Welcome!

You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

ColdFusion Authors: Yakov Fain, Jeremy Geelan, Maureen O'Gara, Nancy Y. Nee, Tad Anderson

Related Topics: ColdFusion

ColdFusion: Article

Enter the Scalability Zone

Enter the Scalability Zone

Over the past three years as an Allaire partner, I have been involved in countless marketing presentations where I touted ColdFusion as the best solution for producing Web-based applications. During this time other product vendors, instead of selling against CF based on feature comparisons, have instead focused on peripheral issues. Throughout the CF 2.0 product cycle, I would routinely be questioned about Allaire's staying power in the market, financial performance and capital inflows. Allaire's rapidly expanding market share and IPO silenced those critics. During the CF 3.x product cycle, our competitors shifted to attack CF as an unsuitable product for the enterprise, questioning whether it could "scale" to support an unlimited number of concurrent users.

Despite anecdotal evidence to the contrary (AutoByTel and SmartMoney interactive), some clients remained unconvinced. Allaire recognized this tactic and proceeded to load CF 4 with features to address this concern. Chief among these is the Enterprise edition's BrightTiger ClusterCats integration. Certainly ClusterCats has been an invaluable marketing tool for positioning CF as ready for the enterprise. However, one must ask whether using clustering eliminates the need for designing software that functions efficiently. Throughout my experience as a scalability consultant, I have yet to encounter a Web site that could not be made to scale by tweaking the underlying source code. Optimizing CF applications should be viewed as a five-step process.

Step 1: Review the Debug Stream
Reviewing the debug stream continues to be the fastest method for identifying slowly executing pages. A total page execution time over five seconds may indicate a problem. Review the queries that are executed on each page. Are you retrieving the same data each time? Try caching the query for enhanced performance.

Step 2: CFML Code Review
New CF developers, unfamiliar with the vast number of functions, choose to code their own, less efficient methods in CFML. Granted, reading the CF function reference may not be as exciting as a Grisham novel, but it's necessary. Using the valuelist() function to generate a comma delimited list from the values in a given query column instead of coding a concatenation algorithm using CFLOOP can shave seconds off your execution time. A list of other CFML coding tips can be found on the Allaire Web site at http://allaire.com/Handlers/index.cfm?ID=1576&Method=Full.

Step 3: Leverage the Database
Poor database design runs rampant in our industry. Review your data model using a database design tool such as ER/Win from Platinum Software. Are you enforcing referential integrity? Is the database represented in at least a third normal form? Consider the queries you'll need to execute throughout your application and ask yourself how easy (or difficult) it will be to retrieve the information from your data structure. Next, move all your queries into SQL Stored Procedures. CF 4.01 now supports returning record sets from ORACLE and passing parameters to MS Access Queries through the <CFSTOREDPROC> tag. You'll get your data returned much faster than using traditional SQL passthrough.

By using Stored Procedure program constructs you may also be able to combine several sql statements into a single call, eliminating the overhead associated with multiple queries. Still seeing poor response times? Review your database's SQL reference. Query execution time may be reduced by up to 90% by utilizing aggregate functions and platform-specific SQL constructs that quickly perform calculations on vast sets of data.

Step 4: Leverage the Client
Many developers irrationally fear using client-JavaScript in their applications. While support for the language does vary widely among the browsers, a high payoff can result from transferring application logic from the server to the browser. End users see better response times since no server request is involved and the traffic between the browser and server can be greatly reduced. These high-payoff items outweigh the slightly longer development and debugging cycle that JS development requires.

Step 5: Review the Hardware Configuration
Once you've optimized the application programmatically, review the CF server's hardware and software configuration. Make sure that the application and database servers are on different machines and have adequate amounts of RAM (512 MB and 1 GB, respectively) if you expect a lot of traffic. Allocate enough memory for the CF template cache to allow the server to cache all of your application pages. If you've gone through this entire process and are still experiencing server timeouts or require failover capability, then it may be time to take the clustering plunge.

The continual advances in processing performance have allowed developers on other platforms to write bloated, inefficient code. I view ClusterCats, mistakenly seen as a panacea for scalability, as potentially having the same effect on CF application development. Stop the madness before it begins.

More Stories By Steve Drucker

Steve Drucker is the CEO of Fig Leaf Software, a Macromedia premier solutions and training partner with offices in Washington, DC and Atlanta, GA. He is also a certified Macromedia instructor and MM certified Dreamweaver, Flash, and Advanced ColdFusion MX developer.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Whenever a new technology hits the high points of hype, everyone starts talking about it like it will solve all their business problems. Blockchain is one of those technologies. According to Gartner's latest report on the hype cycle of emerging technologies, blockchain has just passed the peak of their hype cycle curve. If you read the news articles about it, one would think it has taken over the technology world. No disruptive technology is without its challenges and potential impediments t...
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
If a machine can invent, does this mean the end of the patent system as we know it? The patent system, both in the US and Europe, allows companies to protect their inventions and helps foster innovation. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be set to disrupt the patent system as we know it. This talk will examine how AI may change the patent landscape in the years to come. Furthermore, ways in which companies can best protect their AI related inventions will be examined from both a US and...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of San...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...