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Performance Improvement: Session State

  • July 20, 2009
  • By Robert Bogue
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Making Decisions about Session Data

With all of the different options for doing session state and the different kinds of data that might be stored in session state how do you make an informed decision on where to store session information? The short answer is that you'll probably be leveraging several different kinds of solutions. For authentication and session information you'll likely transmit the information to the client in the form of a cookie and expect it back each time. For data like user cache you'll want to use an out of process memory cache for volume -- but smaller volumes of user cache data might have you leaving this in the same process memory. User entered data may end up encrypted and transmitted to the user and back or it might end up in a persisted store depending on the volume and sensitivity.

The key to session management is realizing that there isn't a one size fits all particularly when it comes to making the tradeoff between performance and resiliency. Some organizations may take a look at the impact of a server failure and the loss of session data and decide that it's acceptable to lose session data in the event of a server failure because they expect that a server won't fail frequently and therefore the overhead of saving session into a central place isn't warranted. Other organizations may believe that no session data can ever be lost because it's too precious.

Summary

Knowing that session data isn’t one size fits all and that the decisions you make in the design of your session state management can have an impact on the flexibility that you have on the infrastructure side — and a substantial impact on the performance of your application. If you design with an awareness of the session state management challenges you can always change your strategies to match your performance needs. The next topic in our review of performance improvement techniques is caching since next to session state management it can have the largest impact on overall system performance.

About the Author

Robert Bogue, MS MVP Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, MCSE, MCSA:Security, etc., has contributed to more than 100 book projects and numerous other publishing projects. Robert’s latest book is The SharePoint Shepherd’s Guide for End Users. You can find out more about the book at http://www.SharePointShepherd.com. Robert blogs at http://www.thorprojects.com/blog You can reach Robert at Rob.Bogue@thorprojects.com.
Tags: browsers, server, performance management, HTTPS



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