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In the Cloud, you have to trust your instruments...

Michael Kopp

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Top Stories by Michael Kopp

In a recent article we have shown how the Java Garbage Collection MXBean Counters have changed for the Concurrent Mark-and-Sweep Collector. It now reports all GC runs instead of just major collections. That prompted me to think about what a major GC actually is or what it should be. It is actually quite hard to find any definition of major and minor GCs. This well-known Java Memory Management Whitepaper only mentions  in passing that a full collection is sometimes referred to as major collection. Stop-the-world One of the more popular definitions is that a major GC is a stop-the-world event. While that is true, the reverse is not. It is often forgotten that every single GC, even a minor one, is a stop-the-world event. Young Generation collections are only fast if there is a high mortality rate among young objects. That’s because they copy the few surviving objects an... (more)

How Garbage Collection Differs in the Three Big JVMs

(Note: If you’re interested in WebSphere in a production environment, check out Michael's upcoming webinar with The Bon-Ton Stores) Most articles about Garbage Collection ignore the fact that the Sun Hotspot JVM is not the only game in town. In fact whenever you have to work with either IBM WebSphere or Oracle WebLogic you will run on a different runtime. While the concept of Garbage Collection is the same, the implementation is not and neither are the default settings or how to tune it. This often leads to unexpected problems when running the first load tests or in the worst case... (more)

How to Identify a MongoDB Performance Anti Pattern in Five Minutes

The other day I was looking at a web application that was using MongoDB as its central database. We were analyzing the application for potential performance problems and inside five minutes I detected what I must consider to be a MongoDB anti pattern and had a 40% impact on response time. The funny thing: It was a Java best practice that triggered it. Analyzing the Application The first thing I always do is look at the topology of an application to get a feel for it. Overall Transaction Flow of the Application As we see it's a modestly complex web application and it's using Mongo... (more)

A Discussion on Top Performance Problems for Hadoop and Cassandra

In the last couple of weeks my colleagues and I attended the Hadoop and Cassandra Summits in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was rewarding to talk to so many experienced Big Data technologists in such a short time frame - thanks to our partners DataStax and Hortonworks for hosting these great events. It was also great to see that performance is becoming an important topic in the community at large. We got a lot of feedback on typical Big Data performance issues and were surprised by the performance related challenges that were discussed. The practitioners here were definitely no n... (more)

Why Averages Are Inadequate, and Percentiles Are Great

Anyone who ever monitored or analyzed an application uses or has used averages. They are simple to understand and calculate. We tend to ignore just how wrong the picture is that averages paint of the world. To emphasis the point let me give you a real-world example outside of the performance space that I read recently in a newspaper. The article was explaining that the average salary in a certain region in Europe was 1900 Euro's (to be clear this would be quite good in that region!). However when looking closer they found out that the majority, namely 9 out of 10 people, only ea... (more)