Architecting for performance: What is performance?

Have a look at this video clip before we get into the concept of understanding performance.

Video clip:

Fiat Bravo vs. Ferrari 550 Maranello vs. Ferrari F1

The three cars in this video are clearly very different. For a formula one car the objective is easy to define. “Get around the track as fast as possible while meeting all FIA regulations and maintaining appropriate (two race) reliability of every component.”

For a Ferraro F550 it is a little more difficult to define. Probably somerhing like “Meet super-luxury standards and reliability for a road going sports car while offering super-car performance at a super-car price-point.”

For the fiat it is more likely “provide basic mass producable budget transportation”

Based on their specific goals it is obvious that we would define performance slightly differently.

For the F1 car it is about winning the constructors championship. For the GT car it is being recognized as the best luxury sports car. For the fiat it is about sales and market share in the budget category.

The point is that for three products produced by the same organisation the goals are completely different and the performance goals are consequently completely different as well.

The key is understanding your goals, understanding how you could measure success, and then target optimizing those metrics.

My view is that architecting for performance starts here. It isn’t a one- time thing either. This is why monitoring is key.

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Enterprise IT Architecture Conference

I will be speaking at an Enterprise IT Architecture Conference on the 28th and 29th of July 2008.

Attached are my Presentation Notes that I will talk to on the topic of Architecting for Performance and IT Asset Management

Asset-management-practices

Performance

The videos used in the Performance Presentation are:

Fiat vs Ferrari F550 vs Ferrari F1

F1 Safety Focus – Telemetry

Alonso in McLaren vs 3 Mercedes

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Are IT people no longer fueled by Coffee?

At IBM’s headquarters, a contribution to cost saving is to shut down the catering services in all but one building from Friday mornings.

This means that someone wanting a cup of coffee would have to walk 10 minutes to the central building in order to get a cup of coffee.

So a 20m break for each cup of coffee.  Now a few techies I know have up to 8 cups of coffee in a day.  Some software developers seem to be entirely fueled by coffee.  How will this end?  Are developers no longer being fueled by coffee?  Or is this just a mistake?

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Corporate Social Software – an opinion on ClearSpace

A lot has been written about how one might make use of WEB 2.0 and social software in a corporate. It seems that some large consulting firms and IT companies have been trying this out for a while.

IBM have had their “Sametime” product for a while, and also Lotus “Connections” which is a social-networking and collaboration suite.

There are a few others aimed specifically at corporates, where one can purchase the software and host it internally and I intend to try a few of these (Including Lotus Connections) over the next few weeks.

ClearSpace is not very well known in South Africa and in fact I had never heard of Jive Software until I found their site a few weeks ago.  They are based in Portland, Oregon, and boast over 2000 customers and a coverage of 15% of the Fortune 500 Companies.

The ClearSpace 2.0 and ClearSpace Community Products are written in Java and require Java 6.

A while back I mentioned some of the potential I saw in Facebook for the Corporate.  I wasn’t saying open Facebook to corporates to use, nor that an exact replica of Facebook would be ideal in a large corporate.  What I was saying was that some of the social concepts that work for Facebook, would be very powerful when applied to corporate problems.

For example, I work on a number of projects at any given time, I have several documents in draft and pending review, I consult on various topics and sit on a number of governance and IT committees.  Keeping track of activities and actions across all of those can be an onerous administrative task and requires discipline on my part.  As a “creative” thinker, administration and discipline are not my strong points.  If projects and forums and communities-of-practice had things like facebook groups where all their documents and discussions and actions were tracked, I could simply login to MY personal page and instantly see the latest activities across all of the areas I am involved with.  That would be freedom.  I would also no longer have any excuse to say “I didn’t know” about some decision or event or outstanding action.  

Enter ClearSpace.  This is exactly what I described above.  The concept around which ClearSpace revovles is the “community”, not a document or post.  For example a document sharing site revolves around “documents”.  A Wiki revolves around the “pages” or “entries”.  A Blog revolves around the “posts”.  ClearSpace revolves around the community. Communities may exist because of Strategies, Projects, Topics of interest, anything that warrants creating a new area of focus.  One can even create hierarchies of communities and the Parent Levels can aggregate the updates and feeds of their children.  Within these communities individuals can post Blog entries, write documents, poll other users for opinions, ask questions, create discussion forums and many more.   Almost all of these allow others to respond or comment.  The major contributions can all be scored.

In addition to community blogs, individuals may also have blogs.  individuals are attributed with the scores for their contributions.  Individuals become “experts” on the topics they contribute on most, and are considered better experts when the ratings of their contributions are higher.  

Everything in the system is based on a widget concept, so if you need a new content-type for a particular community, write the widget for it, and snap it into the framework.

This is the first Corporate-community-based collaboration software that I have tried, and I am truly impressed.  

If you need to get people in your organisation to work together and you need a software solution to enable that, then ClearSpace is definitely one to consider.

Ease of Use: 9/10
Super easy, and a really great looking interface. 

Installation / Setup: 9/10
I used the embedded database to test with, so little setup was required.

Admin Pages:7/10
Lots of menus and submenus, and I couldn’t always find the setting I wanted without browsing through a number of the admin pages.

Engagement: 9/10
This pulled me in.  I loved using it, not least of all because of how good it looks and how intuitive the user interface is.

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How Odd

Allow me a small rant if you would.
I tried to upgrade my data contract with my cellular service provider today. Ughhhzzz. I use a month-to-month service because I want to be able to switch providers should there be a price restructuring in South Africa. The bandwidth market is grossly overpriced here and we have seen several downward price adjustments in the last few years as a result of international competition.

Now all the service providers have month-to-month voice offerings, but vodacom does not have a monthly data product and Virgin does not have 3G, so for data I am with MTN. This month, I needed more than my 2gig bundle and wanted to add another 2gig. Guess what? It cannot be done. How insane is that? Here is a good customer who has exceeded his usage of your product and wants to buy more and you say sorry we cannot sell you any more unless you are prepared to pay 5 times more for the additional quantity. Wow! You would think selling a larger quantity to an existing customer would be something a company would like to do. Not so MTN. Clearly their pricing structure encorages people to buy LESS of their product. This must be some innovation in marketing that we did not cover at business school.

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