Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Join me at Impact 2008 to discuss SOA Performance

I will be speaking on SOA performance at Impact 2008, the Smart SOA Conference, in Las Vegas in April. Please join me there at my session on Wednesday. The abstract for my session (1446A):

This session will discuss SOA performance as it relates to the IBM WebSphere® portfolio. The portfolio view will begin with runtime aspects including basic Web services (including the new Web Services Feature Pack). The runtime aspect focus will continue and build to choreographing and integrating these services across IBM WebSphere Process Server, WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus, WebSphere Message Broker, and the WebSphere DataPower® SOA appliance. The portfolio view will then focus on the SOA lifecycle, business activity monitoring and situation detection, and governance covering WebSphere Business Monitor and the WebSphere Service Registry and Repository. In addition, historical views on SOA performance will describe how performance has improved over the past two years. Finally, the session will discuss best performance practices when implementing SOA solutions.

I was also lucky enough to be included in a set of videos "On the Road to Impact" along with Kyle Brown on Event Processing and Ruth Willenborg on Virtualization. Go ahead and watch the videos and feel free to comment.

Monday, February 18, 2008

IBM WebSphere Application Server Total Leadership in SPECjAppServer2004

As noted in the IBM press release, we recently published a SPECjAppServer 2004 result that puts IBM on top of BEA, Oracle, and Sun for the absolutely largest SPECjAppServer 2004 throughput ever achieved. This result comes after we dominated the same competitive crowd on per cpu core performance as I blogged about previously. Both of these results matter. The per cpu core leadership shows application server performance in the most competitive light. The total configuration shows application server scalability in the most competitive light. IBM WebSphere dramatically wins both.

Some numbers from this total leadership publish:
  • The result of 14004 JOPS represents roughly 75,000 transactions per second against the DB2 database. Simply impressive.
  • The closest competitor in total throughput was Oracle at 10519. The IBM result tops that Oracle result by 33%. The IBM result tops the highest Sun result (8439) by 66%. The IBM result tops the highest BEA result (8253) by 70%.
Congrats to John Stecher and team. You can read more about the total configuration publish (and John's team) on InfoQ.

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 Competitive claims reflect results published on as of February 18, 2008 when comparing SPECjAppServer2004 JOPS on all published results as well as derived metrics calculated by SPECjAppServer2004 JOPS / Number of Application Server Processor Cores.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The facts of RAD

MyEclipse has issued a press release that mentions RAD, and may cause some confusion, so I'd like to take this chance to set the facts straight.

First of all, the transition from WSAD to RAD was purely a naming one. WSAD was delivered prior to IBM's acquisition of Rational, and RAD 6.0 was simply the next version of "WSAD" released under the Rational brand. RAD is entitled as a free upgrade to all active WSAD customers; there is no new cost - describing the transition from WSAD to RAD as complex or costly is either uninformed, or intentionally misleading.

The plumbing that formed the core of both WSAD and RAD was donated by IBM to the eclipse WTP project, to provide a defacto standard interface that others could extend - meaning that any tool extensions will work correctly and naturally with RAD. MyEclipse uses this base, so the basic project structure is the same - but the vast majority of the components that form RAD are not part of WTP; they are only available in the IBM offerings. Those value add components and functional areas are where we're spending most of our time and energy on, and that's where the real benefit of RAD comes from.

RAD 7.0, which has been available for over a year, includes comprehensive support for J2EE & Web Application developers, with support for pure spec compliant applications, as well as integration for all the WebSphere extensions - for example we don't just support JSF, we also ship and have outstanding support for the IBM JWL widget library; the latest version of JWL (which is only available with RAD) makes it fall-off-a-log easy to create an Ajax application, with no handwritten javascript at all (see for more details).

That said, simply providing spec level support is not really a differentiator today; that's why we donated the code we did to WTP. The RAD value proposition is it's ability to improve the productivity of developers across the entire development life cycle. Some examples:
  • Some other products provide simplistic support of UML, that requires iterative generation of java code, followed by import actions to keep the diagrams and code in sync. This round trip engineering approach was available back in Rational Rose, and is a long way from state of the art now. RAD provides much more than that - for example, we provide UML visualization, which allows you to view, edit, and update Java code using UML views. There's no separate model to get out of sync; you're editing the live code, but in UML.
  • All modern IDEs include support for database interaction and definition, but RAD has the benefit of working with the DB2 developers to provide exceptional support (for all major databases); RAD includes graphical views of your data topology, a SQL scrapbook, impact analysis tools, the ability to write user-defined functions (UDFs) & stored procedures, and phenomenal support for embedded SQLJ.
  • RAD has in-depth support for application profiling, analysis & testing; you can execute, monitor, and trace the flow and performance of your application, right out of the box.

Of course, we also have the benefit of working hand in hand with our IBM colleagues, to provide the very tightest integration with WebSphere. It's not hard to deploy an application to WebSphere Application Server, but only RAD includes copies of three versions of WAS, to simplify your unit testing on a "real" WebSphere server, at no additional cost. Because we actually embed the WAS server, we support both remote application deployment and local application deployment, which gives you better deployment performance because there's no copying of files necessary. RAD also includes complete support for WebSphere Portal Server, including creation wizards, views, and editors that enable you to develop, test, debug, and deploy portal and portlet applications.

When it comes to production application deployment, RAD includes an advanced Jython editor, designed to simplify the task of developing and testing WebSphere automation scripts. We also offer unique integration with the WebSphere admin console, allowing you to capture key actions in the admin console and turn them into the equivalent Jython script commands. Finally, there's an embedded Jython debugger, that will let you single step through the admin script, examine variable values, etc.

IBM remains strongly committed to RAD; the next version of RAD (7.5) has been available as an open beta since late last year; you can find more details here: As you'll see if you try this code, RAD 7.5 provides many compelling features that focus on developer efficiency such as JEE refactoring and quickfix operations, while offering enhanced integration with products from all IBM brands, but especially Rational, WebSphere, and DB2. As I said in my blog entry, I'm really pleased with the progress the team has made on RAD 7.5; even though this is just a beta, the code is great quality, the performance is good, and all early reports are extremely positive - come check it out!

Tim Francis,
WebSphere Tools & RAD Chief Architect