“The key to improving application performance is to identify and focus on the hot spots that have the greatest impact on performance.” — Bruce Dawson
The Performance Hot Spots framework is a powerful tool that can help your organization better manage and advance software performance.
As a business leader, you know that performance is critical for your organization. However, it can be overwhelming to navigate the vast amount of information out there on performance principles, patterns, and practices.
That’s where the Performance Hot Spots framework comes in. I created the Performance Hot Spots framework a lens for performance that can help you find, organize, and share software performance knowledge in a more actionable way.
I had worked on several large knowledge bases and knowledge management systems at Microsoft, so I wanted to apply that knowledge to advance the software performance space. I figured the best way to advance performance would be to create a set of categories for knowledge, similar to how the Project Management Body of Knowledge created Knowledge Categories to advance project management.
And so the Performance Hot Spots framework was born.
The Power of Performance Hot Spots
From a software performance standpoint, “hot spots” are an area of intense activity. They’re hot spots because they’re frequently executed code paths with some sort of friction or bottleneck.
They represent potential optimization paths for improving the performance of your code or design. You find the hot spots by measuring and analyzing the system.
Stepping back, we can use “Hot Spots” more loosely. We can use them to gather, organize, and share principles, patterns, and practices for performance.
You can think of Performance Hot Spots as a map or frame.
Remember that even with a map, you still need to set goals and measure. You need to know what good looks like and you need to know when you’re done.
The benefit of a map or frame is that you have a set of potential areas to help you focus your exploration as well as find and share knowledge.
Visual Overview of Software Performance Hot Spots
Here is a simple whiteboard overview of the Software Performance Hot Spots Framework:
Benefits of Performance Hot Spots
The Performance Hot Spots framework can help businesses and organizations to optimize their applications, deliver better user experiences, and increase their bottom line.
The Performance Hot Spots framework provides several benefits for tackling performance issues:
- Firstly, it chunk up the performance space, making it easier to navigate and understand the different components that affect performance.
- Secondly, by creating more meaningful filters, it helps to identify the areas that require immediate attention, reducing the risk of getting lost in the vast sea of performance-related information.
- Thirdly, it provides a living map to help you navigate through performance issues and solutions, keeping you up-to-date with the latest trends and strategies.
- Fourthly, Performance Hot Spots can guide your inspections, whether it’s in the performance design, code, or deployment stages, helping you to identify potential performance bottlenecks early on.
- Lastly, the framework helps to divide and conquer performance issues, making it easier to prioritize and address the most critical performance hot spots first.
Performance Hot Spot Categories
Performance is a crucial aspect of software development, especially as user expectations for speed and efficiency continue to rise.
To address performance issues effectively, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the key areas that impact performance.
This is where Performance Hot Spot Categories come in, providing a structured framework for identifying and addressing performance-related concerns.
The Performance Hot Spots at the application level are:
- Coupling / Cohesion
- Data Access
- Data Structures / Algorithms
- Exception Management
- Resource Management
- State Management
Performance Hot Spots for Applications
Here are some common performance issues organized by Performance Hot Spots:
|Coupling and Cohesion||
|Data Structures / Algorithms||
Examples / Case Studies of the Performance Hot Spots in Action
Using Performance Hot Spots can help organizations achieve better performance results by providing a structured approach to identifying and addressing performance issues.
The evidence is clear, as seen in examples such as the Improving .NET Application Performance and Scalability book and the Performance Testing Guidance for Web Applications, which were framed using Performance Hot Spots.
The Performance Hot Spots approach is also used in Performance Engineering, Performance Design Guidelines, Performance Inspections, Performance Checklists, and Performance Modeling, making it a versatile and effective tool for optimizing performance.
Using Performance Hot Spots produces results. Here are examples of Performance Hot spots in Action:
- Performance Guides / Books. We used Performance Hot Spots to help frame the patterns & practices book Improving .NET Application Performance and Scalability and Performance Testing Guidance for Web Applications.
- Performance Engineering. The heart of our patterns & practices Performance Engineering is Performance Hot Spot driven. We focus on the high ROI activities and each activity uses Performance Hot Spots to focus results.
- Performance and Scalability Frame. We use the Performance Hot Spots to create the Performance and Scalability Frame.
- Performance Design Guidelines. We used Performance Hot Spots to create the Performance Frame, which is an organizing backdrop for Performance Design Guidelines.
- Performance Inspections. We used Performance Hot Spots to drive our patterns & practices Performance Design Inspection prescriptive guidance
- Performance Checklists. We organize our Performance Design Checklist using the Performance Hot Spots.
- Performance Modeling. We use the Performance Hot Spots as a way to guide and structure our patterns & practices Performance Modeling approach.
Questions for Reflection
Performance Hot Spots can offer numerous benefits for your organization. Here are some questions to help you leverage them to improve your performance results:
- How can you use Performance Hot Spots to identify and address performance issues in your applications?
- How can you organize your performance knowledge using Performance Hot Spots to make it more actionable?
- How can you use Performance Hot Spots to share best practices and anti-patterns among your team members?
- How can you improve your performance checklists using Performance Hot Spots to focus on key areas?
- How can you use Performance Hot Spots to optimize your performance inspections, such as code reviews and deployment inspections?