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Back to Basics: The Theory of (Performance) Relativity
Choice of load balancing algorithms is critical to ensuring consistent and acceptable performance

Choice of load balancing algorithms is critical to ensuring consistent and acceptable performance

One of the primary reasons folks use a Load balancer is scalability with a secondary driver of maintaining performance. We all know the data exists to prove that "seconds matter" and current users of the web have itchy fingers, ready to head for the competition the microsecond they experience any kind of delay.

Similarly, we know that productivity is inherently tied to performance. With more and more critical business functions "webified", the longer it takes to load a page the longer the delay a customer or help desk service representative experiences, reducing the number of calls or customers that can be serviced in any given measurable period.

fastest-is-relative

So performance is paramount, I see no reason to persuade you further to come to that conclusion.

Ensuring performance then is a vital operational directive. One of the ways operations tries to meet that objective is through load balancing. Distributing load ensures available and can be used to offset any latency introduced by increasing capacity (again, I don't think there's anyone who'll argue against the premise that load and performance degradation are inherently tied together).

But just adding a load balancing service isn't enough. The algorithm used to distribute load will invariably impact performance – for better or for worse.

Consider the industry standard "fastest response time" algorithm. This algorithm distributes load based on the historical performance of each instance in the pool (farm). On the surface, this seems like a good choice. After all, what you want is the fastest response time, so why not base load balancing decisions on the metric against which you are going to be measured?

The answer is simple: "fastest" is relative. With very light load on a pool of, say, three servers, "fastest" might mean sub-second responses. But as load increases and performance decreases, "fastest" might start creeping up into the seconds – if not more. Sure, you're still automagically choosing the fastest of the three servers, but "fastest" is absolutely relative to the measurements of all three servers.

Thus, "fastest response time" is probably a poor choice if one of your goals is measured in response time to the ultimate customer – unless you combine it with an upper connection limit.

HOW TO USE "FASTEST RESPONSE TIME" ALGORITHMS CORRECTLY

One of the negatives of adopting a cloud computing paradigm with a nearly religious-like zeal is that you buy into the notion that utilization is the most important metric in the data center. You simply do not want to be wasting CPU cycles, because that means you're inefficient and not leveraging cloud to its fullest potential.

Well, horse-puckey. The reality is that 100% utilization and consistently well-performing applications do not go hand in hand. Period. You can have one, but not the other. You're going to have to choose which is more important a measurement – fast applications or full utilization.

operational axiom 2

In the six years I spent load testing everything from web applications to web application firewalls to load balancers to XML gateways one axiom always, always, remained true:

As load increases performance decreases.

You're welcome to test and retest and retest again to prove that wrong, but good luck. I've never seen performance increase or even stay the same as utilization approaches 100%.

Now, once you accept that reality you can use it to your advantage. You know that performance is going to decrease as load increases, you just don't know at what point the degradation will become unacceptable to your users. So you need to test to find that breaking point. You want to stress the application and measure the degradation, noting the number of concurrent connections at which performance starts to degrade into unacceptable territory. That is your connection limit.

Keep track of that limit (for the application, specifically, because not all applications will have the same limits). When you configure your load balancing service you can now select fastest response time but you also need to input hard connection limits on a per-instance basis. This prevents each instance from passing through the load-performance confluence that causes end-users to start calling up the help desk or sighing "the computer is slow" while on the phone with their customers.

This means testing. Not once, not twice, but at least three runs. Make sure you've found the right load-performance confluence point and write it down. On your hand, in permanent marker.

While cloud computing and virtualization have certainly simplified load balancing services in terms of deployment, it's still up to you to figure out the right settings and configuration options to ensure that your applications are performing with the appropriate levels of "fast".

Read the original blog entry...

About Lori MacVittie
Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

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Cloud Expo - Cloud Looms Large on SYS-CON.TV


Cloud Expo 2013 East Opening Keynote by IBM
In this Cloud Expo Keynote, Danny Sabbah, CTO & General Manager, Next Generation Platform, will detail the critical architectural considerations and success factors organizations must internalize to successfully implement, optimize and innovate using next generation architectures.
Lisa Larson, Vice President of Enterprise Cloud Solutions of Rackspace Hosting Live From New York City
In the old world of IT, if you didn't have hardware capacity or the budget to buy more, your project was dead in the water. Budget constraints can leave some of the best, most creative and most ingenious innovations on the cutting room floor. It's a true dilemma for developers and innovators – why spend the time creating, when a project could be abandoned in a blink? That was the old world. In the new world of IT, developers rule. They have access to resources they can spin up instantly. A hybrid cloud ignites innovation and empowers developers to focus on what they need. A hybrid cloud blends the best of all worlds, public cloud, private cloud and dedicated servers to fit the needs of developers and offer the ideal environment for each app and workload without the constraints of a one-size-fits-all cloud.

