Article
Tony Pepper · May 25, 2016 5m read
Random Read IO Storage Performance Tool

New Tool Available

Please see PerfTools IO Test Suite for a later version of the Random Read IO tool.

Purpose

This tool is used to generate random read Input/Output (IO) from within the database. The goal of this tool is to drive as many jobs as possible to achieve target IOPS and ensure acceptable disk response times are sustained. Results gathered from the IO tests will vary from configuration to configuration based on the IO sub-system. Before running these tests ensure corresponding operating system and storage level monitoring are configured to capture IO performance metrics for later analysis.

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While reviewing our documentation for our ^pButtons (in IRIS renamed as ^SystemPerformance) performance monitoring utility, a customer told me: "I understand all of this, but I wish it could be simpler… easier to define profiles, manage them etc.".

After this session I thought it would be a nice exercise to try and provide some easier human interface for this.

The first step in this was to wrap a class-based API to the existing pButtons routine.

I was also able to add some more "features" like showing what profiles are currently running, their time remaining to run, previously running processes and more.

The next step was to add on top of this API, a REST API class.

With this artifact (a pButtons REST API) in hand, one can go ahead and build a modern UI on top of that.

For example -

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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?

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The following steps show you how to display a sample list of metrics available from the /api/monitor service.

In the last post, I gave an overview of the service that exposes IRIS metrics in Prometheus format. The post shows how to set up and run IRIS preview release 2019.4 in a container and then list the metrics.


This post assumes you have Docker installed. If not, go and do that now for your platform :)

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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.

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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:

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Globals, these magic swords for storing data, have been around for a while, but not many people can use them efficiently or know about this super-weapon altogether.

If you use globals for tasks where they truly shine, the results may be amazing, either in terms of increased performance or dramatic simplification of the overall solution (1, 2).

Globals offer a special way of storing and processing data, which is completely different from SQL tables. They were first introduced in 1966 in the M(UMPS) programming language, which was initially used in medical databases. It is still used in the same way, but has also been adopted by some other industries where reliability and high performance are top priorities: finance, trading, etc.

Later M(UMPS) evolved into Caché ObjectScript (COS). COS was developed by InterSystems as a superset of M. The original language is still accepted by developers' community and alive in a few implementations. There are several signs of activity around the web: MUMPS Google group, Mumps User's group), effective ISO Standard, etc.

Modern global based DBMS supports transactions, journaling, replication, partitioning. It means that they can be used for building modern, reliable and fast distributed systems.

Globals do not restrict you to the boundaries of the relational model. They give you the freedom of creating data structures optimized for particular tasks. For many applications reasonable use of globals can be a real silver bullet offering speeds that developers of conventional relational applications can only dream of.

Globals as a method of storing data can be used in many modern programming languages, both high- and low-level. Therefore, this article will focus specifically on globals and not the language they once came from.

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While the integrity of Caché and InterSystems IRIS databases is completely protected from the consequences of system failure, physical storage devices do fail in ways that corrupt the data they store. For that reason, many sites choose to run regular database integrity checks, particularly in coordination with backups to validate that a given backup could be relied upon in a disaster.

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Article
Guillaume Rongier · Apr 9, 2019 3m read
IRIS/Ensemble as an ETL

IRIS and Ensemble are designed to act as an ESB/EAI. This mean they are build to process lots of small messages.

But some times, in real life we have to use them as ETL. The down side is not that they can't do so, but it can take a long time to process millions of row at once.

To improve performance, I have created a new SQLOutboundAdaptor who only works with JDBC.

BatchSqlOutboundAdapter

Extend EnsLib.SQL.OutboundAdapter to add batch batch and fetch support on JDBC connection.

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Myself and the other Technology Architects often have to explain to customers and vendors Caché IO requirements and the way that Caché applications will use storage systems. The following tables are useful when explaining typical Caché IO profile and requirements for a transactional database application with customers and vendors. The original tables were created by Mark Bolinsky.

In future posts I will be discussing more about storage IO so am also posting these tables now as a reference for those articles.

