Performance tuning of throughput-based SOA solutions for WebSphere Process Server

About this article

Performance tuning of high throughput SOA solutions is a complex and time consuming task. This article introduces a methodology on how to successfully accomplish performance tuning and to avoid key performance pain points. After reading the article, you can apply the described tuning concepts to your next SOA implementation project. It was published on IBM Developerworks in September 2010.

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During the past years, many companies incorporated IBM® service-oriented architecture (SOA) technology to make their business more responsive, to gain more flexibility, and of course, to save money from streamlined business processes. Some of these companies started with rather small, more or less problem-focused solutions. Others found that a more holistic approach, including transformation of whole lines of business, was the best way to deploy service-oriented infrastructure and applications. However, when talking about IBM’s SOA stack, what all of these companies have in common is IBM WebSphere® Process Server (hereafter called Process Server) as a core component to build their infrastructure.

Operational reference architecture of WebSphere Process Server

Since many successful projects have proven that the service-oriented approach gives companies a key business advantage, the number of newly built applications is still increasing dramatically. Additionally, the focus is more on high volume applications and highly business critical solutions. This leads to new challenges for the companies’ SOA infrastructure. In this respect, especially the performance aspect, it is the deciding factor for a long-term success of any Process Server installation.

When talking about performance, consider that service-oriented applications typically have different requirements. However, from a technical perspective, all solutions (or at least major parts of a solution) may be put in one of the following categories:

  • Response time focused (for example, a Portal-based BPEL workflow)
  • High throughput focused (for example, straight through processing workflow)

Since both categories have their own performance goals, you need to apply a custom performance tuning approach. However, this article will mainly deal with the optimization of high throughput-focused applications.


Methodology for tuning high throughput applications

In a service-oriented world, solutions tend to consist of many heterogeneous parts that are loosely coupled to each other. When thinking about performance tuning, all of these parts need to be taken into account: hardware, other software components, third party systems, and of course, the application itself. In most cases, this is a complex and time consuming task.

This article introduces a simple approach that takes care of the special requirements of SOA solutions, while focusing on the key pain points that are relevant for WebSphere Process Server applications (Figure 2).

Tuning process for high throughput applications

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