QCon is a practitioner-driven conference designed for technical team leads, architects, and project managers who influence software innovation in their teams.

Presentation: "Understanding Application Hiccups, and what you can do about them"

Track: Solution Track: Agile, ALM Analytics / Time: Friday 13:50 - 14:50 / Location: Rutherford Room

Does your application run fine most of the time, but occasionally "gets the hiccups"? Do you measure and recognize such hiccups and stalls if and when they occur?

It is important for Java developers to understand application responsiveness from an end-user point of view. The basic assumption we seem to have is that the platform we run on is a smooth, continually operating machine, or at least a good approximation. But what happens when the platform exhibits waits, stalls, pauses, execution interruptions, or whatever other name they might go by, that come in chunks big enough to dominate the application response time? Unfortunately, what happens most of the time is that we ignore the issue and chalk it off as an “outlier”. A look at the impact of such outliers on observable end-user service levels can be sobering.

In this presentation, Gil Tene (CTO, Azul Systems) will introduce simple, non-obstrusive methods for measuring and characterizing platform "hiccups" during application execution. Using the new jHiccup open source tool, Gil will demonstrate and chart commonly observed behaviors of idle, mostly idle, and busy systems, as well as common workload types that experience outliers due to garbage collection pauses and other runtime-induced delays. After demonstrating how simple, non-obtrusive measurement can establish a clear "best case" baseline for any expected application responsiveness, Gil will discuss the important things to look for in such measurements, as well as the common pitfalls experienced early in characterization attempts. Finally, using "Hiccup charts", Gil will show samples of how different runtimes, configurations and garbage collection techniques behave using platform responsiveness measures.

Download slides

Gil Tene, Vice President of Technology and CTO, Co-Founder for Azul Systems

Gil Tene

Biography: Gil Tene

Gil Tene is CTO and co-founder of Azul Systems. He has been involved with virtual machine technologies for the past 20 years and has been building Java technology-based products since 1995. Gil pioneered Azul's Continuously Concurrent Compacting Collector (C4), Java Virtualization, Elastic Memory, and various managed runtime and systems stack technologies that combine to deliver the industry's most scalable and robust Java platforms.

In 2006 he was named one of the Top 50 Agenda Setters in the technology industry by Silicon.com. Prior to co-founding Azul, Gil held key technology positions at Nortel Networks, Shasta Networks and at Check Point Software Technologies, where he delivered several industry-leading traffic management solutions including the industry's first Firewall-1 based security appliance. He architected operating systems for Stratus Computer, clustering solutions at Qualix/Legato, and served as an officer in the Israeli Navy Computer R and D unit. Gil holds a BSEE from The Technion Israel Institute of Technology, and has been awarded 27 patents in computer-related technologies.  

Twitter: @giltene