Capacity Planning for Web Performance: metrics, models, and methods

Overview

As more and more businesses rely on distributed client/server and Web-based applications, performance considerations become extremely important. Capacity Planning for Web Performance uses quantitative methods to analyze these systems. It leads the capacity planner, in a step-by-step fashion, through the process of determining the most cost-effective system configurations and networking architectures. The quantitative methods lead to the development of performance-predictive models for capacity planning. Instead ...
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Overview

As more and more businesses rely on distributed client/server and Web-based applications, performance considerations become extremely important. Capacity Planning for Web Performance uses quantitative methods to analyze these systems. It leads the capacity planner, in a step-by-step fashion, through the process of determining the most cost-effective system configurations and networking architectures. The quantitative methods lead to the development of performance-predictive models for capacity planning. Instead of relying on intuition, ad hoc procedures, and rules of thumb, Capacity Planning for Web Performance provides a uniform and sound way for dealing with performance problems. A large number of numeric and practical examples help the reader understand the quantitative approach adopted here.

Includes a CD-ROM containing several Microsoft Excel(r) workbooks supported by Visual Basic(r) modules, samples of http logs, and programs to process them. The Excel workbooks allow the readers to immediately put into practice the methods and models discussed here.

Includes the following tools for analyzing client/server systems, intranets, and Internet Web sites:

  • Performance-oriented analysis of network protocols
  • Modeling of delays
  • Workload characterization and forecasting
  • Use of industry-standard benchmarks
  • Queuing network-based models


This graduate text and advanced guide for network planners and IT managers provides metrics, models and methods for determining configuration, load and capacity requirements of corporate client/server based Internet or intranet sites. Authors Daniel Menasce and Virgilio Almeida remove the need for ad hoc assumptions, gut feelings or wild guesses as they analyze and quantify performance issues, characterize workloads and use industry standard benchmarks. They empirically verify models and remove performance constraints. Menasce is associated with George Mason University, and Almeida is associated with the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Shows how to use quantitative methods to analyze the performance of distributed client/server and Web-based applications in business contexts. Proceeds step-by-step through the process of determining the most-effective system configurations and networking architectures, as an alternative to intuition, ad hoc procedures, and rules of thumb. The CD-ROM runs in Windows 95 or NT or on a Macintosh; it contains several Excel workbooks supported by Visual Basic modules, samples of http logs, and programs to process them. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780136938224
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall Professional Technical Reference
  • Publication date: 6/12/1998
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 7.04 (w) x 9.19 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author


Dr. Daniel A. Menascé is a Professor of Computer Science and a co-Director of the Center for the New Engineer at George Mason University. He received a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from UCLA (1978), an M.Sc. in Computer Science, and a BSEE both from the Pontifical Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro (PUC-RIO), Brazil (1974 and 1975, respectively).

He has held visiting faculty positions at UMIACS, University of Maryland, College Park (91-92) and at the University of Rome, Italy (83). He was a full-time faculty of the Department of Computer Science at PUC-RIO, Brazil for 14 years, where he was also chair of CS (81-83).

Menascé published over 90 technical papers and was the chief author of four books, including Capacity Planning and Performance Modeling: from mainframes to client-server systems, Prentice-Hall, 1994.

He served as the President of the Brazilian Computing Society (87-89). He is the tutorial chair for the ACM Sigmetrics 1998 conference. Dr. Menascé has been a staff consultant at SAIC since 1994. He has also consulted for Hughes Applied Information Systems, the Center for Excellence in Space Data Information Systems, and the US Army. He was one of the two founders and CEO, from 1982 until 1991, of a software company that specialized in the development of large software projects. Menascé was elected an ACM Fellow in 1997 "in recognition of outstanding technical and professional achievements in the field of information technology."

Research Interests:

  • Performance Evaluation
  • Distributed Systems
  • Parallel Computing
  • Mass Storage Systems
  • Web-based Education
TeachingInterests:
  • Operating Systems
  • Performance Evaluation
  • Parallel Computing
Virgilio Augusto F. Almeida is a Professor of Computer Science at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil. He obtained his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from UFMG in 1973. He then worked two years as a systems analyst at PETROBRAS (Brazilian Oil Company) and 8 years as systems engineer at CEMIG (Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais). He then went to PUC University at Rio de Janeiro, where he obtained his M.Sc. degree in Computer Science in 1979. He returned to CEMIG, as a Planning Manager at the Information Systems Department. In 1987, he got his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Vanderbilt University .

