Been working on 'MVP' features of a new product for the past 14 months. Customer has no f**king clue on how to design for performance. An uncomfortable amount of faith was placed on the ORM (ORMs are not bad as long as you know what you are doing) and the magic that the current framework provides. (Again, magic is good so long as you understand what happens behind the smoke and mirrors - but f**k all that... coz hey, productivity, right?). Customer was so focussed on features that no one ever thought of giving any attention to subtler things like 'hey, my transaction is doing a gazillion joins across trizillion tables while making a million calls to the db - maybe I should put more f**king thought into my design.' We foresaw performance and concurrency issues and raised them way ahead of the release. How did the customer respond? By hiring a performance tester. Fair enough - but what did that translate into? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Hiring a perf tester doesn't automagically fix issues. The perf tester did not have a stable environment, a stable build or anything that is required to do a test with meaningful results. As the release date approached, the customer launched a pilot and things started failing spectacularly with the system not able to support more than 15 concurrent users. WTF! (My 'I told you so' moment) Emails started flying in all directions and the hunt for the scapegoat was on (I'm a sucker for CYA so I was covered). People started pointing in all directions but no one bothered to take a step back and understand what was causing the issues. Numero uno reason for transaction failure was deadlocks. We were using a proprietary DB with kickass tooling. No one bothered to use the tooling to understand what was the resource in contention let alone how to fix the contention. Absolute panic - its like they just froze. Debugging shit and doing the same thing again and again just so that management knew they were upto something. Most of the indexes had a fragmentation of 99.8% - I shit you not. Anywho, we now have a 'war room' where the perf tester needs to script the entire project by tonight and come up with some numbers that will amount to nothing while we stay up and keep profiling the shit out of the application under load.

Lessons learnt - When you foresee a problem make a LOT of noise to get people to act upon it and not wait till it comes back and bites you in the ass. Better yet, try not to get into a team where people can't understand the implications of shitty design choices. War room my ass!

  • 7
    Fail room more like ;) my sympathies, but well done on the CYA. It's a valuable habit to keep.
  • 0
    Noob question. ORM?
  • 1
    @demortes Object Relational Mapping. Handy tool that, when used properly, helps deal with object-relational impedance mismatch. Helps you think in terms of domain models instead of your db tables.
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