Monday, 20 October 2008

Model universe

A respected friend and technical expert discussed recently his concept of a Model Universe for an IT organisation. Conceptually, each and every activity that an IT organisation undertakes in delivering business value should be documented and understood using modelling techniques. Some people misunderstand business value.

Business value isn't described in computer talk, ITIL jargon, or CMMI frameworks. Business value is demonstrated in hard cash, brand awareness and market reputation. Business value is delivered by IT organisations in the generation of revenue, capacity for market access and quality of service to its customers. The value of a model universe can best be understood by removing the understanding of each of those attributes. It is the understanding that is captured and documented with a model, the understanding of the performance of the revenue generating vehicle, the capacity of the vehicle to access the market, and the quality of the service that the vehicle provides.

Without the understanding, you have a vehicle but no blueprint. You have the car, but no owners manual. Without the model universe, you have the capacity but are unaware of the limits. If you had that insight, what would you do with it?

Thursday, 9 October 2008

manual vs automated "performance engineering"

When performance testing practises mature, recognising the connection between response time and system capacity, insight into the nature of the correlation becomes important. As often as there is a significant gap between a performance test scenario and potential live scenarios, the value of performance testing takes a blow. Filling that gap cost-effectively requires insight, which can only be gathered by correlating the workload, response time and system utilization. At this point, creating a performance model is the only technique that fits the gap.

But performance modelling can be a complex process, filled with uncertainty and concerns about time investments. Often, it's better err on the side of simplicity rather than drive into the details, however tempting it may be. Leadership in this field is essential to derive cost/efficiencies out of this maturity transformation; there are many complexities lurking for the unwary.

In my company HyPerformix, one recent customer success story came at PepsiCo. Doug Taylor, Enterprise Test Centre Architect, recently said "if I can shrink the amount of work I do on performance testing, it not only saves hardware and software dollars, because the machines are smaller, but it also decreases the amount of time that the performance team has to build an environment, run and environment, and test it".

Doug was able to make significant efficiency savings by moving from a performance testing model to a performance engineering model, and reduce the amount of time taken in one case from 5 months to just 1 day. Don't believe it? Review Doug’s webinar online here