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Point at which WAN latency affects perceived app response?

From: sphealey <>
Date: 14 Sep 2006 13:00:04 -0700
Message-ID: <>

Does anyone have any experience with the effect of WAN latency on applications accessing an Oracle database over a WAN?

We are using Oracle Server 9ir2 ( as our back end database for a packaged 2-tier client/server business application. The development tool and network APIs for the application are fairly obscure, but they must touch on SQL*Net eventually as the Oracle client is required.

We have two sites. Each has an Oracle database for the portion of the app that serves that site's business function. But of course, people from A need to access the primary application for B, and people from B need to access the primary application for A.

To this point we have served the cross-site requirements by installing both sets of software at both sites, and simply accessing the Oracle data directly across the WAN. Brutal and perhaps not elegent, but simple and straightforward (particularly compared to an experiment with Citrix).

We are now in the process of replacing our T1 leased line between the sites with an MPLS-based network. Each primary site A and B has a 3 Mbps MPLS port. There are a few other minor sites that connect, none that run the business apps.

Bandwidth on the MPLS connection is good: transferring large files of random numbers I see close to full port thruput between the sites. E-mail, web, etc work fine.

But when we attempted to bring up the Oracle-based apps the results were not so good. Perceived performance got worse by a factor of 4, and stopwatch timings confirm that the new configuration is slower by at least a factor of 3.

Looking at ping times, I find the following for the two different connections:

Packet size Leased Line MPLS
=========== =========== =========

  256             6 ms         48 ms
  512            11 ms         55 ms
 1024            17 ms         69 ms
 2048            26 ms         84 ms

Now, clearly less latency is better than more latency. Still, 60 ms latency between sites is considered quite good on most WANs of any size and I would think most Oracle users would be in that range or higher. Would 60 ms be sufficient to cause the application to appear to the end users as noticably slow?

I have been trying to watch the connection with Ethereal, and one thing I noticed was that there seem to be a lot of fragemented packets in the 100-300 byte range. Other tools confirm that the non-fragmented MTU for the link is 1500 bytes (same as the leased line). Does it make sense that either the server or the router would break larger packets up that small?

My knowledge in this area is like the Platte River (wide and shallow), so any input would be appreciated.

sPh Received on Thu Sep 14 2006 - 15:00:04 CDT

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