Thursday, February 15

Extended deployment

Ok, I admit it. I've sucked at blogging lately.
In my defence I have had a quite annoying cold that's been hanging on for the last two week, I *really* hate having a fever, I get cranky. I wrote half a blog post about using Oracle XE for reporting with materialized views but never finished it, will probably do that tomorrow or Monday.
Beyond that I just haven't had anything exciting to do, at work I've been working with Sybase, can't say that's very exciting. Especially not very exciting when one has to support a major investment bank which has a team of Sybase DBA's which seems to know even less about Sybase than I do (and trust me, I'm a Sybase noob).

One exciting thing I've been toying with is IBM Websphere Extended Deployment (XD). Everyone knows that Websphere isn't very exciting, the XD edition has got some pretty cool features though. And one has to love how simple IBM explains the huuuge cost savings it brings.

- "A client can buy a few as four medium sized mainframes and deploy a number of applications across these machines and achieve unprecedented utilization".

Ok, back up a bit here IBM. The concept of Websphere XD works pretty much all platforms. So why bring out the mainframes, I can't really see many clients needing four mainframes for a normal Websphere deployment.
Anyway, what XD brings is pretty much a resource manager and an object grid. Say you have a blade server with 10 blades, you want to deploy two applications which will be load balanced. Instead of telling Websphere to deploy each application on five servers you define metrics of what kind of response times you expect the applications to have, then Websphere will allocate as much resource as needed (or send angry emails requesting more servers). Say one application runs on 2 servers and the other application on the remaining 8, then every Friday everyone in the company needs to use the first application for a couple of hours. Websphere will see the extra utilization and assign a couple of more servers to this app, then when not used any more they will be returned to the second application. Neat!
Another thing you can use XD for is to distribute a large set of data, you can write a distributed application and requests will be sent to the server holding that data. It's way cheaper to buy 16 servers with 16Gb RAM each than to buy one server with 256Gb RAM, let each server hold a piece of the data in RAM in an object grid.
XD also brings some cool monitoring features and other crud. See the comparison of the different versions here.

Enough about Websphere, it's not that great. It's just a nice challange to work with. :-)

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