While sitting on a slow triple chair lift, what do you think about?  Well, a ski resort is a great way to demonstrate software performance and capacity concepts.

You need a transaction rating scheme for your key Enterprise applications and systems.  Its winter in New England and I like to ski. While sitting on a triple chair lift, slowing being carried up the mountain, I thought it would be great if Enterprise applications had a rating system. Each business rated the business transactions as easy, intermediate, advanced and expert, in terms of not only business criticality, but technology complexity.  How many different systems are involved in the transactions? The ski industry has a trail rating system; green circles, blue squares and black diamonds. If the trail is really difficult, it can be rated double or even triple black diamond.

When making the trail ratings, the factors used to make that rating include the trail gradient and slope, the width of the trail, the trail conditions and whether the trail is groomed or not. The trail itself can be a nicely groomed path, a mogul trail (this has many bumps) you must be experienced to enjoy these, or (glades) wooded trails where you ski around trees while going downhill.  There are also terrain parks with half pipes and ski jumps.

The trail rating system is relative for each mountain.  A blue trail on one mountain might be a black diamond on another or a green on another.  So, there is somewhat of a range for the mountain resort owners. I think the key idea is that the rating is mountain specific, that is relative for each mountain. This can be applied to our Enterprise IT systems. Each system can be considered a mountain, each business transaction can be rated as a trail. If you take some of the mountains in the northeast;  Pats Peak (20 trails) , Waterville (52) , Bretton Woods (102), Killington (140), and Sunday River (132); you can see the mountain statistics sheet.

The  mountain fact sheet:

Quick Stats (snapshot of your system)

  • Mountain Name: Different from the resort; Mount Tecumseh
  • Total Acres: 500
  • Skiable acres: 220
  • Longest Run: 3 miles
  • Summit Elevation: 4,004
  • Vertical Drop: 2,020

Vertical Descent by peak (each peak could be an application)

  • Total Vertical: 2,340
  • White Cap: 1,630
  • Locke Mountain: 1,460
  • Bear Mountain: 1,400
  • Jordan Bowl: 1,490

Trails (these are your transactions)

  • Total Trails: 52
  • Novice: 20%
  • Intermediate: 50%
  • Advanced: 20%
  • Expert: 10%
  • Glades: 5
  • Moguls: 6

Snow Making (the engines of the business)

  • Terrain Coverage: 616 Acres
  • Water Capacity: 9,000 gallons per minute
  • Air Capacity: 60,000 cubic feet per minute @ 150 psi
  • Snow making capacity: 4 acre feet per hour
  • Snow making arsenal: 1,900 guns
  • Miles of pipe in system: 73
  • Mile of hose in system: 30

Lifts (hardware and software)

  • Total lifts: 16, including 5 high speed
  • Skier Capacity per hour: 30,000
  • High speed gondola: 1
  • High Speed Quads: 4
  • Fixed Quads: 4
  • Triples: 3
  • Doubles: 2
  • Surface Lifts: 5

Let’s take this approach with you key systems and rate the transactions.  

  • What are your Peaks (key applications)?
  • What is the ratio of the trail ratings (green to double diamonds)?
  • How many lifts and what is the capacity?

The next post is going to review the business and technical transactions with some examples ratings.