Simon Willison’s Weblog

Blogmarks tagged scaling in 2009

Filters: Type: blogmark × Year: 2009 × scaling ×


PostgreSQL 8.5alpha3 now available. “Hot Standby, allowing read-only connections during recovery, provides a built-in master-slave replication solution.” Woohoo! # 23rd December 2009, 9:57 am

Django | Multiple Databases. Russell just checked in the final patch developed from Alex Gaynor’s Summer of Code project to add multiple database support to Django. I’d link to the 21,000 line changeset but it crashed our Trac, so here’s the documentation instead. # 22nd December 2009, 5:22 pm

PostgreSQL 8.5 alpha 2 is out. “P.S. If you’re wondering about Hot Standby and Synchronous Replication, they’re still under heavy development and still (at this point) expected to be in 8.5.”—Hot Standby is PostgreSQL-speak for MySQL-style master/slave replication for scaling your reads. # 28th October 2009, 9:02 am

How We Made GitHub Fast. Detailed overview of the new GitHub architecture. It’s a lot more complicated than I would have expected—lots of moving parts are involved in ensuring they can scale horizontally when they need to. Interesting components include nginx, Unicorn, Rails, DRBD, HAProxy, Redis, Erlang, memcached, SSH, git and a bunch of interesting new open source projects produced by the GitHub team such as BERT/Ernie and ProxyMachine. # 21st October 2009, 9:14 pm

MichaelMoore.com in Django. A seriously impressive case study—a complete rebuild from the ground up completed in just five weeks using Django, Solr and Haystack for a high traffic site with a top 10,000 US Alexa ranking. # 9th October 2009, 12:38 am

Ravelry. Tim Bray interviews Casey Forbes, the single engineer behind Ravelry, the knitting community that serves 10 million Rails requests a day using just seven physical servers, MySQL, Sphinx, memcached, nginx, haproxy, passenger and Tokyo Cabinet. # 3rd September 2009, 6:50 pm

Memcached 1.4.0 released. The big new feature is the (optional) binary protocol, which enables other features such as CAS-everywhere and efficient client-side replication. Maintainer Dustin Sallings has also released some useful sounding EC2 instances which automatically assign nearly all of their RAM to memcached on launch and shouldn’t need any further configuration. # 17th July 2009, 10:26 pm

Keyspace. Yet Another Key-Value Store—this one focuses on high availability, with one server in the cluster serving as master (and handling all writes), and the paxos algorithm handling replication and ensuring a new master can be elected should the existing master become unavailable. Clients can chose to make dirty reads against replicated servers or clean reads by talking directly to the master. Underlying storage is BerkeleyDB, and the authors claim 100,000 writes/second. Released under the AGPL. # 16th July 2009, 10:30 am

Up and running with Cassandra. Twitter are beginning to use Cassandra, the open source branch of Facebook’s BigTable-like non-relational database. Evan Weaver explains how to get started with it, but warns that it’s not yet a good idea to trust data to it without having a full backup in an unrelated storage engine. # 7th July 2009, 11:18 am

uuidd.py. Neat implementation of an ID server from Mike Malone—it serves up incrementing integers over a socket (using Python’s asyncore for fast IO) and records state to a file only after every 10,000 IDs served, so most of the time it’s not reading or writing to disk at all. If the server crashes it doesn’t matter because it can start up again at an integer it’s sure hasn’t been used before. # 25th May 2009, 9:34 pm

TwitterAlikeExample—redis. Excellent example of how you design a moderately complex system against a scalable key-value store (in this case redis). Most “how to build Twitter” code examples fail to address the hard problem of scaling user inboxes, but this one tackles it head on. # 21st May 2009, 11:14 pm

New Features for EC2: Elastic Load Balancing, Auto Scaling, and Amazon CloudWatch. EC2 now fulfils the promise of “magic scaling in the cloud” out of the box—CloudWatch monitors performance of your EC2 instances without needing to install any monitoring software, Auto Scaling allows you to configure “scaling triggers” which start up new instances based on information from CloudWatch, and Elastic Load Balancing balances requests across all available instances. # 18th May 2009, 10:07 am

peeping into memcached. “Peep uses ptrace to freeze a running memcached server, dump the internal key metadata, and return the server to a running state”—you can then load the resulting data in to MySQL using LOAD LOCAL INFILE and analyse it using standard SQL queries. # 20th April 2009, 6:35 pm

