Best Practices

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This post will show you an approach to size shared memory requirements for database applications running on InterSystems data platforms including global and routine buffers, gmheap, and locksize as well as some performance tips you should consider when configuring servers and when virtualizing Caché applications. As ever when I talk about Caché I mean all the data platform (Ensemble, HealthShare, iKnow and Caché).


A list of other posts in this series is here

Last comment 22 August 2017
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The topic of for/while loop performance in Caché ObjectScript came up in discussion recently, and I'd like to share some thoughts/best practices with the rest of the community. While this is a basic topic in itself, it's easy to overlook the performance implications of otherwise-reasonable approaches.

Last comment 10 days ago
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Have some free text fields in your application that you wish you could search efficiently?  Tried using some methods before but found out that they just cannot match the performance needs of your customers?  Do I have one weird trick that will solve all your problems?  Don’t you already know!?  All I do is bring great solutions to your performance pitfalls!

As usual, if you want the TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) version, skip to the end.  Just know you are hurting my feelings.

Last comment 10 May 2019
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Hello!

This article is a small overview of a tool that helps to understand classes and their structure inside the InterSystems products: from IRIS to Caché, Ensemble, HealthShare.

In short, it visualizes a class or an entire package, shows the relations between classes and provides all the possible information to developers and team leads without making them go to Studio and examine the code there.

If you are learning InterSystems products, reviewing projects a lot or just interested in something new in InterSystems Technology solutions — you are more than welcome to read the overview of ObjectScript Class Explorer!

Last comment 3 days ago
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Your application is deployed and everything is running fine. Great, hi-five! Then out of the blue the phone starts to ring off the hook – it’s users complaining that the application is sometimes ‘slow’. But what does that mean? Sometimes? What tools do you have and what statistics should you be looking at to find and resolve this slowness? Is your system infrastructure up to the task of the user load? What infrastructure design questions should you have asked before you went into production? How can you capacity plan for new hardware with confidence and without over-spec'ing? How can you stop the phone ringing? How could you have stopped it ringing in the first place?

Last comment 30 September 2016
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InterSystems IRIS 2019.1 has been out for a while and I would like to cover some enhancements for handling JSON which might have gone unnoticed. Dealing with JSON as a serialization format is an important part of building modern applications, especially when you interact with REST endpoints.

Last comment 4 July 2019
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So, one day you're working away at WidgetsDirect, the leading supplier of widget and widget accessories, when your boss asks you to develop the new customer facing portal to allow the client base to access the next generation of Widgets..... and he wants you to use Angular 1.x to read into the department's Caché server.   

There's only one problem:  You've never used Angular, and don't know how to make it talk to Caché.

This guide is going to walk through the process of setting up a full Angular stack which communicates with a Caché backend using JSON over REST.  

Last comment 13 December 2018
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In the last post we scheduled 24-hour collections of performance metrics using pButtons. In this post we are going to be looking at a few of the key metrics that are being collected and how they relate to the underlying system hardware. We will also start to explore the relationship between Caché (or any of the InterSystems Data Platforms) metrics and system metrics. And how you can use these metrics to understand the daily beat rate of your systems and diagnose performance problems.

Last comment 24 March 2018
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Enterprises need to grow and manage their global computing infrastructures rapidly and efficiently while simultaneously optimizing and managing capital costs and expenses. Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) computing and storage services meet the needs of the most demanding Caché based application by providing
 a highly robust global computing infrastructure.

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In this post I would like to talk about the syslog table.  I will cover what it is, how you look at it, what the entries really are, and why it may be important to you.  The syslog table can contain important diagnostic information.  If your system is having any problems, it is important to understand how to look at this table and what information is contained there.

Last comment 9 November 2016
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There are often questions surrounding the ideal Apache HTTPD Web Server configuration for HealthShare.  The contents of this article will outline the initial recommended web server configuration for any HealthShare product. 

As a starting point, Apache HTTPD version 2.4.x (64-bit) is recommended.  Earlier versions such as 2.2.x are available, however version 2.2 is not recommended for performance and scalability of HealthShare.

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Ansible helped me solve the problem of quickly deploying Caché and application components for Data Platforms benchmarks. You can use the same tools and methodology for standing up your test labs, training systems, development or other environments. If you deploy applications at customer sites you could automate much of the deployment and ensure that system, Caché and your application are configured to your applications best practice standards.

Last comment 29 December 2016
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Hi,

This is a quick tutorial how to install and use TFS in Atelier. It is based on my self experience and some tricks that I 've noted.

If you are used to using visual studio maybe you feel that is a bit slow and heavy, but you have the same TFS panel as you have in Visual Studio, so don't need any special "training" to use it smiley

Last comment 15 February 2019
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In this post I show strategies for backing up Caché using External Backup with examples of integrating with snapshot based solutions. The majority of solutions I see today are deployed on Linux on VMware so a lot of the post shows how solutions integrate VMware snapshot technology as examples.

Last comment 16 November 2018
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In this article I would like to present the RESTForms project - generic REST API backend for modern web applications.

