At MEDC 2007, we introduced an IT Pro/Infrastructure booth called "Enterprise Mobility in Action."  This booth was designed to show off the performance and scalability of Merge Replication between SQL Server 2005 SP2 and SQL Server Compact Edition 3.1.  The ability to deploy applications that are occasionally connected to enterprise databases and support offline data access when wireless coverage is absent is the primary key to sucess for mobile line of business software.  The fact that Windows Mobile 6 and SQL Server Compact Edition 3.1 has built-in support for data synchronization with SQL Server 2005 means that you can mobilize your enterprise with almost no coding.

Our booth consisted of a 42U rack of servers, a giant whiteboard, two plasmas, and a staff of six experts to run scalability tests and answer questions.  Twelve 2-way machiness ran our test harness software designed to place a real-world load on the replication infrastructure.   Two of the 2-way machines were load-balanced IIS servers running the SQL Server Compact Edition Server Agent designed to receive incoming HTTP requests from the test harness software.  An Active Directory/Domain Controller was present to take care of Windows Authentication.  Two 8-way machines were used to run a separate SQL Server Distributor and Publisher.  All together, this system comprised our 4-Tier Merge Replication architecture for devices.  On the whiteboard, the architecture was beautifully drawn out by Darren Flatt.  Additionally, attendees could walk through the construction of this architecture by stepping through a hands-on lab by the same name.  Having the lab and the booth helped to reinforce the critical concepts in the minds of attendees.

We would start our test harness software that would asynchronously launch hundreds of concurrent synchronization subscribers and begin replicating with SQL Server 2005.  The test harness software would essentially read in the appropriate data to set the properties of the Replication object in .NET and then begin synchronizing over and over as many times as possible for the duration of the test.  In between each sync, the software would also make updates to the local database to ensure that SQL Server was having to do lots of work.

 

AdventureWorksDW was the database we utilized for all our testing.  It installs with SQL Server 2005 by default with a total size of 70 MB consisting of 30 tables.  Several of the tables in this database have in excess of 60,000 rows.  It was important for me to use a large database for this live testing since it's more "real-world" and would give our technology more credibility than some of our replication competitors that do all their tests with a single table to make their performance numbers look better. 

Once the testing began, we would then monitor the stress placed on the IIS servers and SQL Servers via the large plasma displays showing Perfmon and Task Manager.  We looked at things like CPU, Memory, Disk I/O, Network Utilization and other metrics to get a sense of how hard our clients were pushing our servers.  The great news is that even when we had 720 subscribers synchronizing simultaneously, the SQL Server Publisher never went above 35% CPU utilization!  We definitely have lots of headroom to push SQL Server even further when we take this booth to Tech Ed in June.  Keep in mind that 720 subscribers synchronizing concurrently represents a usage spike in a much larger subscriber population.  In other words, it's a 10% spike in a 7,200 device deployment or a 1% spike in a 72,000 device deployment.  Additionally, we captured the High, Low, Average, and Total sync times for all the subscribers running on the client servers.  These numbers should make CIOs, IT managers and directors very comfortable about large-scale deployment of mobile line of business applications.  

Aside from great numbers in the performance and scalability catagories, the other keys to the sucess of this booth were the knowledgeable staff members that took attendees on deep dives of our technology:

Darren Flatt and Darren Shaffer are shown above holding their oPhone boomerangs.  These tireless guys disregarded the shift schedule and worked the entire time that the booth was open.  The answers they provided to attendees questions were invaluable. 

Here's Rabi Satter shown above about throw his oPhone/Chinese Star at me.  Rabi did highly-rated, back-to-back 400-level presentations on SQL Server Compact Edition and how to implement a Kiosk using Windows Mobile.

Dave Bottomley and Michael Jimenez (MJ) shown above are the mobility infrastructure "Dream Team" from Microsoft's Mobility SST consulting group.  They answered questions and delivered instructor-led labs on IT Pro topics that are important to the mobile community.

MEDC 2007 at the Venetian in Las Vegas was a great event and our "Enterprise Mobility in Action" booth did a great job in educating attendees about the growing IT Pro opportunities in the Windows Mobile space.  Now it's time to hit the road and spead the word via the MEDC 2007 World Tour starting in Sydney.

Rob