Microservices Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Mehdi Daoudi, Flint Brenton, Gordon Haff

Related Topics: Java IoT, Microservices Expo

Java IoT: Article

Patterns for Building High Performance Applications

Finding the right approach

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

Latency Contributors

  • 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.

  • Bring Data closer to Application – Data needs to be close to the application so that making all those Database connection calls and getting data from DB can be reduced. Application can cache data to reduce the calls to DB. One can also use cache servers like memcached / ehCache to cache data at the Web/application Tier. Web Tier can cache data like static HTML fragments/images/javascript/CSS files. Application Tier can cache non-transactional data (like lookup maps). OR Mapping tools like Hibernate also support data caching. If it is an Internet Web Application, one can also make use of CDN (content delivery networks)/ Edge Networks (like Akamai) to speed up the delivery of static content.

  • 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.

More Stories By Tech Spot

Founded in 2005, Tech Spot has grown into a leading source of information on Cloud Computing, Big Data, DevOps, Internet of Things and Microservices.

Bloggers - Munish K Gupta, Aravind Ajad Yarra

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
"We started a Master of Science in business analytics - that's the hot topic. We serve the business community around San Francisco so we educate the working professionals and this is where they all want to be," explained Judy Lee, Associate Professor and Department Chair at Golden Gate University, 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.
For over a decade, Application Programming Interface or APIs have been used to exchange data between multiple platforms. From social media to news and media sites, most websites depend on APIs to provide a dynamic and real-time digital experience. APIs have made its way into almost every device and service available today and it continues to spur innovations in every field of technology. There are multiple programming languages used to build and run applications in the online world. And just li...
The general concepts of DevOps have played a central role advancing the modern software delivery industry. With the library of DevOps best practices, tips and guides expanding quickly, it can be difficult to track down the best and most accurate resources and information. In order to help the software development community, and to further our own learning, we reached out to leading industry analysts and asked them about an increasingly popular tenet of a DevOps transformation: collaboration.
We call it DevOps but much of the time there’s a lot more discussion about the needs and concerns of developers than there is about other groups. There’s a focus on improved and less isolated developer workflows. There are many discussions around collaboration, continuous integration and delivery, issue tracking, source code control, code review, IDEs, and xPaaS – and all the tools that enable those things. Changes in developer practices may come up – such as developers taking ownership of code ...
The dynamic nature of the cloud means that change is a constant when it comes to modern cloud-based infrastructure. Delivering modern applications to end users, therefore, is a constantly shifting challenge. Delivery automation helps IT Ops teams ensure that apps are providing an optimal end user experience over hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments, no matter what the current state of the infrastructure is. To employ a delivery automation strategy that reflects your business rules, making r...
Cloud Governance means many things to many people. Heck, just the word cloud means different things depending on who you are talking to. While definitions can vary, controlling access to cloud resources is invariably a central piece of any governance program. Enterprise cloud computing has transformed IT. Cloud computing decreases time-to-market, improves agility by allowing businesses to adapt quickly to changing market demands, and, ultimately, drives down costs.
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
How is DevOps going within your organization? If you need some help measuring just how well it is going, we have prepared a list of some key DevOps metrics to track. These metrics can help you understand how your team is doing over time. The word DevOps means different things to different people. Some say it a culture and every vendor in the industry claims that their tools help with DevOps. Depending on how you define DevOps, some of these metrics may matter more or less to you and your team.
"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 are an integrator of carrier ethernet and bandwidth to get people to connect to the cloud, to the SaaS providers, and the IaaS providers all on ethernet," explained Paul Mako, CEO & CTO of Massive Networks, 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.
"Grape Up leverages Cloud Native technologies and helps companies build software using microservices, and work the DevOps agile way. We've been doing digital innovation for the last 12 years," explained Daniel Heckman, of Grape Up 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.
"NetApp's vision is how we help organizations manage data - delivering the right data in the right place, in the right time, to the people who need it, and doing it agnostic to what the platform is," explained Josh Atwell, Developer Advocate for NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"Outscale was founded in 2010, is based in France, is a strategic partner to Dassault Systémes and has done quite a bit of work with divisions of Dassault," explained Jackie Funk, Digital Marketing exec at Outscale, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, 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.
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...
The enterprise data storage marketplace is poised to become a battlefield. No longer the quiet backwater of cloud computing services, the focus of this global transition is now going from compute to storage. An overview of recent storage market history is needed to understand why this transition is important. Before 2007 and the birth of the cloud computing market we are witnessing today, the on-premise model hosted in large local data centers dominated enterprise storage. Key marketplace play...
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...
With continuous delivery (CD) almost always in the spotlight, continuous integration (CI) is often left out in the cold. Indeed, it's been in use for so long and so widely, we often take the model for granted. So what is CI and how can you make the most of it? This blog is intended to answer those questions. Before we step into examining CI, we need to look back. Software developers often work in small teams and modularity, and need to integrate their changes with the rest of the project code b...
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex ...