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Performance Anxiety

December 10th, 2008 by Jacob Ukelson

I am attending the CMG (Computer Measurement Group) conference – it is the annual application\performance professionals get together. Turns out there is really good technology for production-time performance monitoring at any tier – and that is becoming more and more of a commodity covered by the big 4 – (IBM, CA, BMC , HP and if you are interested in Mainframe – ASG and Compuware).
So if that’s covered – what’s left to worry about? Performance problems have been licked, right? Well it seems like the while single tier performance issues are less common, multi-tier performance problems are now coming to the forefront which are even harder to diagnose and fix. So performance tools will need to now shift to next frontier -problems during production caused by relationships and interdependencies between the different components that make up a complete application, or between the different transactions going through the same tier at the same time. So if you want to find the reason a modern componentized, tiered application is performing poorly – you need to start understanding and analyzing the relationships between the components of the application, or the interdependencies between different applications or transactions executing on the same tier at the same time. Looking at each performance monitor in isolation isn’t good enough – you need to start looking at the relationships between components. The move towards SOA is only going to exacerbate this need. Now once you start looking at relationships and interdependencies - the amount of data needed for root-cause analysis grows exponentially, so there will also be the need for tools to help analyze the mountains of data to help pinpoint the relevant information needed for root cause analysis.
Another issue is tying back all of those components to the business - so that if a problems does occur, the business impact of the problems can be understood.
Finally, it is also clear that the Mainframe isn’t dead – it shows up everywhere, either as legacy (CICS+DB) or as a hosting platform for Linux server consolidation.

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