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Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) solutions have been gaining traction for the last few years with the number of deployments now increasing rapidly. IT decision makers are considering HCI when scoping new deployments or hardware refreshes especially for applications already virtualised on VMware. Reasons for choosing HCI include; dealing with a single vendor, validated interoperability between all hardware and software components, high performance especially IO, simple scalability by addition of hosts, simplified deployment and simplified management.

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InterSystems and Intel recently conducted a series of benchmarks combining InterSystems IRIS with 2nd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processors, also known as “Cascade Lake”, and Intel® Optane™ DC Persistent Memory (DCPMM). The goals of these benchmarks are to demonstrate the performance and scalability capabilities of InterSystems IRIS with Intel’s latest server technologies in various workload settings and server configurations. Along with various benchmark results, three different use-cases of Intel DCPMM with InterSystems IRIS are provided in this report.

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Our team is reworking an application to use REST services that use the same database as our current ZEN application. One of the new REST endpoints uses a query that ran very slowly when first implemented. After some analysis, we found that an index on one of the fields in the table greatly improved performance (a query that took 35 seconds was now taking a fraction of a second).

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Introduction

InterSystems has recently completed a performance and scalability benchmark of IRIS for Health 2020.1, focusing on HL7 version 2 interoperability. This article describes the observed throughput for various workloads, and also provides general configuration and sizing guidelines for systems where IRIS for Health is used as an interoperability engine for HL7v2 messaging.

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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

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In the previous parts (1, 2) we talked about globals as trees. In this article, we will look at them as sparse arrays.

A sparse array - is a type of array where most values assume an identical value.

In practice, you will often see sparse arrays so huge that there is no point in occupying memory with identical elements. Therefore, it makes sense to organize sparse arrays in such a way that memory is not wasted on storing duplicate values.

In some programming languages, sparse arrays are part of the language - for example, in J, MATLAB. In other languages, there are special libraries that let you use them. For C++, those would be Eigen and the like.

Globals are good candidates for implementing sparse arrays for the following reasons:

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Dynamic PoolSize (DPS) Experiment

Purpose:

Enhance Ensemble or IRIS production so it can dynamically allocate pool size for adapter-based components based on their utilization.

Sometimes, an unexpected traffic volume occurs, and default pool size allocated to production components may become a bottleneck. To avoid such situations, I created a demonstrator project some 2 years ago to see, whether it would be possible and feasible to modify production, so it allowed for dynamically modifying its components per their load.

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, what's a video worth? Certainly more than typing a post.

Please check out my "Coding talks" on InterSystems Developers YouTube:

1. Analysing InterSystems IRIS System Performance with Yape. Part 1: Installing Yape

Running Yape in a container.

2. Yape Container SQLite iostat InterSystems

Extracting and plotting pButtons data including timeframes and iostat.

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APM normally focuses on the activity of the application but gathering information about system usage gives you important background information that helps understand and manage the performance of your application so I am including the IRIS History Monitor in this series.

In this article I will briefly describe how you start the IRIS or Caché History Monitor to build a record of the system level activity to go with the application activity and performance information you gather. I will also give examples of SQL to access the information.

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A few years ago, I was teaching the basics of our %UnitTest framework during Caché Foundations class (now called Developing Using InterSystems Objects and SQL). A student asked if it was possible to collect performance statistics while running unit tests. A few weeks later, I added some additional code to the %UnitTest examples to answer this question. I’m finally sharing it on the Community.

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Continuing on with providing some examples of various storage technologies and their performance profiles, this time we looked at the growing trend of leveraging internal commodity-based server storage, specifically the new HPE Cloudline 3150 Gen10 AMD processor-based single socket servers with two 3.2TB Samsung PM1725a NVMe drives.

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A short post for now to answer a question that came up. In post two of this series I included graphs of performance data extracted from pButtons. I was asked off-line if there is a quicker way than cut/paste to extract metrics for mgstat etc from a pButtons .html file for easy charting in Excel.

See: - Part 2 - Looking at the metrics we collected

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