The assignee for this patent, patent number 8639991, is
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "In today's technology-dependent world, optimizing performance of computing systems is vital to operation of such systems. A variety of applications can be running on those systems. Users, other applications, components, etc. can depend on their proper operation. Performance optimization of large applications can be difficult. Some conventional approaches include breaking down applications into components and assigning 'performance budgets' to the components. A performance budget can be a predetermined period of time that is allotted to running that application and/or generating some form of an output within that predetermined period of time. These budgets can be compared to actual measurements and can be presented to management and/or developers for evaluation of compliance with budgets and/or efficient/inefficient performance of a particular application and/or its components. This implies a potentially long turnaround time between changes in the system and detection of what possibly caused an impact on performance of an application. Currently, there appears to be no technical means to enforce compliance with these agreed-upon performance budgets, which in turn, causes disregard of performance issues and degradation of an overall product outputted by an application or system.
"Some currently available approaches include the use of watchdog timers, which can include computer hardware and/or software timers that trigger a system reset or other corrective action if a main program, due to some fault condition, such as a hang, neglects to regularly service the watchdog. A watchdog timer's purpose is typically to bring the system back from the unresponsive state into normal operation. Some watchdog timers can include additional features such as saving debugging information into memory. This information can be used for debugging the problem that caused the fault. Some conventional watchdog timers ensure that if completion of its information saving task is not reported within a certain amount of time, the system will reset with or without the information saved. The most common use of watchdog timers is in embedded systems, where a specialized timer can be a built-in unit of a microcontroller. Watchdog timers can also trigger fail-safe control systems to move into a safety state, such as turning off motors, high-voltage electrical outputs, and other potentially dangerous subsystems, until the fault is cleared. Conventional watchdog timers include chips that are external to a processor or included within the same chip as the CPU. However, these watchdog timers are typically incapable of either enforcing performance budgets for an application and/or its components or providing immediate feedback to developers concerning performance violations so that timely corrective actions can be undertaken.
"However, there is a need for tracking and enforcing application performance budgets. Further, there is a need to automate such tracking and enforcing to improve timely resolution of system faults."
In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "In one aspect, an indication of a start of an execution of a process is received, and a time counter associated with measuring a time elapsed by the execution of the process is initiated. The time elapsed by the execution of the process is compared with a predetermined threshold timeout value, a report indicating the time elapsed by the execution of the process and whether the elapsed time exceeded the predetermined threshold timeout value is automatically generated, and the report is promoted.
"In optional variations, one or more of the following features can also be included. In response to a determination can be made that the elapsed time has exceeded the predetermined threshold timeout value, at least one of automatically terminating the time counter and initiating a debugger can be performed. The time counter can be automatically initiated in response to encountering a fault during the execution of the process. The time counter can be automatically initiated and/or automatically disabled at any time before, during or after execution of the process. The process can include a process scope, and an action to be performed when the elapsed time exceeds the predetermined threshold timeout value can be selected based on the process scope from a group consisting of terminating the process, initiating a debugger, logging the exceeding of the threshold time, and allowing the process to continue. The selected action can be performed upon determining that the elapsed time has exceeded the predetermined threshold timeout value. The process scope can include one of a user-specific scope, a server-wide scope, and a system-wide scope. The time counter can be automatically initiated for a portion of the process. The promoting of the report can optionally include at least one of displaying the report via a visual display device, generating an alert and delivering the alert to an individual or group tasked with quality control for development of a software architecture that includes the process, storing the report on a data storage device, and aggregating at least part of the report into an analysis of progress toward achieving quality goals associated with development of the software architecture that includes the process.
"Articles are also described that comprise a tangibly embodied machine-readable medium embodying instructions that, when performed, cause one or more machines (e.g., computers, etc.) to result in operations described herein. Similarly, computer systems are also described that can include a processor and a memory coupled to the processor. The memory can include one or more programs that cause the processor to perform one or more of the operations described herein.
"The details of one or more variations of the subject matter described herein are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features and advantages of the subject matter described herein will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims."
For more information, see this patent: Klein, Udo; Hartig, Martin. Optimizing Performance of an Application. U.S. Patent Number 8639991, filed
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