Since 1988, he has been a faculty member at UFMG in the Computer Science Department . He is currently on his sabbatical year at the University of Boston, USA.

Virgilio published many technical papers and is co-author of three books. His most recent book entitled Capacity Planning and Performance Modeling , was co-authored with Daniel Menasce and Larry Dowdy and published by Prentice Hall in 1994.

Research Interests:

  • Performance Evaluation
  • Distributed Systems
  • Parallel computing
  • Teaching Interests:
  • Operating Systems
  • Performance Evaluation
Research Activities
I am currently involved with the OCEANS Research Group at Boston University. The following are active topics of research I am interested in:
  • Performance analysis of caching systems for large-scale distributed systems
  • Workload characterization for WWW servers and clients
  • Performance analysis and modeling of NT operating system
  • Effects of self-similar distibutions on queuing systems
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Read an Excerpt

PREFACE: Preface

The client/server model emerged out of the convergence of computers and communications, the availability of inexpensive and powerful desktop computers with Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) and multimedia presentation devices, and advanced forms of data input, including voice input. By bringing the computation closer to the user and his/her business processes and by providing richer and easier to use interfaces, client/server systems can increase productivity, increase customer satisfaction, and cut down significantly on training costs.

A special and important case of client/server applications is the World Wide Web (WWW) which has been growing at an enormous pace. The number of Web sites doubles every six months. Applications such as digital libraries, electronic commerce, video on-demand, and distance learning increase Internet and Web traffic at even higher rates. Virtual stores on the Web allow you to buy cars, books, computers, and many other products and services.

As more and more businesses and government agencies rely on distributed client/server and Web-based applications, performance considerations become extremely important. Performance analysis of intranets and Web servers is unique in many senses. First, the number of WWW clients is in the tens of millions and growing. The randomness associated with the way users visit pages and request Web services makes the problem of workload forecasting and capacity planning difficult.

This book uses a quantitative approach to analyzing client/server and Web-based systems. This approach lends itself to the development of performance predictive models for capacityplanning. Instead of relying on intuition, ad hoc procedures, and rules of thumb, we provide a uniform and formal way for dealing with performance problems. The performance models discussed here are based on the theory of queuing networks. Another important feature of the book is its treatment of two fundamental characteristics of WWW traffic: burstiness and heavy-tailed distributions of Web document sizes. The techniques and models presented here provide a simple and practical approach to dealing with this type of environment.

Although some of the concepts about client/server and Web architectures may be familiar to some of the readers, these concepts are revisited here in light of quantitative and performance issues. A large number of numeric and practical examples help the reader understand the quantitative approach adopted in this book. Several MS Excel workbooks supported by Visual Basic modules accompany the book. These workbooks allow the readers to immediately put into practice the methods and models discussed here.

Who should read this book

Information technology managers and related staff must guarantee that the networked services under their management provide an acceptable quality of service to their users. Managers must avoid the pitfalls of inadequate capacity and meet users' performance expectations in a cost-effective manner. System administrators, Web masters, network administrators, capacity planners and analysts, IT managers and consultants, will benefit from reading parts or the entire book. Its practical, yet sound and formal, approach provides the grounds for understanding modern and complex networked environments.

This book can be used as a textbook for senior undergraduate and graduate courses in Computer Science and Computer Engineering. At the undergraduate level, the book is a good starting point to motivate students to learn the important implications and solutions to performance problems.

At the graduate level, it can be used in conjunction with the book {\em Capacity Planning and Performance Modeling: From Mainframes to Client-Server Systems\/}, by Menasc\'e, Almeida, and Dowdy, Prentice Hall, 1994, in System Performance Evaluation courses. The combination of these two books offers a theoretical and practical foundation in performance modeling. The present book can also be used as a supplement for systems courses, including Operating Systems, Distributed Systems, and Networking, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Book Organization

{\em Chapter 1\/} introduces, through a series of examples, the importance of performance considerations in client/server and Web-based systems.

The concepts of capacity planning, service levels, and workload evolution are defined and illustrated.

{\em Chapter 2\/} presents a brief discussion on local and wide area networks and their protocols including TCP/IP, Ethernet, Token Ring, and FDDI. The chapter revisits the client server (C/S) computing paradigm and discusses several kind of servers, such as file servers, database servers, application servers, groupware servers, object servers, and Web servers. Various architectural client/server issues including fat versus thin clients, two-tier versus three-tier C/S architectures are presented. These concepts are presented in light of performance considerations and tradeoffs.

