Microservices Expo Authors: John Worthington, Pat Romanski, Stackify Blog, Automic Blog, Simon Hill

Related Topics: Microservices Expo

Microservices Expo: Article

Designing For Performance - Keep Your Web Services Up

How To Make Sure Your Services Keep Up. First, Know Your Service Patterns!

Performance is often an afterthought when building new systems, and I'm finding that services are no exception. Truth be told, most services out there just function. They are not optimized to scale, and SOAs are running into walls as those services hit the upper limit. If we don't learn to solve this problem, many SOAs simply won't get off the ground.

There is indeed a right way and a wrong way to design a service. Also, there are things beyond your control that you must consider during your design. As with anything else, you need to do your homework, allow enough time for design, and do some experimenting and proof-of-concept testing to determine the best path.

First, Know Your Service Patterns
A few patterns are beginning to emerge. We can categorize them into larger buckets such as legacy abstraction, simple composites, complex composites, and new autonomous services.

Furthermore, we can put them into behavioral subcategories such as transactional, data services, and lightweight and heavyweight services. Notice there is no mention of fine grained and course grained; we'll get to that next month.

Legacy abstraction services are services built on top of existing services, including elderly technology such as Cobol and CISC on the mainframes, or perhaps services liberated from mini computers, or even enterprise class Unix systems. You can toss ERP and CRM applications into this mix as well.

The notion is that you somehow are able to externalize these internal processes as services and leverage them as modern Web services, no matter how ugly and arcane the interfaces are.

Simple composites are one or two services that are bound together in a new service. Complex composites are many layers of services that are bound together, perhaps a composite that's made up of other composites. New autonomous services are services that are created for a single purpose such as a Web service, and are typically not based on other services (non-composite).

Transactional services can be a simple or complex composite, or even new autonomous, but they support transactional characteristics including ACID. For those of you who have not seen ACID as many times as I have, Atomicity refers to the "all or nothing" quality of transactions. The transaction either completes, or it does not. Consistency refers to the fact that the system is always in a consistent state, regardless of whether or not it completes the transaction. Isolation refers to the transaction's ability to work independently of other transactions that may be running in the same environment. Durability means that the transaction, once committed and complete, can survive system failures. With new standards such as WS Transaction, the way in which you build a transactional service should be more consistent. For now, developers are taking their own unique approaches, typically leveraging TP monitors or application servers.

Data services, as you might expect, are services that are built to produce and consume data. These could be Web service abstractions on top of call level interfaces, or simple services exposed out of an ERP system that produces data. These are very simplistic services, with schemas, access controls, and the encapsulated data. These services are almost always built on top of a relational database, but other database types are leveraged as well. Moreover, through a data services abstraction layer, you can emulate database types to meet the needs of your SOA.

Lightweight services, as the name implies, means that you're doing things with a light volume (typically fewer than 10 invocations or messages-per-second), and the size of the message that the service is passing is small (typically less than 50 KB). Heavyweight services, in contrast, do heavy volumes (greater than 10 invocations or messages-per-second, but more typically 100-300 invocations and message-per-second), and can transmit and consume huge messages.

Second, Experiment and Test
Many of those who focus on the discipline of performance within complex distributed systems such as SOA will first steer you toward modeling. Unfortunately, we don't know enough about how services behave to model how they will perform, so it's a good idea to test the services that will make up your SOA before you build your performance model; otherwise, you're just guessing.

So, how do you test services you've not yet built? It's called a "proof-of-concept," meaning you stand up very raw and simplistic versions of the services (either existing abstractions or new services) for the purpose of proving that they work and to illustrate their operational characteristics. This is typically done in parallel with existing design work, and the proof-of-concept is largely a throw away after you gather your data, but nonetheless it's important to your understanding of the final product before you complete the design and development.

Testing services, even proof-of-concept services, means that you simulate operational characteristics during the test, or, how you intend to leverage the service. You do this by building or buying test harnesses that can load the service as needed for testing. You should utilize low use, medium use, and high use scenarios to determine how the service behaves under an increasing load, and make sure you have some sort of monitoring mechanism to gather the data for analysis.

What you'll find, in most cases, is that the service will reach a saturation point where performance drops off significantly as the load increases. The saturation point is largely dependent on the patterns of the service. For instance, transactional service should be able to support a much higher load than lightweight services.

Next month we'll expand our discussion to the next steps, including: creation of a performance model, and design, monitoring, and optimizing performance of services after they exist in your SOA.

More Stories By David Linthicum

Dave Linthicum is Sr. VP at Cloud Technology Partners, and an internationally known cloud computing and SOA expert. He is a sought-after consultant, speaker, and blogger. In his career, Dave has formed or enhanced many of the ideas behind modern distributed computing including EAI, B2B Application Integration, and SOA, approaches and technologies in wide use today. In addition, he is the Editor-in-Chief of SYS-CON's Virtualization Journal.

