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What is backend processing?

Backend processing is so common you're probably unaware it has a name.

A common example of backend processing is the take-out restaurant. The clerk taking your order is not the person filling that order.

Kit Mgr
  • The clerk passes the order to a kitchen manager.

  • The kitchen  manager separates the order into its component parts (meat, potatoes, vegetable) and places each component request into a queue for processing by a separate cook.

  • As each cook finishes a dish, the cook places the dish into a sack and then fetches the next request from the queue.

  • When the order is complete, the kitchen manager passes the sack to the clerk who gives it to you.

The benefits are:

  • Efficiency -- The order is filled in parallel. All components are cooked simultaneously.
  • Scalability -- During heavy loads, the kitchen manager can easily add more cooks exactly where they are needed.
  • Simplicity -- Each cook only needs to understand one type of dish. A veggie cook doesn't need training in meat.

Front-end processing is the way most software operates.

Front End
  • The clerk (GUI or command line parser) cooks (single threads) one component at a time (linear programming.)
  • When the first component finishes cooking (computing), the second may start.
  • The next order may not start until all components of the prior order finish.

The disadvantages are:

  • Inefficient -- The order is filled linearly. Nothing can move until the component ahead completes.
  • Expensive -- The only way to process more orders is to hire and extensively train more clerks. (Often called "throwing hardware at the problem.")
  • Complex -- Each clerk must know all aspects of the system (human interface, accounting, all component cooking skills, etc.)

Some developers try backend processing without the kitchen manager. They create threads* (cooks) with no central management. They soon discover that:

Without Mgr
  • They are overwhelmed with threads*.
  • The thread* create/destroy overhead degrades processing.
  • Abnormally terminating threads* have no recovery.
  • Common storage cannot be shared among threads*.
  • Some functions need timing while others need autonomous processing.
  • The list goes on and on.

Backend software development with Tymeac is like the well run restaurant.

Tymeac is the kitchen manager. The cooks are separate, single purpose threads.* Your applications are efficient, scalable and simple.

* These are asynchronous tasks for the CICS version.

Tymeac is a trademark of Cooperative Software Systems, Inc.
CICS is a registered trademark of International Business Machines Corporation.

 

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