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Performance and Scalability

Time: Thursday, May 10, 2007 (1:30pm-3:00pm)

Location: Shaughnessy

Moderator: Arun Iyengar (IBM Research, USA)

Panelists:

  • Michele Colajanni (University of Modena, Italy)
  • Paul Dantzig (IBM, USA)
  • Swee Lim (Yahoo!, USA)
  • Misha Rabinovich (Case Western Reserve University, USA)
  • Prashant Shenoy (University of Massachusetts at Amherst, USA)

Abstract:

Performance, scalability, and availability continue to be critically important for the Web. As the Web has evolved, some issues, such as how to serve static data efficiently as well as many issues in caching, have been solved to a great extent. However other issues, such as how to serve dynamic data efficiently when complicated back-end processing is involved, continue to be of considerable importance. Companies with major presences on the Web devote a considerable amount of hardware to serving dynamic data. The savings which can be achieved by providing more efficient solutions are significant.

Another key issue is providing short end-to-end response times. Financial companies often have strict requirements on the end-to-end response times that their system needs to provide. If their back ends are not fast enough, they cannot keep up with the competition. Things are compounded by the fact that in order for a client to get a response that a transaction was successful, the results of the transaction must be persistently stored, typically in a database. This adds considerable overhead for databases.

Availability is critically important not just for major businesses but for smaller and medium sized businesses as well. A key aspect in making Web sites scalable and highly available is providing a solution which not only works but is not too complex for customers to use and modify. Simplification of middleware for providing scalability and high availability for Web applications is a key area of research.

This panel will examine several key areas in performance, scalability, and availability for Web applications. The panel will have experts from both the research community as well as practitioners with considerable experience designing some of the world's most heavily accessed Web sites. Key topics to be covered include:

  • Issues in serving dynamic data efficiently
  • Overviews of how some of the most widely accessed Web sites are managed (e.g., Google, eBay)
  • Achieving fast response times in the presence of complicated back-end systems
  • How growth in peer-to-peer file sharing and changes in the balance of content (e.g., audio and video files) on the Web will affect performance in the future
  • Architecting solutions for performance, availability, and reliability that are not overly complex
  • Systems/performance/reliability issues of AJAX-based applications
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