same once the application is deployed.
- Minimal impact on Java runtime resources: During application testing and analysis, the Java development tools that are used can often be intrusive - their presence may influence the test results. If developers attempt to deploy the tools for further testing and tuning in the production environment, they may also encounter unacceptable performance degradation due to high resource utilization.
If developers need accurate information on resource utilization, performance and system load, they should consider software tools that don't use large amounts of Java runtime resources. Tools with minimal Java and computing resource impact are more likely to provide the accurate information needed to improve the performance and reliability of distributed applications.
Application developers need tools that work with whatever software technologies they're using. Multilanguage tools, especially those that support industry-standard Web languages, provide the range of capabilities needed to find performance and reliability problems anywhere in the application (see Figure 3).
- Ability to track Java memory utilization to the function and line level: Knowing you have a performance or reliability problem isn't any good unless you're able to pinpoint the source rapidly and easily. The more precise the diagnosis and analysis, the faster application developers can address the problem.
Java application development tools should focus as specifically as possible on the exact location of a performance bottleneck or software error, especially for large, distributed applications. Developers working on deadlines need the most exacting information possible from their tools.
- Ability to find thrashing and starvation conditions graphically: Some of the toughest software problems to find are those that involve resource starvation and code thrashing. These error conditions don't prevent the application from running; however, they cause severe performance bottlenecks and may even cause the application to hang while running.
The problems are especially prevalent in Java applications in which multiple running threads contend for limited virtual machine resources. To ensure the reliability of deployed applications, Java developers require software tools that enable them to identify and locate the complex combination of conditions that can cause resource starvation and thrashing.
- Ability to measure code base stability: Rapidly changing code during debugging and testing usually means that the application may be unreliable or needs additional testing before deployment. Conversely, an application with few changes to the code base during debugging and testing will more likely be fully tested and stable.
It's important, therefore, for application developers to understand how much and how rapidly their application code is changing during the latter stages of the development process. An application development tool should measure the stability of the code base to enable both the development team and the managers to determine when the application can be used reliably in production.
- Support for multiple operating systems: Mixed operating environments are the rule rather than the exception. Even if developers code on one platform, it's increasingly likely that the application will be deployed across several different types of systems. This is especially true of Java-based applications, which are designed to run unmodified on multiple operating systems.
Application development tools have to support multiple development and runtime environments to eliminate the expense of purchasing different tool sets for different platforms, and to reduce the need for developer training on multiple tool sets and platforms.
Delivering Higher Quality Java Applications
Today's Web-enabled, distributed applications combine many different technologies and are prone to performance and reliability problems. Software developers using Java technology can spend a substantial amount of time trying to resolve these problems, leading to schedule delays and applications with ongoing problems.
Most of the Java development environments available are excellent for writing small to medium-sized stand-alone applications. It's growing increasingly difficult to write applications that are large or distributed, and to work with legacy components or databases. Performance and reliability issues overshadow the advantages of rapid, object-oriented development.
Visualizing these types of problems is an important aspect of debugging, tuning and testing applications because developers can quickly identify and localize the code responsible. If the developer can see where the deadlocked thread is, it's easier to pinpoint the resource that's deadlocked and its cause.
The kinds of problems that don't arise or are trivial in smaller applications take on critical importance in distributed processing. By using performance analyzers, memory profilers and thread inspectors such as those found in DevPartner Java Edition, distributed application developers can be sure their applications will run as expected.
Large-scale Java and distributed applications are easy to write but difficult to write well. To bridge the gap between mediocre or poorly performing applications and highly efficient ones, developers need to leverage software tools that help build reliable high-performance applications and components with Java technology. Such tools would allow Java developers to quickly and easily identify problems in key areas like runtime performance, memory utilization and multithreading.
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of (at least) three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the back-end service, and the mobile application for the end user’s controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target –...
Aug. 31, 2016 05:15 PM EDT Reads: 260
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
Aug. 31, 2016 04:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,838
SYS-CON Events announced today that Numerex Corp, a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT), will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Numerex Corp. (NASDAQ:NMRX) is a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). The Company's solutions produce new revenue streams or create operating...
Aug. 31, 2016 04:39 PM EDT Reads: 149
As cloud adoption continues to transform business, today’s global enterprises are challenged with managing a growing amount of information living outside of the data center. The rapid adoption of IoT and increasingly mobile workforce are exacerbating the problem. Ensuring secure data sharing and efficient backup poses capacity and bandwidth considerations as well as policy and regulatory compliance issues.
Aug. 31, 2016 03:15 PM EDT Reads: 309
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
Aug. 31, 2016 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 788
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Aug. 31, 2016 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,098
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
Aug. 31, 2016 02:03 PM EDT Reads: 214
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Aug. 31, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,280
Although it has gained significant traction in the consumer space, IoT is still in the early stages of adoption in enterprises environments. However, many companies are working on initiatives like Industry 4.0 that includes IoT as one of the key disruptive technologies expected to reshape businesses of tomorrow. The key challenges will be availability, robustness and reliability of networks that connect devices in a business environment. Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is expected to...
Aug. 31, 2016 11:12 AM EDT Reads: 255
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at EMC, will introduce a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organizati...
Aug. 31, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 483
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pulzze Systems will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Pulzze Systems, Inc. provides infrastructure products for the Internet of Things to enable any connected device and system to carry out matched operations without programming. For more information, visit http://www.pulzzesystems.com.
Aug. 31, 2016 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 469
SYS-CON Events announced today Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Aug. 31, 2016 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,128
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. However, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will drill down to the components in this fra...
Aug. 31, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 558
Pulzze Systems was happy to participate in such a premier event and thankful to be receiving the winning investment and global network support from G-Startup Worldwide. It is an exciting time for Pulzze to showcase the effectiveness of innovative technologies and enable them to make the world smarter and better. The reputable contest is held to identify promising startups around the globe that are assured to change the world through their innovative products and disruptive technologies. There w...
Aug. 31, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 935
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
Aug. 31, 2016 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 978
With so much going on in this space you could be forgiven for thinking you were always working with yesterday’s technologies. So much change, so quickly. What do you do if you have to build a solution from the ground up that is expected to live in the field for at least 5-10 years? This is the challenge we faced when we looked to refresh our existing 10-year-old custom hardware stack to measure the fullness of trash cans and compactors.
Aug. 31, 2016 02:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,917
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions wi...
Aug. 31, 2016 02:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,311
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Aug. 31, 2016 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,050
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
Aug. 31, 2016 01:45 AM EDT Reads: 3,129
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
Aug. 31, 2016 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,731