Archive for April, 2009

Oracle buying Sun: What it means for Open Source Community

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Sun under the leadership of Jonathan Schwartz had been investing all its resources in open sourcing the whole organization. Sun was one of the biggest recent converts to Open Sourcing. When IBM was in talks to buy Sun the threat to open source community was not much. IBM had also invested heavily in open source and could have kept up the open source efforts of Sun alive and ticking.

Now that Oracle is in talks to buy Sun what is in store for open source community. What will happen to all the open source projects initiated by Sun? The most interesting of them for Oracle is MySQL. MySQL was getting positioned to provide stiff competition to Oracle in near future. What will be its fate under Larry Ellison’s leadership?

It would be actually in best interest of Oracle to expand the reach of MySQL. If MySQL gets killed there will be other open source database taking birth and it will be a big headache for Oracle to keep fending off these open source initiatives. Oracle is in a great position now that it is acquiring the leading open source database and it can really use this opportunity to be at the center of the Open Source action. Of course Java  brand  has tremendous value and Larry Ellison might find ways to monetize it, which Sun had miserably failed to do so. What happens to the rest of the open source initiatives? It is anybody’s guess. It will be interesting to see what happens to OpenSolaris, Glassfish, Netbeans etc.

The only thing that does not fit well in this acquisition is the hardware aspect of Sun. Oracle has always been a software company but with this acquisition it suddenly has to have a hardware strategy. One possible scenario is that Oracle will just absorb the software products of Sun and sell off the hardware business. It is difficult to envision Oracle putting itself into the center of an already overcrowded server market.

Is this a acquisition a big blow to Open Source Community? I doubt so. It might just be an hiccup and probably the open source community will keep chugging along and getting people on board. What ever happens it will surely be very interesting to see how this acquisition plays out.

One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions

Monday, April 6th, 2009

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” – Adm Grace Murray Hopper ( Dec 9 1906 to Jan 1 1992)

Measurement is the most important aspect of Performance Engineering. There is no place for guess work in performance engineering. Measuring tools are the most important tools in a Performance Engineer’s tool set.

In one of the projects I was involved in, the second day of my job I was validating the solution for a high throughput. Everything was going fine till the performance test started throwing lot of errors. The solution involved around 15 servers. I had set up monitoring of resources on all the 15 servers. First thing I did was look up the resource utilization of all the servers. There was one server where the memory utilization kept on growing. I narrowed down to the process which was growing in memory. The graph of the memory utilization for the process showed a linear growth, it went up as high as 1GB and then the process terminated. This graph was proof enough to show the developer that the process had a big memory leak. This was fixed within a day and solution was ready for further testing.

Performance engineering requires lot of discipline and a methodical approach. Lot of times when we come across problems we tend to start giving expert opinions, start guessing where the problem might be or start looking at the code. One needs to take a scientific approach. One has to look at the facts, start with resource utilization and then narrow down to looking at logs, timestamps, database metrics, application server metrics, compare with historical benchmarks etc.

Check this out. The very first computer bug.