performance engineering questions

Few of the questions that can help in solving performance issues:

Load balance issues

  • What type of load balancing scheme is used? (Round robin, sticky IP, least connections, subnet based?)
  • What is the timeout of LB table?
  • Does it do any connection pooling?
  • Is it doing any content filtering?
  • Is it checking for HTTP response status?
  • Are there application dependencies associated with the LB timeout settings?
  • What failover strategies are employed?
  • What is the connection persistence timeout?
  • Are there application dependencies associated with the LB timeout settings?
  • What are the timeouts for critical functions?

Firewall issues

  • What is the throughput capacity?
  • What is the connection capacity and rate?
  • What is the DMZ operation?
  • What are the throughput policies from a single IP?
  • What are the connection policies from a single IP?

Firewalls and multiple DMZs

  • Does the firewall do content filtering?
  • Is it sensitive to inbound and/or outbound traffic?
  • What is its upper connection limit?
  • Are there policies associated with maximum connection or throughput per IP address?
  • Are there multiple firewalls in the architecture (multiple DMZs)?
  • If it has multiple DMZs, is it sensitive to data content?

Web server issues

  • How many connections can the server handle?
  • How many open file descriptors or handles is the server configured to handle?
  • How many processes or threads is the server configured to handle?
  • Does it release and renew threads and connections correctly?
  • How large is the server’s listen queue?
  • What is the server’s “page push” capacity?
  • What type of caching is done?
  • Is there any page construction done here?
  • Is there dynamic browsing?
  • What type of server-side scripting is done? (ASP, JSP, Perl, JavaScript, PHP, etc.)
  • Are there any SSL acceleration devices in front of the web server?
  • Are there any content caching devices in front of the web server?
  • Can server extensions and their functions be validated? (ASP, JSP, PHP, Perl, CGI, servlets, ISAPI filter/app, etc.)
  • Monitoring (Pools: threads, processes, connections, etc. Queues: ASP, sessions, etc. General: CPU, memory, I/O, context switch rate, paging, etc.)

Application server issues

  • Is there any page construction done here?
  • How is session management done and what is the capacity?
  • Are there any clustered configurations?
  • Is there any load balancing done?
  • If there is software load balancing, which one is the load balancer?
  • What is the page construction capacity?
  • Do components have a specific interface to peripheral and external systems?

Database server issues

  • Have both small and large data sets been tested?
  • What is the connection pooling configuration?
  • What are its upper limits?

The experienced performance engineer asks the questions;

  • Why is the application updating all these tables on an order creation?
  • Why is it calling the remote pricing call three times?
  • Why are you creating a new object for the same customer or product?
  • Why is the database connection handler making so many connections for a static number of users?
  • Did you expect your users/customer to come from a slow wireless connection? Did you test for that?
  • Did you realize the Application Servers where in one data center and the database was in another data center?
  • Who set the JVM memory configuration?
  • Why are the indexes on the same volumes as the files?
  • The performance testing database was one quarter size the production database.
  • How many physical CPU’s did you really allocate to the Database Server?
  • How was the peak volume determined?
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