Tuesday, November 20, 2007

WebSphere SIP Performance and Enterprise QoS helps AT&T

Another effort from the my performance team members is documented in the latest IBM press release.

This effort shows how:

  1. WebSphere Application Server is leading the way in critical new technologies (SIP)
  2. The WebSphere Application Server has performance that is not only leading, but also carrier-grade while being enterprise capable - including High Availability.
  3. Our commitment to driving open and trusted industry standard benchmarking

In WebSphere Application Server 6.1, we added support for the IETF Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). SIP is a request/response protocol for negotiating communication between two endpoints that has been widely adopted in the telecommunications industry. SIP is useful in Voice Over IP (VOIP), web click to call, conferencing, interactive voice response systems, instant messaging, and presence applications.

Below is a basic example of a session initiation between two parties. It shows a swim lane diagram of user@ibm.com starting a discussion with user@example.com with proxies inline to negotiate the session.

In the press release, we announce how AT&T plans to use our SIP technology:

"AT&T is using IBM WebSphere Application Server and BladeCenter systems as a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) service logic execution environment platform to develop mission-critical services for deployment on AT&T's IP-based network."

The features needed to support AT&T include not only SIP, but also technology that makes such latency dependent applications such as VOIP possible, along with enterprise class high availability. Also, performance is quite important. Also mentioned in the press release, we detail an internal SIP benchmark we ran along with the results:

"IBM's WebSphere Application Server delivers telecom class infrastructures with a focus on SIP features. It is a carrier-grade application server that utilizes a converged HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and SIP container. It allows service providers to quickly offer new personalized and productivity enhancing services that subscribers demand. WebSphere Application Server using Red Hat Linux and integrated in the IBM BladeCenter HT chassis, which is network equipment building systems (NEBS) compliant, has achieved an industry leading SIP performance measurement of 1296 calls per second, using a 13 message SIP call model (with 80 second hold time) which translates to over 4.6 million busy hour call attempts per blade. Using this call model, in a high availability, carrier-grade configuration, WebSphere Application Server achieved 660 calls per second per blade with session replication. These results were achieved while retaining extremely low end-to-end SIP message processing latency of under 50 milliseconds ninety five percent of the time. This exhibits the ability of WebSphere Application Server to handle the call volumes businesses demands while ensuring service quality."

What does this mean?

It means that our converged web container (supporting typical HTTP servlets, JSR 168 portlets, and now JSR 116 SIP Servlets) can perform SIP operations at carrier class speeds. We demonstrated this using an internally developed SIP call model benchmark. The benchmark is similar to benchmarks being used externally by other SIP platform vendors, but only IBM added high availability to the benchmarking scenario. IBM shows that we lead in performance where it counts – in enterprise ready high availability scenarios.

Based on my previous posts, you would assume we'd want to push SIP benchmarking to standardized benchmarking organizations so the measurements can be trusted by customers. Well, we are doing exactly that! IBM, along with other vendors, has formed a subcommittee at SPEC to develop an industry SIP benchmark. Erich Nahum (IBM) is chairing the group and has requested public feedback on the current proposal.

If you'd like to find out more about SIP, Erik Burckart has a two part article on SIP containing both an introduction to SIP as well as a guide to developing converged SIP applications.

Congrats again to my most excellent performance team members.

Update: Telephony Online coverage that includes comments on SIP performance.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The wonders of modern hardware

I was at an IBM conference a couple of weeks ago, where some new hardware ideas were being presented. Perhaps it's my engineering background, but there's something very cool about building things you can hold in your hand - and when you combine that with the latest new technological ideas (multicore, etc), it's very impressive. In that light, I'm happy to share a video that I saw recently.


Tim Francis

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Rational Application Developer

I have not posted to this blog for a while, and I can now explain why. Today, at the WebSphere Technical Conference in Vienna, we announced the upcoming availability of an open beta for the next major version of Rational Application Developer (RAD 7.5). Those of you who've read my previous posts (hi Mom!) will not be surprised by the themes we're focusing on for RAD 7.5; better support for the complete application development lifecycle, including refactoring operations and quickfixes that cover the complete Java EE programing model.

The RAD 7.5 beta also provides support for the WebSphere EJB3 feature pack, the beta for which is available now for WebSphere 6.1. The RAD support for EJB 3.0 allows us to really exploit annotation based programming models. Previous versions of the spec focused on deployment descriptors, and the matching RAD releases had advanced editors to support that. In RAD 7.5, the focus is on Java developers, and using the Java editor as a base - but extending the already powerful Eclipse editor by adding significant new function and capability to support developing an annotation based application.

The intent is simple; most developers creating applications for WebSphere are quite comfortable using Java, and we have a great Java editor in RAD/eclipse - so it's a mistake to force them to switch to a whole new environment (with wizards and graphical editors) when they want to define some aspect of server interaction (such as Web Services or EJBs). This is a natural extension to what the spec defines, but the way we're supporting that pattern within RAD is new, easy to use, and productive.

The other aspect that I'm thrilled about is just the fact that we're running an open beta, less than a year after we shipped the last major version of RAD. We're not done yet, and we have more good ideas that we're still implementing - but the code is great quality, and the performance is good... and this shows a commitment to delivering a rock solid, robust, and well performing RAD. The intent is to encourage developers to explore the product, and not feel concerned that they'll get in trouble if they try something non-standard or off the golden path.

I'm really pleased with the progress the team has made on RAD 7.5; this is going to be the best version of RAD we've ever delivered, and the open beta gives you a chance to see where we're at, comment on what you see, and help us refine the product to make it exactly what you need. You can sign up for the beta here, and there will be newsgroups available to report problems, ask questions, and give us your feedback.

Tim Francis

Monday, November 5, 2007

InfoQ interview on IBM SPECjAppServer leadership and benchmarking in general

InfoQ recently did an interview with myself and John Stecher who leads our JEE / SPECjAppServer performance work. The interview explains in further detail our work that led to the 37% leadership over both BEA and Oracle that I posted here:


Here is the interview:


Feel free to post follow-up questions here or on the InfoQ forums.

InfoQ is an excellent news site for tracking important news in enterprise computing.

SPEC is a non-profit organization that establishes, maintains and endorses standardized benchmarks to measure the performance of the newest generation of high-performance computers. Its membership comprises leading computer hardware and software vendors, universities, and research organizations worldwide. For complete details on benchmark results and the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation, please see www.spec.org/. Competitive claims reflect results published on www.spec.org as of October 03, 2007 when comparing SPECjAppServer2004 JOPS@Standard per CPU Core on all published results.