Monday, April 30, 2012

Image Server Revisited

Since my last post I have made important changes to how images (mostly thumbnails) are serve on myVidster.  Stated in my last post I divided the image workload between the new image server and the master server.  I really did not like this setup because the master server should not be wasting disk I/O on image hosting.

My first attempt was to setup the image server to handle the entire load.  This solution would have work if I was running RAID on the server, but I was not.  It only took a few minutes before the server's hard disk was overwhelm.  When you run into the dreaded disk I/O bottleneck you have two options which are to upgrade your hardware (SSD or RAID) or memory caching.

If you have been keeping up with my blog, you will know that I try to use in memory caching whenever possible so I did some research and learn about using a reverse proxy for image caching.   For the reverse proxy I decided to give Varnish Cache a try, which was recommended by a developer/friend.

Setting up Varnish has straight forward the only catch was that I needed to disable cookies (remove req.http.Cookie) so that the images were always cached.  Technicality the image server is now a web application accelerator with the task of caching and serving images.

As for performance, currently I am getting a hit rate around 85% with 400-500 requests per second.  CPU load hovering around 10% which gives the server lots of room for handling more traffic when needed.  Overall I am very pleased with Varnish's caching performance and would recommend this solution to those who want to accelerate image serving and to reduce disk I/O.

For the curious here is a list of memory caching solutions that myVidster uses.
Alternative PHP Cache (APC) opcode caching for PHP
Memcached for user session caching

Take care everyone and keep collecting!

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