{\em Chapter 3\/} investigates, in detail, the nature of the delay incurred by a typical C/S transaction through the use of communication-processing delay diagrams. This chapter shows how service times can be computed at single disks, disk arrays, networks, and routers. Queues and contention are defined more formally and some very basic and important performance results from Operational Analysis are introduced.

{\em Chapter 4\/} discusses issues that affect performance of Web servers and intranets. The chapter starts by looking at the sources of delay in Web environments. After discussing the end-user perspective to the Internet and intranet performance, the chapter provides an assessment. It examines the components and protocols involved in the execution of Web services and analyzes their capacity and performance issues.

{\em Chapter 5\/} introduces a step-by-step methodology to determine the most cost-effective system configuration and networking architecture. The main steps of the methodology are: understanding the environment, workload characterization, workload model validation and calibration, performance model development, performance model validation and calibration, workload forecasting, performance prediction, cost model development, cost prediction, and cost/performance analysis.

{\em Chapter 6\/} describes and illustrates with examples the major steps required for the construction of workload models. The common steps to be followed by any workload characterization project include specification of a point of view from which the workload will be analyzed, choice of the set of parameters that capture the most relevant characteristics of the workload for the purpose of the study, monitoring the system to obtain the raw performance data, analysis and reduction of performance data, and construction of a workload model.

{\em Chapter 7\/} presents several different standard industry benchmarks---such as TPC-C and TPC-D, SPECcpu, SPECweb, LADDIS, and WebStone---and shows how to use benchmark results as a complementary source of information to support the capacity planning methodology.

{\em Chapter 8\/} starts by introducing very simple models of network-based systems. Complexity is progressively introduced and the solution to each model is presented using first principles and intuitive concepts. After a few models are presented, the approach is generalized. The models presented in this chapter are called system-level performance models since they view the system being modeled as a ``black box''.

{\em Chapter 9\/} introduces powerful techniques to analyze the performance of intranets and client/server systems. The chapter considers the components that make up a networked system. Component-level models account for the different resources of the system and the way they are used by different requests. The solution techniques for component-level models are based on Queuing Networks (QNs). Solution methods for both open and closed QNs with multiple classes of customers are presented in this chapter.

(\em Chapter 10\/} shows how the performance models discussed in previous chapters can be specialized to handle Web performance issues. The chapter also shows how certain special features common in Web workloads, such as burstiness and heavy tail distributions of file sizes, can be accounted for in performance models for the Web.

{\em Chapter 11\/} discusses aspects and techniques for workload forecasting, including regression models, moving averages, and exponential smoothing. The steps of the workload forecasting process discussed here include selection of the workload to be forecast, analysis of historical data and estimation of workload growth, selection of a forecasting technique, application of the forecasting technique to the historical data, and analysis and validation of forecast results.

{\em Chapter 12\/} presents a framework for collecting performance data in networked environments that use the C/S computing paradigm. Next, it discusses the main issues in the process of measuring the performance of network-based systems. The chapter does not focus on any specific product or manufacturer. Instead, it presents general procedures for transforming typical measurement data into input parameters. The procedures can be thought of as a set of major guidelines for obtaining input parameters for performance models.

{\em Chapter 13\/} wraps up the book by emphasizing the approach and methods used to develop and solve analytical performance models of client/server and Web-based systems. It also provides a unified view of the entire book.

{\em Appendix A\/} contains a glossary of the important terms introduced in the book.

{\em Appendix B\/} provides a quick reference manual of the MS Excel workbooks that accompany this book and describes the C program provided to derive burstiness parameters for HTTP logs.

\subsubsection{Acknowledgments}

The authors would like to thank their many colleagues for discussions that contributed substantially to this book.