Experiences deploying a large-scale infrastructure in Amazon EC2. “At OpenX we recently completed a large-scale deployment of one of our server farms to Amazon EC2. Here are some lessons learned from that experience.” # 10th April 2009, 9:43 am

Introducing Digg’s IDDB Infrastructure. IDDB is Digg’s new infrastructure component for sharding data across multiple databases, with support for both MySQL and memcachedb. “The DiggBar and URL minifying service is powered by a 16 machine IDDB cluster, which includes 8 write masters in the index and 8 MySQL storage nodes.” # 3rd April 2009, 8:42 pm

Streams, affordances, Facebook, and rounding errors. I asked Kellan about scaling activity streams the other day. Here he suggests the best technique is not to promise a perfect stream (like Twitter does)—Facebook used to get away with 80% loss of update messages, but their new redesign has changed the contract with their users. # 19th March 2009, 2:02 pm

redis (via) An in-memory scalable key/value store but with an important difference: this one lets you perform list and set operations against keys, opening up a whole new set of possibilities for application development. It’s very young but already supports persistence to disk and master-slave replication. # 15th March 2009, 1:32 pm

What happened to Hot Standby? Hot Standby (the ability to have read-only replication slaves) has been dropped from PostgreSQL 8.4 and is now scheduled for 8.5. “Making hard decisions to postpone features which aren’t quite ready is how PostgreSQL makes sure that our DBMS is ”bulletproof“ and that we release close to on-time every year”. # 8th March 2009, 9:28 am

Database Sharding at Netlog, with MySQL and PHP. Detailed MySQL sharding case study from Netlog, who serve five billion page requests a month using thousands of shards across more than 80 database servers. # 2nd March 2009, 10:22 am

How FriendFeed uses MySQL to store schema-less data. The pain of altering/ adding indexes to tables with 250 million rows was killing their ability to try out new features, so they’ve moved to storing pickled Python objects and manually creating the indexes they need as denormalised two column tables. These can be created and dropped much more easily, and are continually populated by an off-line index building process. # 27th February 2009, 2:33 pm

Building and Scaling a Startup on Rails: 12 Things We Learned the Hard Way. Lessons learned from Posterous. Some good advice in here, in particular “Memcache later: If you memcache first, you will never feel the pain and never learn how bad your database indexes and Rails queries are”. Also recommends using job queues for offline processing of anything that takes more than 200ms. # 23rd February 2009, 8:28 am

Sharding Counters on Google App Engine. “While the datastore for App Engine scales to support a huge number of entities it is important to note that you can only expect to update any single entity, or entity-group, about five times a second”. This article explains a technique for sharding writes across multiple counters in detail, including a way to keep a memcache counter updated at the same time for faster reads. # 27th January 2009, 8:27 pm

Project Voldemort. Yet Another “big, distributed, persistent, fault-tolerant hash table”—this time from LinkedIn, released under the Apache 2.0 license. The approach to consistency is interesting—instead of using distributed transactions, they use versioning and “resolve inconsistencies at read time”. It also uses consistent hashing (as seen in libketama) to select servers. The design document has lots more information. # 17th January 2009, 7:45 pm

New Gearman Server & Library in C, MySQL UDFs. Gearman, the job queue written for LiveJournal and now used by Digg and Yahoo!, has been rewritten in C. Looks like a good candidate for an easily configured lightweight message queue. Also includes hooks for writing MySQL functions that can interact with queues. # 13th January 2009, 4:41 pm

MemcacheDB. A server that speaks the memcache protocol but uses Berkeley DB for reliable persistent storage. Speedy: 20,000 writes/second and 60,000+ reads/second. Includes a full replication mechanism (with custom memcache protocol commands) based on Berkeley DB’s. # 5th January 2009, 12:37 pm