A starter for ten.

It seems in this increasingly twitter fuelled world that anyone starting a blog must be certified. Surely the world can’t read more than 140 characters anymore, why bother making them? Well always one to buck the trend, I thought it might be a good time to start a blog.

Hmm a blog, what should it be on? ArcGIS, nope plenty of those, Programming, nope loads of those also. GeoNerdRage? Nope I can name a few of those also 🙂

So in order to start this blog I decided on the theme of performance and scalability, the architecture of such and the technologies that can help people design and develop solutions for performance and analyze the problems when things go wrong.

The need for performance

To me this is an increasingly important topic as a lot of spatial systems beyond simple mapping sites to solutions that integrate into key business applications within an organisation. Microsoft, SAP and Oracle all provide the big systems that power enterprises and GI is often stored within them or integrated alongside them to provide information the organisations use to make business decisions. In the past it has often just been a challenge to get the systems to work together at all, but with the move towards SOA and recently REST based services, it is increasingly easy to call systems and tie services together to improve the decision making process. In order for this process to be seamless they system also must be quick and perform under load and continue to perform even when the system grows with greater capacity.

The quandary is that as systems become more complex and solutions integrate together the design choices become increasingly important. The solutions we could get away with in the past with simple mapping applications become more challenging when integrating SOAP services with SAP, or scaling an editing application up to hundreds of concurrent web users. It can be done and that is where a constant approach for working performance into any design and monitoring the performance of any system at a variety of levels throughout the development process and into deployment stages.

How you do that and how you monitor it I’ll leave to future posts but much of the process can be found at a high level in the following documents:

Performance-Driven Software Development – Carey Schwaber (Forrester report can be found elsewhere on the internet for free if you register)

And the excellent

Performance Testing Guidance for Web Applications – Microsoft Patterns and Practices

Enjoy the ride…..

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