Monday, May 04, 2009

Performance Management - Planning for Capacity Requirements before you need it

I observe the issues some sites on the Internet have with capacity planning. Some have issues with performance management; this being a more holistic view including how the application is designed not just what is required to support it.

It is the same inside the firewall as outside. Applications are launched and underperform. Applications start underperforming over time.

I remember back to the late 80's when I was leading the architecture team building an Integrated Control System for Public Payphones for Northern Telecom. We found that the peak daily usage of payphones was just when school finished. We designed around this major peak. By buffering and staging/delaying updates we were able to greatly reduce the hardware requirements. By designing to the workload, we were able to reduce it's impact on system sizing. This was greatly valuable back then as hardware typically was half the cost of a major SI project.

These days the problem is not so much of cost, as one of not being able to just throw hardware at the performance problem. Software design and application architecture typically effect whether or not an application can scale to meet demands.

I came across this chart and it brought back memories of this project. As you can see, the peak football viewing audience is matched in occurance by mobile football activity. The pc activity is different, the usage is not the same.

What does it mean ? It means that was is and what is was.
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