|By Mahesh K Punjabi||
|October 11, 2011 12:00 PM EDT||
Object Relational Technologies form the backbone of most of the enterprise Java applications. Choosing the appropriate technology however is one of the most important decisions for an enterprise architect. More often than not, such a decision is either a hit or miss. Mistakes done in selecting the appropriate technology results in performance bottlenecks, lack of scalability, unreliable transaction handling etc.
More than the problem with the specific ORM technology, it's the suitability of that technology to the underlying business needs and non-functional requirements. This article aims to establish an objective architecture evaluation framework for evaluating which ORM technology best fits your project needs. Based on the requirements, one or the other technology may be appropriate.
For an ORM framework to be flexible, the following considerations are important
- Do multiple options exist to access and manipulate data
Should the project need multiple ways to access data. This would include object based way of querying data, using native SQL, using ORM specific natural query language. The architect must decide the importance of each of these methods and evaluate this parameter.
- Does the ORM tool supports extending the various default data types, with user defined data types
Project needs change and so there are requirements to add custom data types. The ORM tool must support this feature, should you envisage the changing needs of your project.
- Ability to invoke interceptors on the data before it is saved, accessed or deleted
Enterprise projects often need to add additional business validations or business logic over a period of time. Many of these changes need to be cross-functional. The ORM tool must have mechanism to intercept requests and inject such validations. This is an important factor if you foresee changes happening after the production deployment.
- Programmatic and Declarative Configurations
The ORM framework must provide multiple ways for it to be configured. This is important again from the perspective of how flexible the tool needs to be.
Ease of Development
- Ability to create domain model from the database tables
This is an important consideration if you already have database tables and you need to create domain model out of it through automatic code generation. The ORM framework must provide the appropriate utility for doing that.
- Ability to generate database tables from the domain model
This is an important factor when the domain model has already been created as part of MDD and database needs to be created. This would ensure that there are minimal errors during generation of database schema
- Ability to specify natural query language for retrieval
Typically ORM tools provide a criteria API to fire object oriented queries. However based on development experience, it is understood that this is not the best way of visualizing large and complex queries. If this is a criteria important for your project, you must ensure the availability of natural query language with the ORM tool. Support for native SQL is also important under this consideration
- Support for JTA transactions
An enterprise ORM framework must support JTA transactions. This support should be both declarative as well as programmatic. This is the most important consideration for evaluating the reliability of the platform as incorrect transaction handling would be catastrophic
- Support for Batch Processing
Looping through individual transactions for batch processing is a perfect way to crash your system. The ORM tool must support JDBC Batch updates for batch processing.
- Support for Caching
Caching is important both from scalability as well as reliability perspective. Support for integrating third party cache should be an important consideration for all enterprise projects. The cache support must be distributable across the cluster as well
Scalability and Performance
- Ability to use container or third party connection pools
Connection pools should provide ability to scale up to increased load
- Ability to support legacy code
If you need support for legacy code, the ORM tool must support native invocation of stored procedures
- Ability to optimize queries for performance
It is very difficult to optimize a two page query written using criteria API. Infact for many complex scenarios for an enterprise application, there is a need to fire native SQL queries. These queries are also easy to optimize especially by the DBAs. If performance is a critical requirement, this factor must be considered
- Ability to cache queries and query results
This is an important criterion for scalability
- Ability to modify domain model or DB model with minimal changes to underlying code
This is an important factor if you foresee such changes
- Ability to log the framework internals
During development as well as during production failures, there is an urgent need to debug to identify the issue. Many a times the issue may lie with the ORM framework itself. This is an important consideration for any enterprise application.
- Integration with JMX for runtime statistics
If instrumenting the application during production under consideration, this is a must have feature for your ORM tool.
- Ability to support multiple relationships
These would include one-to-many, many-to-many and many-to-one relationships
- Ability to support lazy loading
This is important when you need to eagerly load a chain of nested objects. This feature is useful when underlying data store is not huge.
- Ability to support sorting and pagination
These features are a must for search based applications
- Declarative security
Authorizing different users to execute different queries can easily be achieved using this framework.
- Support for Dynamic SQL
For any non-trivial application dynamic SQL is a must
An enterprise architect can use the above criteria to evaluate the most suitable ORM framework for his application. Each of the criteria should be judged with respect to the application requirements. A scoring model which gives weightage to respective parameters and computes the final scores for each of the applicable ORM tools is the right procedure to use the above architectural framework.
Early in my DevOps Journey, I was introduced to a book of great significance circulating within the Web Operations industry titled The Phoenix Project. (You can read our review of Gene’s book, if interested.) Written as a novel and loosely based on many of the same principles explored in The Goal, this book has been read and referenced by many who have adopted DevOps into their continuous improvement and software delivery processes around the world. As I began planning my travel schedule last...
Aug. 27, 2015 11:45 PM EDT Reads: 491
Skeuomorphism usually means retaining existing design cues in something new that doesn’t actually need them. However, the concept of skeuomorphism can be thought of as relating more broadly to applying existing patterns to new technologies that, in fact, cry out for new approaches. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gordon Haff, Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager at Red Hat, discussed why containers should be paired with new architectural practices such as microservices rathe...
Aug. 27, 2015 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 350
It’s been proven time and time again that in tech, diversity drives greater innovation, better team productivity and greater profits and market share. So what can we do in our DevOps teams to embrace diversity and help transform the culture of development and operations into a true “DevOps” team? In her session at DevOps Summit, Stefana Muller, Director, Product Management – Continuous Delivery at CA Technologies, answered that question citing examples, showing how to create opportunities for ...
Aug. 27, 2015 05:45 PM EDT Reads: 439
Any Ops team trying to support a company in today’s cloud-connected world knows that a new way of thinking is required – one just as dramatic than the shift from Ops to DevOps. The diversity of modern operations requires teams to focus their impact on breadth vs. depth. In his session at DevOps Summit, Adam Serediuk, Director of Operations at xMatters, Inc., will discuss the strategic requirements of evolving from Ops to DevOps, and why modern Operations has begun leveraging the “NoOps” approa...
Aug. 27, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 303
In today's digital world, change is the one constant. Disruptive innovations like cloud, mobility, social media, and the Internet of Things have reshaped the market and set new standards in customer expectations. To remain competitive, businesses must tap the potential of emerging technologies and markets through the rapid release of new products and services. However, the rigid and siloed structures of traditional IT platforms and processes are slowing them down – resulting in lengthy delivery ...
Aug. 27, 2015 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 510
The Microservices architectural pattern promises increased DevOps agility and can help enable continuous delivery of software. This session is for developers who are transforming existing applications to cloud-native applications, or creating new microservices style applications. In his session at DevOps Summit, Jim Bugwadia, CEO of Nirmata, will introduce best practices, patterns, challenges, and solutions for the development and operations of microservices style applications. He will discuss ...
Aug. 27, 2015 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 492
In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ernest Mueller, Product Manager at Idera, will explain the best practices and lessons learned for tracking and optimizing costs while delivering a cloud-hosted service. He will describe a DevOps approach where the applications and systems work together to track usage, model costs in a granular fashion, and make smart decisions at runtime to minimize costs. The trickier parts covered include triggering off the right metrics; balancing resilience and redundancy ...
Aug. 27, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 103
Docker containerization is increasingly being used in production environments. How can these environments best be monitored? Monitoring Docker containers as if they are lightweight virtual machines (i.e., monitoring the host from within the container), with all the common metrics that can be captured from an operating system, is an insufficient approach. Docker containers can’t be treated as lightweight virtual machines; they must be treated as what they are: isolated processes running on hosts....
