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Maximize XML processing performance Organizations seeking to use XML to integrate applications and share data often face significant performance challenges. To address these challenges, Layer 7 Technologies offers hardware appliances incorporating LSI Corporation’s market-leading XML acceleration technology. For Cloud-based deployments, which cannot accommodate hardware appliances, Layer 7 provides software-based XML acceleration with all of its virtual appliances.
Layer 7 XML Performance Overview ffers Fifth Generation Solution Offers Unmatched Price/Power/Performance for XML Processing ata Enterprises seeking to use XML and Web services to integrate and share data and applications across their so. extended enterprise have long focused on performance as a key requirement, and rightly so. XML messages are , not only extremely verbose, but also typically incorporate complex data structures, all of which can result in poorly performing applications. Furthermore, iinitial implementations that may require throughput of tens or perhaps hundreds of message per second often quickly scale up by orders of magnitude as usage broadens. This can quickly rms, which, overwhelm server platforms, resulting in capacity ceilings and excessive transaction latency which in turn, may impact overall service performance, transaction completion and service level agreements. To overcome the al, bottleneck, enterprises are often forced to grow out additional, expensive backend server resources. collaborated For this reason, Layer 7 Technologies has closely collaborat with LSI Corporation, ensuring their market-leading XML acceleration technology has been a key component of each of the five generations of Layer 7 hardware content-inspection processors, whose fifth generation silicon appliances. LSI markets and sells the Tarari® family of content , generatio offers industry-leading performance for accelerating and offloading XML processing. based For deployment scenarios that cannot accommodate hardware appliances (i.e., cloud-based deployments), Layer software-based XML acceleration across the full range of Layer 7’s software and 7’s FastPath technology provides software 7 olaris virtual appliances, which support Solaris & Linux, VMware/ESX, and Amazon Machine Images. appliances, pronged Available together in Layer 7’s hardware appliances Tarari and FastPath deliver a multi-pronged XML acceleration processes solution whereby FastPath pre-processes each task to eliminate wasted steps/operations before Tarari is invoked, leading providing market-leading XML acceleration while minimizing power consumption by economizing on processor utilization. e This document explores the factors impacting overall XML processing performance, as well as the benefits of Layer 7’s hardware accelerated appliances. Factors Impacting XML Processing Performance here While there are numerous factors that can contribute to XML processing performance, overall message volume, processing concurrency, and the degree of message inspection or manipulation typically have the greatest impact. While the first two parameters are traditionally addressed through standard networking and service usage capacity mmon planning, complex message processing is best addressed through dedicated silicon. Some common actions which can have significant performance implications include: Threat Scanning / Message Filtering Scanning messages for potential threats, classified information or validating message structures typically rely on erations. elements. several processor-intensive operations. XPath may be used to examine the content of specific message elements XML schema validation may be used to ensure that messages conform to an agreed structure to prevent backend service exceptions. Content Inspection ay Message inspection may often be required before a decision can be made about how to process the message. structure, Typically, XPath operations are used to navigate the message structure checking for the presence and sometimes transaction value of specific message elements. For example, a message might be checked for the dollar value of a transaction, ” and then, depending on the value, either routed to a specific service or else “mined” for embedded credentials. performed Message classification is another example of simple content inspection, typically performed on each and every message. 2010 Copyright © 20 Layer 7 Technologies Inc. All rights reserved. SecureSpan and the Layer 7 Technologies design mark are trademarks of Layer 7 Technologies Inc. Message Transformation / Versioning Changing the content or structure of a message is often required in order to normalize the message to a specific backend service expectation or transaction context. This is often performed using a combination of XPath queries and XSL transforms. Examples include removing potential threats or invalid content detected during message filtering; combining the content of XML documents as part of a composite application; or transforming messages to conform to the schema of a new version of a service. Without some form of processing offload, the increased processor utilization associated with any of these applications can significantly impact throughput and transaction latency causing the overall service to degrade or even fail completely due to timeouts. Layer 7 and XML Processing Performance Layer 7 has adopted a multipronged strategy to optimizing XML message processing. Layer 7’s FastPath parsing