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As part of the Middleware Technology Evaluation (MTE) project, we conducted several experiments to explore the performance implications of two common application architectures supported by J2EE's enterprise JavaBean (EJB) component technology. One architecture promises simpler engineering and maintenance of the resulting component collection. For applications that require high performance and scalability, however, the alternative architecture might offer a better solution. Such knowledge is crucial to software architects, who must make initial design decisions early in a project, before extensive engineering has begun. An examination of two EJB-based architectures reveals differences that can significantly affect the performance and scalability of applications built on them.