Keynote: Driving Cloud Innovation: SSDs Change Cloud Storage Paradigm
Cloud is a transformational shift in computing that can have a powerful effect on enterprise IT when designed correctly and used to its full potential. Join Citrix in a discussion that centers on building, connecting and empowering users with cloud services and hear examples of how enterprises are solving real-world business challenges with an architecture and solution purpose-built for the cloud.

Go Beyond IaaS to Deliver "Anything As a Service"
Many organizations want to expand upon the IaaS foundation to deliver cloud services in all forms—software, mobility, infrastructure and IT. Understanding the strategy, planning process and tools for this transformation will help catalyze changes in the way the business operates and deliver real value. Join us to learn about the new ITaaS model and how to begin the transformation.


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SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust...
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Testimonials
Cloud Expo was a fantastic event for CSS Corp - we easily exceeded our objectives for engaging with clients and prospects."
AHMAR ABBAS
SVP, Global Infrastructure Management, CSS Corp.
 
With our launch at Cloud Expo, we successfully transformed the company from a relatively unknown European player into the dominant player in the market. Our competitors were taken by surprise and just blown away. We got a huge number of really high quality leads..."
PETE MALCOLM
CEO, Abiquo
 
We were extremely pleased with Cloud Expo this year - I’d say it exceeded expectations all around. This is the same info we got from partners who attended as well. Nice job!"
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Cloud Expo helps focus the debate on the critical issues at hand in effect connecting main street with the next frontier."

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@CloudExpo Blogs
Matt and I first met in the Summer of 2014 at DevOpsDays Minneapolis. My first introduction came when he (and several other DoD alums) participated in an impressive round of DevOps Karaoke. Matt gave an IGNITE talk on day two of the event titled “How to Hire Your First DevOp” as well. I learned during that event that he co-hosted a DevOps specific podcast that was gaining in popularity. It made perfect sense. Not long after Minneapolis, I began trading emails with the organizers of DevOpsDays Chicago when I learned that Matt was a co-organizer for that event. VictorOps (and myself) definitely...
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "First Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. The “Second Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place November 3-5, 2015, at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
ThingsExpo New York is offering a limited time FREE "Expo Plus" registration option in New York. On site registration price of $1,95 will be set to 'free' for delegates who register during special offer. To take advantage of this opportunity, attendees can use the coupon code, and secure their registration to attend all keynotes, ThingsExpo sessions, expo floor, and SYS-CON.tv power panels. Special FREE registration givess access to all DevOps, Containers and Microservices sessions as well. Registration page is located at the ThingsExpo site.
DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo New York is offering a limited time FREE "Expo Plus" registration option in New York. On site registration price of $1,95 will be set to 'free' for delegates who register during special offer. To take advantage of this opportunity, attendees can use the coupon code, and secure their registration to attend all keynotes, @DevOpsSummit sessions at Cloud Expo, expo floor, and SYS-CON.tv power panels. Special FREE registration givess access to all Containers and Microservices sessions. Registration page is located at the DevOps Summit site. Your DevOps Summit registratio...
Right off the bat, Newman advises that we should "think of microservices as a specific approach for SOA in the same way that XP or Scrum are specific approaches for Agile Software development". These analogies are very interesting because my expectation was that microservices is a pattern. So I might infer that microservices is a set of process techniques as opposed to an architectural approach. Yet in the book, Newman clearly includes some elements of concept model and architecture as well as process and organization.
There’s no point in Googling the term ‘digital blurring’ because it doesn’t really exist. Except that it does… and we all have a pretty good idea of what it means. The bad news is that there are several kinds of digital blurring going on. The good news is that they are all digital and so they are all characteristically of the same genus and species. We see digital blurring currently distorting the boundaries between IT and the business function. As a result we find that firms are staring to create new ‘Chief Digital Officer’ roles in an attempt to provide a bridging point across the business...
The Open Group panel discusses what constitutes a good standard, or set of standards, and how organizations can work to better detect misdeeds. How can global enterprise cybersecurity be improved for better enterprise integrity and risk mitigation? What constitutes a good standard, or set of standards, to help? And how can organizations work to better detect misdeeds, rather than have attackers on their networks for months before being discovered?

Let's just nip the conflation of these terms in the bud, shall we?

