As transactional data volumes increase, system architecture must stay flexible and be able to scale in accordance.
Back in September, the London Stock Exchange experienced a significant interruption when a proprietary system built on Microsoft technology went offline. Few details were shared, but I eventually cobbled together a rough explanation of what happened.
The stock exchange's system hung due to a "coincidence" (whatever that means) that stopped data from processing. What appears to have happened is several Windows processes, including message processing, crashed at the same time due to a configuration glitch. Because the applications were so directly tied in to Windows, the impact affected everything instead of just one component.
I spoke on the phone with Craig Hayman, vice president of IBM's WebSphere, discussing how open standards and design principles allow for more robust system architecture. Craig explained that the stock exchange incident was likely a result of being too dependent on a myopic structure rather than relying on a three-tier architecture that's been proven to scale.
It feels a bit old-school to talk about three-tier architectures in this day of Ruby apps built in 15 minutes, but the fact is you need separation and best-of-breed components when you are dealing with large transaction volumes and varietal peaks. … Read more