June 14, 2012

Workday update

In August 2010, I wrote about Workday’s interesting technical architecture, highlights of which included:

I caught up with Workday recently, and things have naturally evolved. Most of what we talked about (by my choice) dealt with data management, business intelligence, and the overlap between the two.

It is now reasonable to say that Workday’s servers fall into at least seven tiers, although we talked mainly about five that work together as a kind of giant app/database server amalgamation. The three that do noteworthy data management can be described as:

Two other Workday server tiers may be described as:

Finally, Workday has a couple of server types or tiers for talking with other systems, namely for user interface and integrations.

Besides data management, the other cool thing we discussed was a type of live report called worklets. The idea is:

Circling back to the five app-server-like tiers, further notes include:

Besides (or in some cases including) the above, the development team is very concerned with controlling the memory footprint of the in-memory Workday system, and it sounds like improvements over time have literally been at the order(s) of magnitude level. Stan seems to attribute this largely to:

Going forward, Workday hopes to get a further 2X+ reduction via lazy loading driven by object usage stats.

If I were starting a transactional SaaS (Software as a Service) vendor today, I might look at an architecture a lot like Workday’s. In particular:



5 Responses to “Workday update”

  1. David Chassels on June 16th, 2012 10:59 am

    Hi Dennis, I write this for your information set against your interesting write up on Workday as a “disrupter” in Enterprise Software. Delighted if you do allow to remain in comments but more important we have a relevant message that might interest you and we could do with some help?

    I picked up your link from Naomi Bloom who has raised the subject of “objects” that removes need for coding. This is something we have pioneered for some 20 years! Original thinking as we set out on a journey that ran counter to all convention. Articulation of what we have created has been a learning experience for us. The core design philosophy was simple it recognised that people create all source information and that the supporting business logic never changes? As a result we identified the relatively small number of generic task types including the UI and create them as “objects” in the Oracle database. We built an “engine” to orchestrate as required and once the core capability built put a graphical front end for the ease of build by business professionals not coders! It uses a declarative technique and with no code generation or compiling there is real agility in built for easy change during build and later as improvements are requires.

    In addition to our java based presentation layer we have also built an extensive tag library with cache and in memory working. This with XML gateways and SSMQ allows access to legacy implementing MDA (Master Data Management). The unique architecture is a process hub seamlessly linking front and back office and orchestrating legacy data/ applications as required.

    This site contains explanatory documents – A brief guide on how, a Q&A, key issues design philosophy and more. http://bit.ly/qlSUvM

    So what is it in today’s IT language? It is the first enterprise level “agile software” the start of the commoditisation of business software? It adopts Object Model Driven Engineering with a focus on BPM intrinsically linked to MDM. It has been proven in action with early adopters for 12 years. It is well suited to both large and small organisation to build vey quickly exactly what the business requires just need domain knowledge of requirements build HR requirement in less than 4 months? All new application are of course “agile” which will bring a new dimension to COTS?

    Unfortunately unlike Workday we no sustainable financial support as UK investors fail to understand “Enterprise Software” and a relative desert of original software technology. It does not help being a decade ahead of our time! But the world has changed and we have survived as the market needs such step changes that we and likes of Workday bring. We are a small R&D focused company based in UK with an open model as to how to distribute and open to ideas!

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