Room for improvement in Java app performance

By Jack Vaughan

Wily Technology recently took a look at J2EE application performance. The company undertook a benchmark survey to uncover user experiences and plans. The results seem to bear out some of the anecdotal evidence that -- after a number of years in the field -- J2EE performance still has room for improvement.

Programmers are familiar with the gap between development-time J2EE performance and real-world "mileage," and they have been increasingly more savvy in packaging their apps and "parsing" their calls. The next step may be to lobby IT bosses to establish best performance management practices on the deployment side.

Among the survey highlights: Applications availability and performance is generally average to poor -- at their worst, applications average only a 60% attainment of performance targets.

"Availability for many organizations is not where it should be," said Mike Molloy, vice president of marketing, Wily Technology.

Only 42% of apps perform as planned on their initial deployment. Integration of Java apps is a challenge. In 86% of cases, Wily indicated, the source of app performance issues was in areas such as connections to databases, connections to mainframes and the like. The company said 350 active J2EE users took part in the survey.

Poor performance is not the rule, said Molloy. He noted that there were end users that attained J2EE availability in "the high 90s." Wily drilled down to see what steps these achievers took and what lessons could be learned.

The better Java shops tend to dedicate some full-time resources to these applications, "just as they have with legacy apps," noted Molloy. In addition, they tend to use application management tools designed for the J2EE environment. (Wily Technology, in fact, is just such as firm.) Finally, the top-enders "had disciplined problem resolution and problem triage methodologies, so people can develop best practices," noted Molloy.

What makes J2EE apps different than mainframe apps? The rate of change, said Molloy. J2EE can still change daily, while mainframe apps are far more staid and established, he noted.

Wily is holding a series of seminars based on the survey For more info, go to


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