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From Jason Brittain <ja...@olliance.com>
Subject Re: Tomcat 4.0 FAB
Date Wed, 01 Nov 2000 23:33:21 GMT

Hi Roy.

Roy Wilson wrote:
> 
> Jason,
> 
> I am a geek aspiring to be a Catalina-performance-geek, but I know I
> appreciated your marketing-speak more than I'm supposed to. :-)

:)  We're glad you liked it.

> You mention that the built-in webserver performs well under heavy load. I
> don't doubt it, but would like to know the data source (ApacheCon
> Europe?) and see numbers. In particular, how was the load generated?
> ApacheBench?
> 
> Roy Wilson
> E-mail: designrw@bellatlantic.net

Here's the paragraph from our Features and Benefits doc that you're
referring to:

----snip------snip------

Built-in Multiplatform High Performance Web Server

Along with great servlet container features, Catalina comes with its
own high performance HTTP 1.1 web server built in. This new web server,
written entirely in Java, makes it easy to try Catalina without
having to configure a third-party web server. Users can thus deploy
Catalina as a functionally complete application server solution
(excluding database server) without a serious performance
penalty. The built-in web server performs well under heavy load,
even compared to the native Apache web server. And because Catalina
is written completely in Java, it's fully multiplatform, running
on Linux, Windows, Solaris or any other operating system that supports
the Java 2 Platform.

----snip------snip------

Now, keep in mind that one property of marketing-speak is that
everything is relative, and that phrases that sound like exact
claims are nothing of the kind.  :)  "high performance" is a
relative term, just as "performs well under heavy load" is,
since the text makes no claims about what "high" or "well" or
"heavy" really means.  The reason why I think this kind of text
works so well on some folks is that they make the assumption
that "high" means what they (the reader) thinks it means, and
that the writer is making a claim about that kind of performance.
In reality, this text doesn't mean much, except that it means
to boast about Catalina.  :)  The great thing about this is that
it gets some people jazzed about the project without making any
real, solid claims.

And, about the sentence that says "performs well under heavy
load, even compared to the native Apache web server"..  This
works the same way, since we're not saying which web server,
nor running on which operating system, nor under what conditions.
We're not even saying a major version number.  So why is it in
here?  Because, I heard through the grapevine that someone ran
some meaningful (but not necessarily bullet-proof) performance
tests and had this finding: that the version of Catalina that
was tested at the time performed about as well on most tests
as the version of their native Apache web server did on the same
tests.  I personally don't want to spend time validating that,
nor would I want to be the one to try to defend the results
(it would likely turn into another "Java's not as fast as C"
arguement).  But, I believe it's possible, and I also believe
that Catalina's web server performs quite nicely.

Everyone should keep in mind that the purpose of our FAB is not
to prove any performance numbers or to help engineers to
understand Catalina's deep implementation details.  It's to make
some not-so-technically-saavy readers want to help the project,
promote the project, hire people to get it running and use it,
etc.  We were primarily thinking of people like:

 - CEOs, CTOs, and other management personnel
 - Venture Capitalists
 - Marketing staff
 - [insert random Joe "Non-Technical" Businessman here]

Reallly, people who don't know much about why their company
should be interested in this thing called Catalina who aren't
technically saavy enough to understand other docs that they
can find about it (like the User docs, or other technical docs
like the Classloader explanation doc or even the status doc..)
How else can we each get permission to work full-time on cool
projects like Catalina?  The better Catalina looks to both the
technical and non-technical population at large, the more support
the project will get overall, I think.

--
Jason Brittain                          (415)354-6645
Software Engineer, Olliance Inc.        http://www.Olliance.com
Current Maintainer, Locomotive Project  http://www.Locomotive.org

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