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Scalable Web Site Antipatterns
Justin Leitgeb
Stack Builders Inc.
Overview
• Based on architectures that have caused significant downtime and pain
• Like examples in Nygard's book, but more emphasis on
essential rather than accidental properties of system
Anti-pattern 1: Monotonically-increasing
data set with rapid growth
• Having a system that relies on querying all historical data
• Requires joins from mega-tables (hundreds of millions of
rows)
• Often from automatically aggregated data
Detection
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Slow query log
SHOW FULL PROCESSLIST
SHOW ENGINE INNODB STATUS
vmstat
vmstat
Anti-solutions
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Partitioning
Pre-caching (cron jobs)
Switching to MyISAM
NoSQL?
NoSQL
• Out-of-the box solutions with NoSQL (e.g., Mongo) help with
data modeling
• Use CAP instead of ACID
• May lead to better ability to distribute algorithms
• But:
o Haven't had as much effort yet expended on engines as
MySQL (INNODB)
o Often use the same algorithms (e.g., Btree indexes)
o Can require more dev time (e.g., Cassandra and good
implementation of distributed algorithms)
Stop the bleeding
• Cut off long queries
• Turn off site sections
• Fail whale
Band-aids
• Obvious - adding app servers, memcached, bigger DB
server
• Adding app servers puts more pressure on DB server
• HTTP Caching (varnish)
• MySQL tuning (look for things like FILESORT)
• Read slaves
Solutions
• Hard-limit data volume - look for cases where data
decreases in value with time
o Add features related to scale
• Distributed algorithms and data stores
• Data warehousing
Anti-pattern 2: Allowing "risky" writes to
block HTTP responses
• Symptoms:
o Slow requests
o Servers hitting MaxClients and 500 error
Possible Causes
• Possible causes: database backed analytics tracking
• Session management
• Any SQL DML (UPDATE, DELETE)
Risk increases with:
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The number of requests invoking the write operation
Traffic
Concurrent background operations
The algorithmic complexity of the write
Slow AWS I/O on EBS
Solutions
• Asynchronize!
o Write to a queue
• Write to memcached or other non-ACID store
o Later bring to data warehouse for advanced analytics
More info
1. Nygard, Michael T. Release It!: Design and Deploy
Production-ready Software. Raleigh, NC: Pragmatic, 2007.
2. Fowler, Martin. Patterns of Enterprise Application
Architecture. Boston: Addison-Wesley, 2003.
3. Kimball, Ralph. The Data Warehouse Toolkit: Practical
Techniques for Building Dimensional Data Warehouses:
John Wiley & Sons 2010.
4. Schwartz, Baron. High Performance MySQL: O'Reilly, 2008
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