Thursday Feb 14, 2013

Importance of Page-Fragment Caching in Enabling High Performance Websites

Today's guest blog post is from Mariam Tariq, Senior Director of Product Management  for Oracle WebCenter Sites. Mariam has worked in the technology space for over 15 years with a focus in web content management, social marketing, and mobility. She has also held roles in product management, strategy and engineering at Zenprise, Interwoven, and Scientific Atlanta. Mariam holds BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley.

For most organizations, the online channel is a significant customer touch point which continues to grow in importance year after year.  Delivering a highly responsive website with no downtime ensures there is neither revenue loss nor poor customer experience.  A caching subsystem is a central part of the website delivery system needed to achieve high performance.

While page-level caching is essential for performance, further caching at a fragment level  enables dynamic delivery of the website such that pages can be assembled at runtime when incoming requests are received.  This is especially critical to delivering targeted websites where different users see different content on a page based on his/her visitor attributes such as location, time of day, or registered preferences. It is much more efficient to recompute only the fragments of the page that are different rather than the entire page, as typically only small amounts of data on a page will change.

Oracle WebCenter Sites is a Web Content Management system capable of this type of high scale dynamic delivery. In WebCenter Sites, efficient dynamic delivery is made possible by keeping track of changes to individual web components and dependencies between them. This is followed by just-in-time page assembly and caching of discrete fragments at the edge of the network.  As a result, even when data is managed in traditional relational databases, the page delivery model scales to serve a very high throughput site with a reasonably small hardware footprint.

WebCenter Sites provides two layers of caching known as double-buffered caching: Sites Server cache and Satellite Server cache.  Sites Servers are the core servers that can publish to Satellite Servers. Satellite Servers are remote servers that provide distributed caching and are first to receive the client requests. A typical deployment topology is shown below. If the requested page is not in the Satellite Server cache, it is requested from WebCenter Sites. If WebCenter Sites does not have the page in its cache, it regenerates it and sends it to Satellite Server.  

Figure: Typical WebCenter Sites Deployment Topology

Furthermore, WebCenter Sites communicates asset dependency information to all Sites and Satellite Server nodes. So when individual assets on a page change, each cluster node (in a Sites or Satellite Server cluster) is able to determine where that asset is used and which page fragments should be invalidated. Caching is therefore not limited to only page level. WebCenter Sites caching includes multiple layers of different kinds of cache, each tooled for a specific delivery scenario:  assets, page fragments, and even database queries.

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) can be used with WebCenter Sites to further increase performance. WebCenter Sites complements CDNs by caching authenticated content not typically cachable by CDNs.  In addition, WebCenter Sites Satellites are an added availability layer that can provide a back up to the CDN as well as act as an additional barrier for intrusion attacks.  For companies with moderate traffic, WebCenter Sites provides a cost effective solution for caching in lieu of using a CDN.

To summarize,  granular caching at a fragment-level ensures a high performing website with reduced cost and hardware footprint. To meet and anticipate performance needs, such a caching strategy should considered when implementing a website.


On Demand Webcast: How Brands Can Survive Digital Darwinism

This is the age of Digital Darwinism – where society and technology evolve faster than your ability to adapt. How well poised is your brand to survive and thrive in this new environment? Watch this webcast to hear Altimeter Group digital analyst and futurist, Brian Solis, discuss the rise of connected consumerism and learn how brands can survive Digital Darwinism by better understanding customer expectations, disruptive technology, and the new opportunities that arise from them. 

Monday Aug 06, 2012

Citius, Altius, Fortius: A Faster, Higher, Stronger Online Customer Experience

If you’ve been keeping up with coverage of the London 2012 Olympics, you’ve probably been hearing a lot of the Latin phrase, “Citius, Altius, Fortius,” the Olympic motto which means “Faster, Higher, Stronger.”  This motto was proposed by International Olympic Committee (IOC) founder, Pierre de Coubertin, back when the IOC was first established in 1894.  Since then, this motto has represented an Olympic ideal. An ideal that comes to life as medals are earned, as records are broken, and above all, in the day-to-day sacrifices made by athletes as they strive to compete at the elite level .

While the motto “Citius, Altius, Fortius” is very clearly and easily applicable to the realm of athletic competition, what does it mean to strive to be “Faster, Higher, Stronger”  when it comes to delivering an ideal  online customer experience in a competitive business landscape?  Like competitive athletes, those tasked with the management of extremely large, complex and dynamic web deployments are looking to create conditions for optimal performance.  And in the business arena, optimal performance translates into increased sales, brand loyalty and customer satisfaction.  

Citius, Altius, Fortius

You could say that Oracle knows a thing or two about creating conditions for the optimal performance of your online customer experience initiatives. By deploying Oracle’s web experience management solution, Oracle WebCenter Sites on Oracle Exalogic, a combination of hardware and software for applications and middleware, the desired conditions for optimal performance can be achieved.