technology ensures that messages are processed in a manner that tailors the processing of the messages to the operations expressed in policy logic defined by the administrator. This reduces any wasted steps or operations, economizing on processor utilization. th Layer 7’s hardware appliances are the first in the industry to leverage 5 generation silicon technology to speed XML message processing. Layer 7 combines the latest in multiprocessor and data bus architectures with highly tuned operating systems and networking subsystems to apply all available processor resources to message processing, as required. When present, Tarari’s dedicated XML acceleration hardware also offloads computationally expensive classification, XPath, XSLT and schema validation operations from the appliance’s general purpose processors. As a result, many of these operations complete in the time it takes to transfer the message on and off the high-speed buses, as opposed to consuming excess processor execution and memory read/write cycles. Compared to software-only approaches, Layer 7’s FastPath + Tarari solution results in less CPU utilization and power consumption to tackle the same workload. Power Considerations When comparing the relative price/performance of different XML acceleration solutions, it is also important to consider power consumption. Incremental costs associated with power consumption, as well as related cooling costs, can represent a significant component of ongoing operating costs for even small deployments of XML gateways. Message throughput/Watt consumed is a simple way to rank the power efficiency of different solutions. For example, some XML operations (such as XML schema validation) are particularly “expensive” to perform purely in software. Products employing hardware-based XML acceleration will typically have lower associated power costs since the XML silicon can process as much as 15-20 times more traffic per Watt than pure software-based solutions using general purpose processors. Benefits accrue in cost savings, which result from lower ongoing power consumption and the fact that less hardware investment is required to meet peak need. Layer 7 Performance Benchmarks Relative benchmarks are a good way to illustrate performance improvements that can be gained using Layer 7’s hardware-based solution versus software. In order to provide a meaningful comparison, performance test data was collected from a SecureSpan appliance in a standard configuration with factory supplied software. To simplify the comparison, a subset of Layer 7’s comprehensive suite of internal performance benchmarks are shown: one set with hardware acceleration enabled, and one set with it disabled, for both 1.5 and 10 kilobyte XML messages. These tests were performed in Layer 7’s performance labs using several load generating servers sending messages to a single SecureSpan Gateway (SSG) appliance. Copyright © 2010 Layer 7 Technologies Inc. All rights reserved. SecureSpan and the Layer 7 Technologies design mark are trademarks of Layer 7 Technologies Inc. 1 As shown , for relatively small, 1.5 kilobyte messages, there is significant performance gain for both XML schema validation and XML transform (XSLT) operations when the hardware-based XML acceleration is utilized. This difference is even more pronounced when processing larger 10 kilobyte XML messages. It should be noted that although overall message throughput is lower for larger messages, network utilization is approximately the same for both accelerated tests, with hardware acceleration providing a larger boost in Figure 1: XML Processing for 1.5KB Messages performance for larger messages. This is primarily because of the efficiency gains reaped by transferring fewer, larger messages across the Layer 7 appliance’s high-speed buses (i.e., independent of whether it’s a 1.5KB or 10KB message, processing completes in near zero time). Even complex operations like XML schema validation and XSL transformation come at near zero performance cost. This makes processor intensive use cases, such as performing schema validation on all messages for threat prevention or filtering restricted content a viable strategy, even in a production deployment. Figure 2: XML Processing for 10KB Messages As can be seen from these sample benchmarks, hardware-based XML acceleration can provide a significant boost in XML processing, reducing latency and increasing message throughput. While this gain may not be required for all use cases, the ability to accommodate traffic peaks and future growth should be a key consideration when creating any XML-based service or architecture. To learn more about how Layer 7 can address your SOA and Web Services concerns, call us today at 1- 800-681-9377 (toll free within North America), +1.604.681.9377or visit us at www.layer7tech.com. 1 Important Notice: While the information in this document is believed accurate at time of publication, product, configuration and benchmark data is subject to change without notice. Due to the end user environment dependencies of performance metrics, Layer 7 makes no warranty outside of the Layer 7 test environment about the figures quoted in this document. For end user application- specific performance tests, please contact Layer 7 to discuss specific requirements and arrange testing. Copyright © 2010 Layer 7 Technologies Inc. All rights reserved. SecureSpan and the Layer 7 Technologies design mark are trademarks of Layer 7 Technologies Inc.
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