The idea behind the project is simple -after I wrote several REST APIs I realized that generally, REST API consists of two parts:

  • Work with persistent classes
  • Custom business logic

And, while you'll have to write your own custom business logic, RESTForms provides all things related to working with persistent classes right out of the box.
Use cases

  • You already have a data model in Caché and you want to expose some (or all) of the information in a form of REST API
  • You are developing a new Caché application and you want to provide a REST API
Last comment 17 May 2018
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It was InterSystems hackathon time and our team, consisting of Artem Viznyuk and me had Arduino board (one) and various parts of it (in overabundance). And so like that our course of action was set - like all other Arduino beginners, we decided to build a weather station. But with data persistent storage in Caché and visualization in DeepSee!

Last comment 8 June 2017
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This week I am going to look at CPU, one of the primary hardware food groups :) A customer asked me to advise on the following scenario; Their production servers are approaching end of life and its time for a hardware refresh. They are also thinking of consolidating servers by virtualising and want to right-size capacity either bare-metal or virtualized. Today we will look at CPU, in later posts I will explain the approach for right-sizing other key food groups - memory and IO.

So the questions are:

Last comment 7 June 2017
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The goal of this “DeepSee Troubleshooting Guide” is to help you track down and fix problems in your DeepSee project.

If the problem can’t be fixed by following the guidelines, you will at least have enough information to submit a WRC issue with DeepSee Support and provide all the evidence to us, so we can continue the investigation together and resolve it faster!

Last comment 29 November 2018
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++ Update: August 1, 2018

The use of the InterSystems Virtual IP (VIP) address built-in to Caché database mirroring has certain limitations. In particular, it can only be used when mirror members reside the same network subnet. When multiple data centers are used, network subnets are not often “stretched” beyond the physical data center due to added network complexity (more detailed discussion here). For similar reasons, Virtual IP is often not usable when the database is hosted in the cloud.

Network traffic management appliances such as load balancers (physical or virtual) can be used to achieve the same level of transparency, presenting a single address to the client applications or devices. The network traffic manager automatically redirects clients to the current mirror primary’s real IP address. The automation is intended to meet the needs of both HA failover and DR promotion following a disaster. 

Last comment 14 June 2018
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++Update: August 2, 2018

This article provides a reference architecture as a sample for providing robust performing and highly available applications based on InterSystems Technologies that are applicable to Caché, Ensemble, HealthShare, TrakCare, and associated embedded technologies such as DeepSee, iKnow, Zen and Zen Mojo.

Azure has two different deployment models for creating and working with resources: Azure Classic and Azure Resource Manager. The information detailed in this article is based on the Azure Resource Manager model (ARM).

Last comment 8 July 2016
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InterSystems supports use of the InterSystems IRIS Docker images it provides on Linux only. Rather than executing containers as native processes, as on Linux platforms, Docker for Windows creates a Linux VM running under Hyper-V, the Windows virtualizer, to host containers. These additional layers add complexity that prevents InterSystems from supporting Docker for Windows at this time.

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InterSystems Data Platform includes utilities and tools for system monitoring and alerting, however System Administrators new to solutions built on the InterSystems Data Platform (a.k.a Caché) need to know where to start and what to configure.

This guide shows the path to a minimum monitoring and alerting solution using references from online documentation and developer community posts to show you how to enable and configure the following;

  1. Caché Monitor: Scans the console log and sends emails alerts.

  2. System Monitor: Monitors system status and resources, generating notifications (alerts and warnings) based on fixed parameters and also tracks overall system health.

  3. Health Monitor: Samples key system and user-defined metrics and compares them to user-configurable parameters and established normal values, generating notifications when samples exceed applicable or learned thresholds.

  4. History Monitor: Maintains a historical database of performance and system usage metrics.

  5. pButtons: Operating system and Caché metrics collection scheduled daily.

Remember this guide is a minimum configuration, the included tools are flexible and extensible so more functionality is available when needed. This guide skips through the documentation to get you up and going. You will need to dive deeper into the documentation to get the most out of the monitoring tools, in the meantime, think of this as a set of cheat sheets to get up and running.

Last comment 11 March 2019
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This is a posting about a particular feature of Caché which I find useful but is probably not well known or used. I am referring to the feature of Language Extensions.

This feature allows you to extend the commands, special variables and functions available in Caché Object Script with commands, special variables and functions of your own. This functionality also applies to other languages the Caché supports at the server, including Caché Basic and Multivalue Basic.  


Why would I need or want to add new commands ?

Last comment 11 January 2019
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Everybody has a testing environment.

Some people are lucky enough to have a totally separate environment to run production in.

-- Unknown

.

In this series of articles, I'd like to present and discuss several possible approaches toward software development with InterSystems technologies and GitLab. I will cover such topics as:

  • Git 101
  • Git flow (development process)
  • GitLab installation
  • GitLab WorkFlow
  • GitLab CI/CD
  • CI/CD with containers

This first part deals with the cornerstone of modern software development - Git version control system and various Git flows.

Last comment 22 November 2018
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This is a list of all the posts in the data platforms capacity planning and performance series in order. Also a general list of my other posts. I will update as new posts in the series are added.


Capacity Planning and Performance Series

Generally posts build on previous, but you can also just dive in to subjects that look interesting.

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The object and relational data models of the Caché database support three types of indexes, which are standard, bitmap, and bitslice. In addition to these three native types, developers can declare their own custom types of indexes and use them in any classes since version 2013.1. For example, iFind text indexes use that mechanism.

Last comment 29 January 2016
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