"MIcro" is big these days. Both microservices and microsegmentation are having and will continue to have an impact on data center architecture, but not necessarily for the same reasons. There's a growing trend in which folks - particularly those with a network background - conflate the two and use them to mean the same thing.

They are not.

One is about the application. The other, the network. There is a relationship, but it's a voluntary one. They are two very different things and we need to ...

Business leadership is both science and art. The scientific aspects revolve around finance, organization, products and service. Artistic aspects include relationships, market trajectories and business strategies. While many focus on the science through books and training, the art of business is best learned from real practitioners. That is why I jumped at the chance to meet Dimension Data's Steve Nola during the company's analyst event, Perspectives 2015, in Prague, Czech Republic. Steve is the company's ITaaS Group Executive and prior to this, served separate stints as Chief Executive Officer...
It was recently revealed that Linux-powered drones were released which has unveiled a new frontier for open source software. Drone control, once limited to proprietary software, has now entered the open source realm. This opens up new possibilities of more flexible platforms for many Internet-connected objects as well as sparking conversation among the open source community about its potential relationship with the Internet of Things (IoT). Open source software has allowed drone builders and programmers to create a platform using a free open source software development kit. In some cases, i...
I’ve been thinking a bit about microservices (μServices) recently. My immediate reaction is to think: “Isn’t this just yet another new term for the same stuff, Web Services->SOA->APIs->Microservices?” Followed shortly by the thought, “well yes it is, but there are some important differences/distinguishing factors.” Microservices is an evolutionary paradigm born out of the need for simplicity (i.e., get away from the ESB) and alignment with agile (think DevOps) and scalable (think Containerization) development and deployment architectures. Martin Fowler and James Lewis defined nine core charac...
Many people recognize DevOps as an enormous benefit – faster application deployment, automated toolchains, support of more granular updates, better cooperation across groups. However, less appreciated is the journey enterprise IT groups need to make to achieve this outcome. The plain fact is that established IT processes reflect a very different set of goals: stability, infrequent change, hands-on administration, and alignment with ITIL. So how does an enterprise IT organization implement change to achieve DevOps outcomes? Bernard Golden sat down with Andi Mann, VP in the Office of Strategic...
I was recently in Boston at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, and with the long-awaited warm weather, all the street entertainers were in full force. Singers, musicians, and a variety of juggling acts filled the street, with crowds surrounding them. One act in particular struck a chord with me – the classic spinning plates. We’ve all seen it at various times in our lives. The entertainer started spinning plates, balanced precariously on top of wooden sticks. More and more plates started spinning with the entertainer frantically running back and forth as one started to slow down, almost fall, but, just...
On March 18, 2015, system administrators and developers received ominous news: two high severity vulnerabilities in OpenSSL would be announced the next day. Since Heartbleed, OpenSSL had been on a bad streak, and it looked like things were only going to get worse. Operations, development, and security teams braced for impact and then– it wasn't really that bad. One issue was about the downgrade to export RSA vulnerability and the other was about susceptibility to DoS attacks. The RSA export was a serious problem, but it had been known for months and was just being officially reclassified as...
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Past SYS-CON Events
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    Cloud Expo East
cloudcomputingexpo
2010east.sys-con.com

 
    Virtualization Expo East
virtualizationconference
2010east.sys-con.com
    Cloud Expo West
cloudcomputingexpo
2009west.sys-con.com

 
    Virtualization Expo West
virtualizationconference
2009west.sys-con.com
    GovIT Expo
govitexpo.com
 
    Cloud Expo Europe
cloudexpoeurope2009.sys-con.com
 

Cloud Expo 2011 Allstar Conference Faculty

S.F.S.
Dell

Singer
NRO

Pereyra
Oracle

Ryan
OpSource

Butte
PwC

Leone
Oracle

Riley
AWS

Varia
AWS

Lye
Oracle

O'Connor
AppZero

Crandell
RightScale

Nucci
Dell Boomi

Hillier
CiRBA

Morrison
Layer 7 Tech

Robbins
NYT

Schwarz
Oracle

What The Enterprise IT World Says About Cloud Expo
 
"We had extremely positive feedback from both customers and prospects that attended the show and saw live demos of NaviSite's enterprise cloud based services."
  –William Toll
Sr. Director, Marketing & Strategic Alliances
Navisite
 


 
"More and better leads than ever expected! I have 4-6 follow ups personally."
  –Richard Wellner
Chief Scientist
Univa UD
 


 
"Good crowd, good questions. The event looked very successful."
  –Simon Crosby
CTO
Citrix Systems
 


 
"It's the largest cloud computing conference I've ever seen."
  –David Linthicum
CTO
Brick Group