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News February 2011

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There are so many different areas of performance that a performance specialist gets exposed to, and this month we've managed to touch across almost all of them in our newsletter links. Broadly they are:

1) Understanding which tools to use (see our tips: "web profiling tools - httprof, YSlow, HTTPFox, WebScarab, Wireshark") and their strengths and weaknesses (see our news item: "Profilers are not very accurate and often disagree with each other")

2) Tuning techniques (the whole newsletter, every month!)

3) Memory and network usage (see our tool links: "HeapAnalyzer"; and our tips: "Merge images to reduce network roundtrips")

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4) Parallelizing process flow (see our tips: "Domain sharding (spreading resources across multiple domains) ...")

5) Low latency, where nowadays nanoseconds count and you could be tuning the code down to the level where you need to avoid context switches and hardware cache misses (see our news items this month: "if you are trying to get the very last bit of speed out of your system, avoiding context switches could be important")

6) The throughput arena where you are still latency sensitive but often only to the level of seconds, and it matters more that you push through a given level of requests in a particular period (see our tool links: "OPENTSDB")

7) The highly concurrent arena where every lock is a potential bottleneck and you spend your time looking for lock-free thread-safe options to eliminate stalls (see our tips: "Target stalls - use periodic stack trace acquisition (poor man's profiling) to identify when threads are stalling from multi-threading issues")

8) The UI arena where perceptions matter more than actual hard numbers (see our tips: "It can be okay for a query to be slow if it is always slow (users have adjusted their perceptions and find that adequate); variance can matter more than absolute time").

9) High availability (see our tips "Replicating data across multiple datacenters greatly improves availability because it protects against correlated failures").

I am often astonished at how useful our newsletter has always been and continues to be. So on with this month's newsletter and all our usual Java performance tools, news, and article links. Over at fasterj we have a new cartoon about Profilers disagreeing with each other; and, as usual, we have extracted tips from all of this month's referenced articles.

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Jack Shirazi

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