While financial markets have always cared about latency, it’s not a topic often discussed in other industries. This past week, I stumbled across a couple of excellent blog posts on the subject of latency, primarily as related to web and cloud infrastructures.
First Todd Hoff posted on website scalability with his expansive Latency is everywhere and it costs you sales post. Nati Shalom of Gigaspaces built upon that post to include sweeping architectural suggestions from the perspective of a leading data grid provider.
Both are fascinating reads and highlight all the usual sources of latency as well as some that are less obvious. Highly recommended.
There is no one-size-fits-all set of suggestions for dealing with latency, which is why both of these posts are so encyclopedic. The latency hot spots in a web application with 500 milliseconds of latency will be completely different than a 50 millisecond database access application and different still from a market data system with less than 100 microseconds of latency. The same way you wouldn’t use your hammer and drill to fix a watch, you need special precision tools.
I’ll go more into detail on ultra-low latency issues tomorrow.