Ramping up with LAMP
Right after a comprehensive write up on Myspace’s troubles in scaling up their infrastructure to meet the needs of a million teenagers competing to make some of the ugliest and heaviest pages on the internet, comes a post by Matt on Automattic’s troubles getting Sun to make good on their promises made under their Startup Essentials Program. I had written earlier about how Sun has made some surprise incursions into what’s been traditionally Microsoft and LAMP territory in the media sector, but if what Matt’s saying is true (BTW, I still have not received my free Solaris 10 DVDs they’d promised to ship from Sun.de), it is a bad move on Sun’s part. Promising and not delivering is a lot worse than not promising at all, be it love or be it business.
That apart, I continue to be amazed by WordPress.com’s growth and stability. At least from the point of view of an user, it does not feel anything like what Matt says — an operation run on a tight budget — and I am for the first time not considering anything else to satisfy my blogging needs. I am one of those bloggers who are technically competent enough to run their own server/framework etc. But after a day of dealing with, among other things, servers spread over three full racks, last thing I need is to manage one for myself. And that was the primary reason why I’ve always stuck with Blogger. Nothing beats the luxury of having your data hosted on Google’s servers and even after the recent troubles with Gmail, I am yet to experience any data loss with the company.
I do not know exactly what set up WordPress.com is using (I am assuming that all the reads are handled out of one DC and the writes out of another, with redundant high-speed links handling the Mysql replication between the two and another framework handling all the media files), but it’s been very impressive till date and it should be a lesson for the Myspace in scaling and redundancy (yeah, I know the scales we are talking about are very different, but just do a comparison of the outages/costs and you’ll know what I am talking about).
From my own experience, I’ve always leaned towards Postgresql in the database wars. From my first brush with the elephant in 2002, I’ve never experienced any data loss, even when someone pulled the plug on the server, while the case has been different with Mysql. Moreover, in the current set up, I’ve seen our Postgresql servers handling around 2500 connections (mixed read and write) without breaking a sweat (load level 2.5 average) on a single server, while the same on a single Mysql server causes it to throw its hands up and say “I give up.” Of course, Mysql is very fast when you offload the reads on to a cluster of slaves, but that brings in the cost factor into the equation. That, I’ll tackle in a different post.