Aug. 27, 2015 01:30 PM EDT
Before becoming a developer, I was in the high school band. I played several brass instruments - including French horn and cornet - as well as keyboards in the jazz stage band. A musician and a nerd, what can I say? I even dabbled in writing music for the band. Okay, mostly I wrote arrangements of pop music, so the band could keep the crowd entertained during Friday night football games. What struck me then was that, to write parts for all the instruments - brass, woodwind, percussion, even k...
Aug. 27, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 339
Whether you like it or not, DevOps is on track for a remarkable alliance with security. The SEC didn’t approve the merger. And your boss hasn’t heard anything about it. Yet, this unruly triumvirate will soon dominate and deliver DevSecOps faster, cheaper, better, and on an unprecedented scale. In his session at DevOps Summit, Frank Bunger, VP of Customer Success at ScriptRock, will discuss how this cathartic moment will propel the DevOps movement from such stuff as dreams are made on to a prac...
Aug. 27, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 165
SYS-CON Events announced today that G2G3 will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Based on a collective appreciation for user experience, design, and technology, G2G3 is uniquely qualified and motivated to redefine how organizations and people engage in an increasingly digital world.
Aug. 27, 2015 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 394
SYS-CON Events announced today that DataClear Inc. will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The DataClear ‘BlackBox’ is the only solution that moves your PC, browsing and data out of the United States and away from prying (and spying) eyes. Its solution automatically builds you a clean, on-demand, virus free, new virtual cloud based PC outside of the United States, and wipes it clean...
Aug. 27, 2015 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 308
What does “big enough” mean? It’s sometimes useful to argue by reductio ad absurdum. Hello, world doesn’t need to be broken down into smaller services. At the other extreme, building a monolithic enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is just asking for trouble: it’s too big, and it needs to be decomposed.
Aug. 27, 2015 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 298
Several years ago, I was a developer in a travel reservation aggregator. Our mission was to pull flight and hotel data from a bunch of cryptic reservation platforms, and provide it to other companies via an API library - for a fee. That was before companies like Expedia standardized such things. We started with simple methods like getFlightLeg() or addPassengerName(), each performing a small, well-understood function. But our customers wanted bigger, more encompassing services that would "do ...
Aug. 27, 2015 08:15 AM EDT Reads: 154
The pricing of tools or licenses for log aggregation can have a significant effect on organizational culture and the collaboration between Dev and Ops teams. Modern tools for log aggregation (of which Logentries is one example) can be hugely enabling for DevOps approaches to building and operating business-critical software systems. However, the pricing of an aggregated logging solution can affect the adoption of modern logging techniques, as well as organizational capabilities and cross-team ...
Aug. 27, 2015 07:15 AM EDT Reads: 338
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
Aug. 27, 2015 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 246
DevOps has traditionally played important roles in development and IT operations, but the practice is quickly becoming core to other business functions such as customer success, business intelligence, and marketing analytics. Modern marketers today are driven by data and rely on many different analytics tools. They need DevOps engineers in general and server log data specifically to do their jobs well. Here’s why: Server log files contain the only data that is completely full and accurate in th...
Aug. 27, 2015 02:45 AM EDT Reads: 302
Brands are more than the sum of their brand elements – logos, colors, shapes, and the like. Brands are promises. Promises from a company to its customers that its products will deliver the value and experience customers expect. Today, digital is transforming enterprises across numerous industries. As companies become software-driven organizations, their brands transform into digital brands. But if brands are promises, then what do digital brands promise – and how do those promises differ from ...
Aug. 26, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 410
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advance...
Aug. 26, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 161
We chat again with Jason Bloomberg, a leading industry analyst and expert on achieving digital transformation by architecting business agility in the enterprise. He writes for Forbes, Wired, TechBeacon, and his biweekly newsletter, the Cortex. As president of Intellyx, he advises business executives on their digital transformation initiatives and delivers training on Agile Architecture. His latest book is The Agile Architecture Revolution. Check out his first interview on Agile trends here.
Aug. 24, 2015 07:15 AM EDT Reads: 486