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From André Warnier>
Subject Re: [Seriously OT] Help in diagnosing server unresponsiveness
Date Wed, 06 Feb 2013 20:05:14 GMT
Jeffrey Janner wrote:
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Jeffrey Janner []
>> Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2013 12:06 PM
>> To: 'Tomcat Users List'
>> Subject: RE: [Seriously OT] Help in diagnosing server unresponsiveness
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Christopher Schultz []
>>> Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2013 11:02 AM
>>> To: Tomcat Users List
>>> Subject: Re: [Seriously OT] Help in diagnosing server
>> unresponsiveness
>>> Hash: SHA256
>>> Jeffrey,
>>> On 2/6/13 10:26 AM, Jeffrey Janner wrote:
>>>>> -----Original Message----- From: Christopher Schultz
>>>>> [] Sent: Tuesday, February 05,
>>>>> 2013 4:59 PM To: Tomcat Users List Subject: Re: [Seriously OT]
>> Help
>>>>> in diagnosing server unresponsiveness
>>>>> IMO, developer performance trumps runtime performance most of the
>>>>> time. So, if you can create a more maintainable system in less
>> time
>>>>> by using EJB (or whatever), then you go ahead and do it:
>>>>> servers are cheap, while developer time is expensive.
>>>>> - -chris
>>>> Chris, I'd like to differ with you on this last point. As someone
>>>> who's been a developer, support person, and admin, I've got a
>> pretty
>>>> good perspective on this subject. While servers may be cheap, they
>>>> will never be cheap enough to overcome poor programming practices.
>>>> I've worked with systems so poorly designed that we couldn't
>>>> purchase a system big enough to run the software adequately, once
>>>> you got
>>> above
>>>> a handful of users. Yes, it's gotten to the point where systems are
>>>> much cheaper than they used to be, while developer salaries are
>> only
>>>> increasing (supposedly), so wasting time on some minor performance
>>>> improvement may not be cost-effective. However, when you aggregate
>>> the
>>>> time that hundreds of users spend waiting on a response from a
>>>> poorly designed, unresponsive system, I think you'll find that it
>>>> trumps the cost of having the developer spending a few extra
>> minutes
>>>> to "get it right the first time".
>>> How about "servers are a lot cheaper than competent software
>>> developers"? ;)
>>> - -chris
>> +1
>> Can't tell how tired I am of hearing some version of the following:
>>  "I don't care to learn how a library/API is supposed to work, I just
>> want to use it."
> (replying to own post == bad form)
> Actually, that line usually begins: "I don't have time to...."

As maybe one more rant to add to this series, and as a reply to the "just throw more 
hardware at it, it's cheap" line.
For a small service company offering ASP kind of services to customers, buying hardware to

run apps is for us a relatively frequent occurrence.
And while it is true that basic hardware is relatively cheap nowadays, one quickly notices

that "a bit more hardware" can involve a significant step up the cost ladder. For example,

let's say that a good-quality basic rack-mounted server costs 2000€, and has 4 slots for

RAM. And let's say that 1 RAM unit nowadays can hold 8 GB and costs 50€. So in total you

can fit 4x8=32 GB of RAM in that basic server, at a cost of 2200€ for the total. If you

need 33 GB (thus say only 1x8 GB more, at a theoretical additional cost of 50€), you have

to switch to the next server category, which may have 8 slots for RAM, but costs 3000€.
the additional 1 GB of Tomcat heap (just as an example) ends up costing 850€, not 50€.

Additionally, this bigger server could be 2U in height instead of 1U, and cost 75% more 
per month to host in a rack. And so it goes for other server resources (disk, network 
bandwidth, etc.).  I am not even counting the time that will be needed to move the 
applications from server 1 to server 2.
(And "the cloud" turns out not to be much cheaper, once you seriously factor in the 
various cost elements).
So there is still something to say about *how* one is writing applications.
Of course in many cases such low-level materialistic considerations do not affect the 
programmer directly and immediately in his pay packet.  But ultimately, someone pays for 
it, and at the end of the day it does reflect on the bottom-line and on the menu at the 
That is also why I sometimes look in wonder as someone on this forum will tell someone 
else something like "4 GB of heap is really not very much to run your webapp; you should 
at least double that for any serious work".  What about instead "Dude, 4 GB is four 
thousand million bytes (plus spares). Would you not have a quick look at your webapp, to 
see if it really needs that much workspace to send back a single html page ?".

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