Conference Notes

Paul Grover, "The Need for Speed – Accelerating the Next Generation Web", Mar 19

After a light morning tea (and coffee!!!), Paul Grover, the Technical Director at Observatory Crest Ltd here in New Zealand, spoke on The Need for Speed: Accelerating the Next Generation Web. He didn’t use a Mac.

Agenda: the need for speed, web acceleration, and reaching maximum speed.

The Need for Speed
Web pages have changed significantly in the past decade … from a static page, to a fully-fledged application delivered to the browser. Applications via the WAN are slow … many users are still on dial-up connections, there is little coordination between developers and administrators (so apps become chatty), and the increased mobility of users. Security and authentication adds overhead.

Approaches to dealing with this: tasking web developers to make applications faster, which often leads to pointing of fingers back and forth between developers, network guys, security people, and more.

Web Acceleration
Some ways to make applications faster:

  • Network Offload … applications don’t necessarily perform faster with more bandwidth, there can be incompatibility between browsers and servers, duplicate data has to go across the network, and more. A key way of improving this is a hardware appliance that translates between non-optimized clients and servers on the WAN.
  • Server Offload … use static caching and compression to reduce the demands on servers. Dynamic content can be compressed on the fly, leading to improved performance.
  • SSL Offload … SSL processing is a high overhead task for servers. Something that takes the SSL processing out to a dedicated appliance is a good thing.
  • Application Offload … it’s possible to map applications as dynamic and static components, and then optimize where each part is served from. Eg, caching of dynamic content, and re-serving up only data deltas.

Closing Thoughts
Some vendors have point products. Others have overall solutions.

Michael’s Thoughts
Dude, this was a tech-heavy session. Paul knows what’s he’s talking about–there was a lot of specialized understanding communicated by Paul in this session. If you have issues with Web application performance, get in contact with Paul.

Categories: Conference Notes