Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Derek Weeks, ManageEngine IT Matters

Related Topics: Agile Computing, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers

Agile Computing: Article

Top Ten Performance Problems

From Zappos, Monster, Thomson and other clients

For your reference, we've compiled a list of the Top 10 Performance Problems as we have seen them over the years when working with our clients. I hope this list is enlightening – and I’ve included follow-up links to the blogs to help better understand how to solve these problems:

#1: Too Many Database Calls
The problem we see the most are too many database query per request/transaction.

There are 3 specific phenomena to witness:

  1. More data is requested is than actually required in the context of the current transaction, e.g.: requesting all account information instead of those that we need to display on the current screen.
  2. The same data is requested multiple times. This usually happens when different components involved in the same transaction act independently from one another and each requests the same set of data. It is unknown what type of data has already been loaded in the current context so we end up with the same queries multiple times.
  3. Multiple queries are executed to retrieve a certain set of data. This is often a result of not taken full advantage of complex SQL statements or stored procedures to retrieve the data in one batch.

Further Reading: Blog on Linq2Sql Performance Issues on DatabaseVideo on Performance Anti-Patterns

#2: Synchronized to Death
There is no question that synchronization is necessary to protect shared data in an application. Too often developers make the mistake to over-synchronize, e.g.: excessively-large code sequences are synchronized. Under low load (on the local developers workstation) performance won’t be a problem. In a high-load or production environment over-synchronization results in severe performance and scalability problems.

Further Reading: How to identify synchronization problems under load

#3: Too chatty on the remoting channels
Many libraries out there make remote communication seem like a piece of cake. There is hardly any difference for the developer to call a local vs. remote method. The lack of understanding of what is really going on under the remoting-hood makes people forget about things like latency, serialization, network traffic and memory usage that come with every remoting call. The easy way of using these technologies results in too many calls across these remoting boundaries and in the end causes performance and scalability problems.

Further Reading: Performance Considerations in Distributed Applications

#4: Wrong usage of O/R-Mappers
Object-Relational Mappers take a big burden off developers’ shoulders – loading and persisting objects in the database. As with any framework there usually are many configuration options to optimize the usage of the O/R Mapper for current application use cases. Faulty settings and incorrect usage of the framework itself too often results in unexpected performance and scalability problems within these frameworks. Make sure you make yourself familiar with all options and learn about the internals of these libraries that you rely on.

Further Reads: Understanding Hibernate Session Cache, Understanding the Query Cache, Understanding the Second Level Cache

#5: Memory Leaks
Managed runtime environments such as Java and .NET have the advantage of helping with memory management by offering Garbage Collectors. A GC, however, does not prevent memory leaks. Objects that are “forgotten” will stick around in memory and ultimately lead to a memory leak that may cause an OutOfMemoryException. It is important to release object references as soon as they are no longer needed.

Further Read: Understanding and finding Memory Leaks

#6: Problematic Third-Party Code/Components
Nobody is writing all of the functionality of a new application on their own. We use existing 3rd party libraries to speed up our development process. Not only do we speed up our output – but we also increase performance risks introduced by these components. Even though most frameworks are well documented and have been thoroughly tested, there is no guarantee that these frameworks run as expected in every use case they are included. 3rd party code is often used incorrectly or in ways that have not been tested. It is therefore important to make an in-depth check of every framework before introducing it into your code.

Further Read: Top SharePoint Performance Mistakes

#7: Wasteful handling of scarce resources
Resources such as memory, CPU, I/O or the database are scarce. Wasteful handling of these resources results in lack of access to these resources by others and ultimately leads to performance and scalability issues. A good example: database connections that are kept open for too long. Connections must only be used for the time period they are really needed, e.g.: for a query – and then returned to the connection pool. We often see that connections are requested early on in the request handler and are not released until the very end which leads to a classic bottleneck situation.

Further Read: Resource Leak detection in .NET Applications

#8: Bloated web front ends
Thanks to high-speed web access many users have a better end-user experience in the World Wide Web. The downside of this trend is that many applications get packed with too much stuff – they become bloated – which ultimately leads to bad browsing behavior. Particularly  users that do not yet have high-speed internet access suffer the most. Too many images that are too large; failure to use or incorrect usage of the browser cache; or overly-aggressive usage of JavaScript/AJAX – all result in performance problems in the browser. Following the existing Best Practices on Web Site Performance Optimization can solve most of these problems:

Further Read: How Better Caching would help speed up Frankfurt Airport Web Site

#9: Wrong Cache Strategy leads to excessive Garbage Collection
Caching objects in memory to avoid constant roundtrips to the database is one way to boost performance. Caching too many objects – or objects that are hardly ever used quickly changes the advantage of caching into a disadvantage due to higher memory usage and increased GC activity. Before implementing a caching strategy you have to figure out which objects to cache and which objects not to cache in order to avoid these types of performance and scalability problems:

Further Reads: Java Memory Problems, Identify GC Bottlenecks in Distributed Applications

#10: Intermittent Problems
Intermittent problems are hard to find. These are usually problems that occur with specific input parameters or only happen under certain load conditions. Full test coverage – functional as well as load and performance coverage – will uncover most of these problems early on before they become real problems for real users.

Further Reads: Tracing Intermittent Errors by Lucy Monahan from Novell, How to find invisible performance problems

(Bonus Problem) #11: Expensive Serialization
With remoting communication – such as Web Services, RMI or WCF – objects need to serialized by the caller in order to be transferred over the network. The callee on the other side needs to de-serialize the object before it can be used. Transformation therefore happens on both sides of the call resulting in some overhead while doing so. It is important to understand what type of serialization is required by both ends and what the optimal choice of serialization and transport type is. Different types of serialization have a different impact on performance, scalability, memory usage and network traffic.

Further Read: Performance Considerations in Distributed Applications

Learning from Zappos, Monster & Co
We often ask our customers to tell their stories in a webinar. They share their challenges with performance management, how they overcame those challenges, and, the Best Practices they’ve developed from those experiences. I recommend listening in to the stories from Zappos, Monster, Insight, Novell, PeopleClick, SmithMicro or Thomson Reuters. You can listen to to these recorded webinars and learn to what they have to say.

Related reading:

  1. Best Practices from Zappos to deliver WOW Performance Zappos - the leading eCommerce site for shoes and apparel –...
  2. How to Find Invisible Performance Problems In the first post for this year, I will discuss...
  3. Thomson Reuters on How they deliver High Performance Online Services We have had some great Webinars with our customers in...
  4. Selected readings for my JAX London Session Here you can find some selected material on performance related...
  5. Java Memory Problems Memory Leaks and other memory related problems are among the...

More Stories By Andreas Grabner

Andreas Grabner has been helping companies improve their application performance for 15+ years. He is a regular contributor within Web Performance and DevOps communities and a prolific speaker at user groups and conferences around the world. Reach him at @grabnerandi

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
In this presentation, Striim CTO and founder Steve Wilkes will discuss practical strategies for counteracting fraud and cyberattacks by leveraging real-time streaming analytics. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Steve Wilkes, Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Striim, will provide a detailed look into leveraging streaming data management to correlate events in real time, and identify potential breaches across IoT and non-IoT systems throughout the enterprise. Strategies for processing massive ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, an entertainment executive/TV producer turned serial entrepreneur, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to ma...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists looked at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deliver...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...