Special thanks go to our co-author in the first book of this series, Larry Dowdy of Vanderbilt University, for his enthusiasm and dedication to the field. Particular thanks go to Jeff Buzen of BGS Systems, Peter Denning of George Mason University, Jim Gray of Microsoft Research, and Leonard Kleinrock of UCLA for their praise of our work and permission to quote them on the cover. Jim Gray's suggestions on the manuscript are deeply appreciated. We would also like to thank our Acquisitions Editor at Prentice Hall PTR, Stephen Solomon, his assistant, Bart Blanken, our Production Editor, Craig Little, our Copyeditor, Kathy Finch, and our Marketing Manager, Dan Rush, for their support during the preparation and production of this book. Daniel Menasce would like to thank his students and colleagues at George Mason University for providing a stimulating work environment. He would also like to thank his parents for their love and guidance in life. Special recognition goes to his wife Gilda for a life full of love and companionship and to his children Flavio and Juliana for being a constant source of joy. Virgilio Almeida would like to thank his colleagues and students at UFMG and Boston University. In particular, he wants to thank Wagner Meira, Andre Cinelli, Cristina Murta, Jussara Almeida, Mark Crovella, Azer Bestravos, David Yates, and Carlos Cunha. Finally, Virgilio would also like to express his gratitude to his family, parents (in memoriam), brothers, and many relatives and friends. His wife Rejane and sons Pedro and Andre have always been a source of love, sweetness, joy, emotional support, and continuous encouragement.

\clearpage \subsubsection{Book's Web site and authors' addresses}

A Web site will be maintained at www.cs.gmu.edu/$\tilde{~}$menasce/webbook/ to keep the readers informed about new developments related to the book.
The authors' e-mail and postal addresses and Web sites are:
\makebox{}\\ \noindent Prof. Daniel A. Menasc\'e\\ Department of Computer Science, MS 4A5\\ George Mason University\\ Fairfax, VA 22030-4444\\ (703) 993-1537\\ menasce@cs.gmu.edu\\ ...
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Table of Contents

Preface
1 When Performance is a Problem 1
2 What are Client/Server Systems? 16
3 Performance Issues in Client/Server Environments 35
4 Web Server and Intranet Performance Issues 71
5 A Step-by-Step Approach to Capacity Planning in Client/Server Systems 100
6 Understanding and Characterizing the Workload 121
7 Using Standard Industry Benchmarks 155
8 System-Level Performance Models 174
9 Component-Level Performance Models 197
10 Web Performance Modeling 222
11 Workload Forecasting 250
12 Measuring Performance 264
13 Wrapping Up 292
Bibliography 295
A Glossary of Terms 296
B About the CD-ROM 309
Subject Index 311
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Preface

Preface

The client/server model emerged out of the convergence of computers and communications, the availability of inexpensive and powerful desktop computers with Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) and multimedia presentation devices, and advanced forms of data input, including voice input. By bringing the computation closer to the user and his/her business processes and by providing richer and easier to use interfaces, client/server systems can increase productivity, increase customer satisfaction, and cut down significantly on training costs.

A special and important case of client/server applications is the World Wide Web (WWW) which has been growing at an enormous pace. The number of Web sites doubles every six months. Applications such as digital libraries, electronic commerce, video on-demand, and distance learning increase Internet and Web traffic at even higher rates. Virtual stores on the Web allow you to buy cars, books, computers, and many other products and services.

As more and more businesses and government agencies rely on distributed client/server and Web-based applications, performance considerations become extremely important. Performance analysis of intranets and Web servers is unique in many senses. First, the number of WWW clients is in the tens of millions and growing. The randomness associated with the way users visit pages and request Web services makes the problem of workload forecasting and capacity planning difficult.

This book uses a quantitative approach to analyzing client/server and Web-based systems. This approach lends itself to the development of performance predictive models for capacityplanning. Instead of relying on intuition, ad hoc procedures, and rules of thumb, we provide a uniform and formal way for dealing with performance problems. The performance models discussed here are based on the theory of queuing networks. Another important feature of the book is its treatment of two fundamental characteristics of WWW traffic: burstiness and heavy-tailed distributions of Web document sizes. The techniques and models presented here provide a simple and practical approach to dealing with this type of environment.

Although some of the concepts about client/server and Web architectures may be familiar to some of the readers, these concepts are revisited here in light of quantitative and performance issues. A large number of numeric and practical examples help the reader understand the quantitative approach adopted in this book. Several MS Excel workbooks supported by Visual Basic modules accompany the book. These workbooks allow the readers to immediately put into practice the methods and models discussed here.

Who should read this book

Information technology managers and related staff must guarantee that the networked services under their management provide an acceptable quality of service to their users. Managers must avoid the pitfalls of inadequate capacity and meet users' performance expectations in a cost-effective manner. System administrators, Web masters, network administrators, capacity planners and analysts, IT managers and consultants, will benefit from reading parts or the entire book. Its practical, yet sound and formal, approach provides the grounds for understanding modern and complex networked environments.