This combination of hardware and software is called an engineered system. Oracle’s engineered system for the Oracle database is Oracle Exadata Database Machine. Oracle’s engineered system for applications, including WebCenter Sites, is Exalogic. Deploying WebCenter Sites, on WebLogic, JRockit, Exalogic and Exadata can improve the performance of uncached page delivery by 11.6x, the performance of cached delivery by 1.6x, and the performance of publishing by 3.7x over a comparable system running Tomcat. For a large site with 200 million page views per month, that’s 200 million more positive customer touch points, which ultimately leads to higher top-line revenue through increased brand loyalty and conversion rates.

These are just a few of the ways in which the combination of Oracle WebCenter Sites, Oracle Exalogic and Oracle Exadata enable you to deliver a faster, higher and stronger online customer experience.  To learn more about how this powerful combination can supercharge Oracle WebCenter Sites performance, reduce total cost of ownership and deliver faster time to market, check out the free whitepaper, Oracle Exalogic & Oracle Exadata: The Optimal Platform for Oracle WebCenter Sites.

Monday Oct 25, 2010

Q&A: Latest Innovations in Oracle Enterprise Content Management Suite 11g

Michele Huff, Product Management Director for Oracle Enterprise Content Management, discusses the key innovations of the latest launch.

Since the launch of Oracle Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Suite 11g in June, what features have been most exciting to Oracle customers?

It's definitely been a much anticipated release. Probably the top 5 things that I've heard the most excitement about from customers are:  

  1. ECM Suite (Universal Content Management, Imaging and Process Management, Universal Records Management and Information Rights Management) now all runs on their Fusion Middleware architecture.
  2. Imaging and Process Management 11g uses the same unified repository as Universal Content Management and offers a slick new image viewer that works on any browser.
  3. The new Site Studio for External Applications in UCM, which builds on Oracle's Open Web Content Management strategy, enables customers to bring in a rich content contribution experience and other WCM features into existing Web applications.
  4. The new desktop integrations, which adds new menus and ribbons into Microsoft Office and "smart productivity folders" into Windows Explorer (we had many beta customers that couldn't wait for this to release).
  5. Universal Records Management 11g, which people have been waiting to implement since it was fully certified against all parts of the US Department of Defense records management standard - baseline, classified, and Freedom of Information and Privacy Act.  (DoD5015.2 v. 3)

Oracle ECM Suite 11g is built on a unified content repository. How does this benefit customers?

Well, it all boils down to ROI and scalability. Content is created, processed and accessed by everyone enterprise-wide. And organizations are beginning to include ECM technology as a part of their existing shared service model to allocate the cost of content to different departments and divisions.  Instead of having Web sites in one repository, scanned images in another, audio & video files trapped in custom applications, records stored separately, and collaborative documents and workspaces in yet another. Oracle provides you with unified ECM. From an administrator's perspective, this means a single installer for all of ECM, centralized logging and monitoring, and simplified system configurations. From a developer's perspective, this means faster integrations that are easier to maintain. And from the IT organization's perspective, this enables them to better manage and reduce overall costs by reusing customizations and processes as well as concentrating skill-sets.

Studies show that Oracle ECM Suite 11g has achieved the industry's best performance and scalability. How did Oracle do it?

First, we added in a new Fast Check-in feature to the content repository in 11g to support high-volume content ingestion. Next, we brought the ECM technology stack to work on top of Oracle's Application Grid which provides world-record performance for managing applications. Then, we took advantage of the performance testing teams here at Oracle to help test, tune and recommend architectures for performance, scalability, reliability and high-availability. Finally, we paired ECM Suite with Exadata to see if we could eliminate bottlenecks during content ingestion and were able to see results of 179 million documents / day with a simple two-node ECM Suite configuration on generic hardware with Sun Oracle Database Machine Half Rack Hardware.

Why is this performance and scalability so important given today's business and computing demands?

Managing and gaining insight from the explosive growth in information is one of the top business challenges organizations face today. And this content is typically spread out across multiple content silos (content systems, file systems, databases, workspaces, applications) and disconnected from users, processes, and systems. Some organizations are embarking on new initiatives around "master content management" or sometimes called "unstructured content warehouses" or "content infrastructures" - and one of the key requirements in tackling this challenge is a solution that can handle the performance and scalability demands required for this volume of content and number of users.

A lot of work went into integrating Oracle ECM Suite 11g up and down the Oracle technology stock. How does this make life easier for IT?

They are similar to some of the benefits we talked about with the unified content repository. Having ECM run on a common IT infrastructure makes it that much easier to install, maintain, integrate and train staff to implement and use the solution. And one of the highest costs in content management are around integrations within business processes, to desktop and enterprise applications, with business intelligence, and into Web sites and databases. With 11g we tried to take a lot of that work on and provide many of these integrations to our customers out of the box.

Visit our launch resource center to learn more about Oracle ECM 11g .

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Oracle Cloud Content and Process power the next wave of productivity, mobile efficiency, and workgroup innovation. Only Oracle offers an integrated suite of content, process and sites cloud services that enable business users to easily collaborate anywhere, simplify business automation, and communicate more effectively.


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