For the last 10 years, he has focused on the technology and strategies around cloud computing, including working with several cloud computing startups. His industry experience includes tenure as CTO and CEO of several successful software and cloud computing companies, and upper-level management positions in Fortune 500 companies. In addition, he was an associate professor of computer science for eight years, and continues to lecture at major technical colleges and universities, including University of Virginia and Arizona State University. He keynotes at many leading technology conferences, and has several well-read columns and blogs. Linthicum has authored 10 books, including the ground-breaking "Enterprise Application Integration" and "B2B Application Integration." You can reach him at [email protected] Or follow him on Twitter. Or view his profile on LinkedIn.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

Most Recent Comments
David Linthicum 06/28/05 12:41:32 PM EDT

Designing Services for Performance - Keep Your Web Services Up. Performance is often an afterthought when building new systems, and I'm finding that services are no exception. Truth be told, most services out there just function. They are not optimized to scale, and SOAs are running into walls as those services hit the upper limit. If we don't learn to solve this problem, many SOAs simply won't get off the ground.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
identify the sources of event storms and performance anomalies will require automated, real-time root-cause analysis. I think Enterprise Management Associates said it well: “The data and metrics collected at instrumentation points across the application ecosystem are essential to performance monitoring and root cause analysis. However, analytics capable of transforming data and metrics into an application-focused report or dashboards are what separates actual application monitoring from relat...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
DevOps teams have more on their plate than ever. As infrastructure needs grow, so does the time required to ensure that everything's running smoothly. This makes automation crucial - especially in the server and network monitoring world. Server monitoring tools can save teams time by automating server management and providing real-time performance updates. As budgets reset for the New Year, there is no better time to implement a new server monitoring tool (or re-evaluate your current solution)....
The benefits of automation are well documented; it increases productivity, cuts cost and minimizes errors. It eliminates repetitive manual tasks, freeing us up to be more innovative. By that logic, surely, we should automate everything possible, right? So, is attempting to automate everything a sensible - even feasible - goal? In a word: no. Consider this your short guide as to what to automate and what not to automate.
Cavirin Systems has just announced C2, a SaaS offering designed to bring continuous security assessment and remediation to hybrid environments, containers, and data centers. Cavirin C2 is deployed within Amazon Web Services (AWS) and features a flexible licensing model for easy scalability and clear pay-as-you-go pricing. Although native to AWS, it also supports assessment and remediation of virtual or container instances within Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or on-premise. By dr...
Let's do a visualization exercise. Imagine it's December 31, 2018, and you're ringing in the New Year with your friends and family. You think back on everything that you accomplished in the last year: your company's revenue is through the roof thanks to the success of your product, and you were promoted to Lead Developer. 2019 is poised to be an even bigger year for your company because you have the tools and insight to scale as quickly as demand requires. You're a happy human, and it's not just...
"Opsani helps the enterprise adopt containers, help them move their infrastructure into this modern world of DevOps, accelerate the delivery of new features into production, and really get them going on the container path," explained Ross Schibler, CEO of Opsani, and Peter Nickolov, CTO of Opsani, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
It’s “time to move on from DevOps and continuous delivery.” This was the provocative title of a recent article in ZDNet, in which Kelsey Hightower, staff developer advocate at Google Cloud Platform, suggested that “software shops should have put these concepts into action years ago.” Reading articles like this or listening to talks at most DevOps conferences might make you think that we’re entering a post-DevOps world. But vast numbers of organizations still struggle to start and drive transfo...
The nature of test environments is inherently temporary—you set up an environment, run through an automated test suite, and then tear down the environment. If you can reduce the cycle time for this process down to hours or minutes, then you may be able to cut your test environment budgets considerably. The impact of cloud adoption on test environments is a valuable advancement in both cost savings and agility. The on-demand model takes advantage of public cloud APIs requiring only payment for t...
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
While we understand Agile as a means to accelerate innovation, manage uncertainty and cope with ambiguity, many are inclined to think that it conflicts with the objectives of traditional engineering projects, such as building a highway, skyscraper or power plant. These are plan-driven and predictive projects that seek to avoid any uncertainty. This type of thinking, however, is short-sighted. Agile approaches are valuable in controlling uncertainty because they constrain the complexity that ste...
"We're developing a software that is based on the cloud environment and we are providing those services to corporations and the general public," explained Seungmin Kim, CEO/CTO of SM Systems Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The cloud revolution in enterprises has very clearly crossed the phase of proof-of-concepts into a truly mainstream adoption. One of most popular enterprise-wide initiatives currently going on are “cloud migration” programs of some kind or another. Finding business value for these programs is not hard to fathom – they include hyperelasticity in infrastructure consumption, subscription based models, and agility derived from rapid speed of deployment of applications. These factors will continue to...
"This all sounds great. But it's just not realistic." This is what a group of five senior IT executives told me during a workshop I held not long ago. We were working through an exercise on the organizational characteristics necessary to successfully execute a digital transformation, and the group was doing their ‘readout.' The executives loved everything we discussed and agreed that if such an environment existed, it would make transformation much easier. They just didn't believe it was reali...
"CA has been doing a lot of things in the area of DevOps. Now we have a complete set of tool sets in order to enable customers to go all the way from planning to development to testing down to release into the operations," explained Aruna Ravichandran, Vice President of Global Marketing and Strategy at CA Technologies, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
We just came off of a review of a product that handles both containers and virtual machines in the same interface. Under the covers, implementation of containers defaults to LXC, though recently Docker support was added. When reading online, or searching for information, increasingly we see “Container Management” products listed as competitors to Docker, when in reality things like Rocket, LXC/LXD, and Virtualization are Dockers competitors. After doing some looking around, we have decided tha...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Many enterprise and government IT organizations are realizing the benefits of cloud computing by extending IT delivery and management processes across private and public cloud services. But they are often challenged with balancing the need for centralized cloud governance without stifling user-driven innovation. This strategy requires an approach that fundamentally reshapes how IT is delivered today, shifting the focus from infrastructure to services aggregation, and mixing and matching the bes...