This book can be used as a textbook for senior undergraduate and graduate courses in Computer Science and Computer Engineering. At the undergraduate level, the book is a good starting point to motivate students to learn the important implications and solutions to performance problems.

At the graduate level, it can be used in conjunction with the book {\em Capacity Planning and Performance Modeling: From Mainframes to Client-Server Systems\/}, by Menasc\'e, Almeida, and Dowdy, Prentice Hall, 1994, in System Performance Evaluation courses. The combination of these two books offers a theoretical and practical foundation in performance modeling. The present book can also be used as a supplement for systems courses, including Operating Systems, Distributed Systems, and Networking, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Book Organization

{\em Chapter 1\/} introduces, through a series of examples, the importance of performance considerations in client/server and Web-based systems.

The concepts of capacity planning, service levels, and workload evolution are defined and illustrated.

{\em Chapter 2\/} presents a brief discussion on local and wide area networks and their protocols including TCP/IP, Ethernet, Token Ring, and FDDI. The chapter revisits the client server (C/S) computing paradigm and discusses several kind of servers, such as file servers, database servers, application servers, groupware servers, object servers, and Web servers. Various architectural client/server issues including fat versus thin clients, two-tier versus three-tier C/S architectures are presented. These concepts are presented in light of performance considerations and tradeoffs.

{\em Chapter 3\/} investigates, in detail, the nature of the delay incurred by a typical C/S transaction through the use of communication-processing delay diagrams. This chapter shows how service times can be computed at single disks, disk arrays, networks, and routers. Queues and contention are defined more formally and some very basic and important performance results from Operational Analysis are introduced.

{\em Chapter 4\/} discusses issues that affect performance of Web servers and intranets. The chapter starts by looking at the sources of delay in Web environments. After discussing the end-user perspective to the Internet and intranet performance, the chapter provides an assessment. It examines the components and protocols involved in the execution of Web services and analyzes their capacity and performance issues.

{\em Chapter 5\/} introduces a step-by-step methodology to determine the most cost-effective system configuration and networking architecture. The main steps of the methodology are: understanding the environment, workload characterization, workload model validation and calibration, performance model development, performance model validation and calibration, workload forecasting, performance prediction, cost model development, cost prediction, and cost/performance analysis.

{\em Chapter 6\/} describes and illustrates with examples the major steps required for the construction of workload models. The common steps to be followed by any workload characterization project include specification of a point of view from which the workload will be analyzed, choice of the set of parameters that capture the most relevant characteristics of the workload for the purpose of the study, monitoring the system to obtain the raw performance data, analysis and reduction of performance data, and construction of a workload model.

{\em Chapter 7\/} presents several different standard industry benchmarks—-such as TPC-C and TPC-D, SPECcpu, SPECweb, LADDIS, and WebStone—-and shows how to use benchmark results as a complementary source of information to support the capacity planning methodology.

{\em Chapter 8\/} starts by introducing very simple models of network-based systems. Complexity is progressively introduced and the solution to each model is presented using first principles and intuitive concepts. After a few models are presented, the approach is generalized. The models presented in this chapter are called system-level performance models since they view the system being modeled as a ``black box''.

{\em Chapter 9\/} introduces powerful techniques to analyze the performance of intranets and client/server systems. The chapter considers the components that make up a networked system. Component-level models account for the different resources of the system and the way they are used by different requests. The solution techniques for component-level models are based on Queuing Networks (QNs). Solution methods for both open and closed QNs with multiple classes of customers are presented in this chapter.

(\em Chapter 10\/} shows how the performance models discussed in previous chapters can be specialized to handle Web performance issues. The chapter also shows how certain special features common in Web workloads, such as burstiness and heavy tail distributions of file sizes, can be accounted for in performance models for the Web.

{\em Chapter 11\/} discusses aspects and techniques for workload forecasting, including regression models, moving averages, and exponential smoothing. The steps of the workload forecasting process discussed here include selection of the workload to be forecast, analysis of historical data and estimation of workload growth, selection of a forecasting technique, application of the forecasting technique to the historical data, and analysis and validation of forecast results.

{\em Chapter 12\/} presents a framework for collecting performance data in networked environments that use the C/S computing paradigm. Next, it discusses the main issues in the process of measuring the performance of network-based systems. The chapter does not focus on any specific product or manufacturer. Instead, it presents general procedures for transforming typical measurement data into input parameters. The procedures can be thought of as a set of major guidelines for obtaining input parameters for performance models.

