Don’t Panic About The Math

When you read about performance you are often presented with complex laws and elaborate equations. All that can be intimidating, but fear not. I paid off my mortgage and retired early by doing useful and productive performance work with the ideas presented here. The most complex formula I’ve ever used to solve a performance mystery is: R = S / (1 – U)bob_sled

In the equation above, if you can replace S with the number 2 and U with the number 0.5 and calculate that R is equal to (spoiler alert) 4, then you have all the math skills you need for a long career in performance.

If you are gifted in the ways of mathematics and a stickler for detail, you will find I left all that detail out and do not show the deep math behind these ideas because, like most people, I can’t do that math. Here is an example of math I can’t do from an academic paper called “Basic Queueing Theory”:

math_eqn

Without being able to work, or understand, the formula above, I’ve solved real performance problems on four different continents. Think about it this way… You don’t have to be an expert on thermodynamics, combustion physics, and yeast biology to bake a loaf of bread.

Most of the tricks I know I learned from other performance gurus. They worked for them, they worked for me, and so I believe, they will work for you too.  I’m retired from performance work and now my goal is to give back what I’ve learned and used to the next generation.

You can find other interesting articles from Bob Wescott at Authors Corner.


Bob Wescott’s (LinkedIn), is semi-retired after a 30 year career in high tech that was mostly focused on computer performance work. Bob has done professional services work in the field of computer performance analysis, including: capacity planning, load testing, simulation modeling, and web performance. He has even written a book on the subject: The Every Computer Performance Book. Bob’s fundamental skill is explaining complex things clearly. He has developed and joyfully taught customer courses at four computer companies and I’ve been a featured speaker at large conferences. Bob’s goal is to be of service, explain things clearly, teach with joy, and lead an honorable life. His goal, at this stage of the game, is to pass on what we’ve learned to the next generation.

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