{\em Chapter 13\/} wraps up the book by emphasizing the approach and methods used to develop and solve analytical performance models of client/server and Web-based systems. It also provides a unified view of the entire book.

{\em Appendix A\/} contains a glossary of the important terms introduced in the book.

{\em Appendix B\/} provides a quick reference manual of the MS Excel workbooks that accompany this book and describes the C program provided to derive burstiness parameters for HTTP logs.

\subsubsection{Acknowledgments}

The authors would like to thank their many colleagues for discussions that contributed substantially to this book.

Special thanks go to our co-author in the first book of this series, Larry Dowdy of Vanderbilt University, for his enthusiasm and dedication to the field. Particular thanks go to Jeff Buzen of BGS Systems, Peter Denning of George Mason University, Jim Gray of Microsoft Research, and Leonard Kleinrock of UCLA for their praise of our work and permission to quote them on the cover. Jim Gray's suggestions on the manuscript are deeply appreciated. We would also like to thank our Acquisitions Editor at Prentice Hall PTR, Stephen Solomon, his assistant, Bart Blanken, our Production Editor, Craig Little, our Copyeditor, Kathy Finch, and our Marketing Manager, Dan Rush, for their support during the preparation and production of this book. Daniel Menasce would like to thank his students and colleagues at George Mason University for providing a stimulating work environment. He would also like to thank his parents for their love and guidance in life. Special recognition goes to his wife Gilda for a life full of love and companionship and to his children Flavio and Juliana for being a constant source of joy. Virgilio Almeida would like to thank his colleagues and students at UFMG and Boston University. In particular, he wants to thank Wagner Meira, Andre Cinelli, Cristina Murta, Jussara Almeida, Mark Crovella, Azer Bestravos, David Yates, and Carlos Cunha. Finally, Virgilio would also like to express his gratitude to his family, parents (in memoriam), brothers, and many relatives and friends. His wife Rejane and sons Pedro and Andre have always been a source of love, sweetness, joy, emotional support, and continuous encouragement.

\clearpage \subsubsection{Book's Web site and authors' addresses}

A Web site will be maintained at www.cs.gmu.edu/$\tilde{~}$menasce/webbook/ to keep the readers informed about new developments related to the book.
The authors' e-mail and postal addresses and Web sites are:
\makebox{}\\ \noindent Prof. Daniel A. Menasc\'e\\ Department of Computer Science, MS 4A5\\ George Mason University\\ Fairfax, VA 22030-4444\\ (703) 993-1537\\ menasce@cs.gmu.edu\\ http://www.cs.gmu.edu/faculty/menasce.html \noindent\\
Prof. Virgilio A. F. Almeida\\ Department of Computer Science \\ Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais\\ P.O. Box 920\\ 31270-010 Belo Horizonte, MG\\ Brazil\\ +55 31 499-5887\\ virgilio@dcc.ufmg.br\\ http://www.dcc.ufmg.br/$\tilde{~}$virgilio


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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2000

    Do you care if you lose business, company productivity, or the good will of your boss?

    If so, you should also care whether your webserver or intranet is 'scalable'. A webserver or intranet is 'scalable' if it has the capacity to provide adequate service if subjected to increased demand. To understand capacity planning for web and intranet performance, read this well-organized, well-written, and easy-to-read book. The authors describe both web server and intranet technology. They also discuss different, but related, measures of performance and emphasize the importance of properly representing the workload a system must process. Each chapter draws on earlier material, foreshadows later developments, and concludes with a list of additional references that includes a number of the 'classics' that I grew up on, plus more recent material. Not only are the chapters well-organized as a group, but each of the thirteen chapters is well-written. The authors use straightforward English and minimize the use of technical terms. Each technical discussion is immediately followed by an illustrative example. Each chapter is short enough to be read quickly with a good initial level of comprehension. Straightforward writing, a focus on examples, and reasonably sized chapters allow readers to get the 'big picture' without getting bogged down in details. The authors use a quantitative approach to capacity planning and provide a set of well-documented MS Excel worksheets for carrying out non-trivial calculations. Beginners can simply execute the program to get the results that appear in the example or 'play around' to see how a change in one or more assumptions affects predicted performance. Advanced readers can 'get under hood' to see how the algorithms discussed are implemented. This well-organized, well-written, and easy-to-read book provides an excellent introduction to the quantitative approach to webserver/intranet capacity planning and a good return on investment.

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