high performance content hosting n.
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
High Performance Content Hosting PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
High Performance Content Hosting

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 33

High Performance Content Hosting - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

High Performance Content Hosting. Aleksey Korzun. Agenda. Operating system choices Preparing OS for high volume content hosting Setting up web daemon Benchmarking Bottlenecks Disclosure. Operating System Choices Good:. Lightweight Secure Proven Flexible. Bad:. Windows.

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'High Performance Content Hosting' - haracha

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
  • Operating system choices
  • Preparing OS for high volume content hosting
  • Setting up web daemon
  • Benchmarking
  • Bottlenecks
  • Disclosure
operating system choices good
Operating System ChoicesGood:
  • Lightweight
  • Secure
  • Proven
  • Flexible


  • Windows
installing freebsd
Installing FreeBSD

When installing FreeBSD follow guidelines below for great success and fame

  • Match platform to your CPU (amd64 for X2, etc)
  • Enable only what you need in network services
  • Disable debugging options
  • If possible, disable DHCP
  • When prompted, install binaries and full source, we do not want X11 garbage


If you already installed FreeBSD, simply use `sysinstall` to manage your configuration.

preparing freebsd 1 0
Preparing FreeBSD 1.0

Upon booting to your freshly installed FreeBSD you will have perform a few tweaks before we recompile kernel.

First, let’s disable un-needed services by editing /etc/rc.confand appending following:

# -- disable NIS service


# -- disable USB


# -- enable sshd


# -- disable inetd 'super server'


# -- disable incoming sendmail daemon


Your /etc/rc.conf file should contain hostname and network configuration information along with appended code above.

Let’s save and move on to modifying our kernel!

preparing freebsd 1 1
Preparing FreeBSD 1.1

Next step is to compile additional features in our kernel and remove dead weight from slowing us down.

Installing custom kernel is pretty straight forward process in 5.x+ compared to older OS versions, so this presentation will not cover it. Instead we will focus on optimizations

you should make to your kernel configuration.

If you need help with custom kernel installation, take a peak at: http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en/books/handbook/kernelconfig-building.html

Open up your new kernel configuration (should be copy of GENERIC file), we will go over stuff we do not need on our content server.

Lets break it down in a nice list (this will be specific to your system)

preparing freebsd 1 2 trim the fat
Preparing FreeBSD 1.2Trim the fat:
  • You do not need to support multiple CPU platforms, settle on one choice.
  • Remove DEBUG from makeoptions
  • Following options are safe to remove: INET6, NFSCLIENT, NFSSERVER, NFS_ROOT, MSDOSFS, KTRACE,
  • By default kernel supports tons of drivers you do not need. Go through device parameters and get rid of everything that you will never have on your server.
  • Be careful when removing devices that are required by other modules. For example USB ethernet requires miibus device.
preparing freebsd 1 3 add following
Preparing FreeBSD 1.3Add following:
  • We want to enable device polling, even on SMP systems.
  • We will want to load several network components that we can utilize.
  • If you are running FreeBSD 5.x-STABLE or greater, you want to enable ACCEPT_FILTER_HTTP.
  • Custom kernel configuration (along with other content for this presentation) that I use can be located at: http://www.webfoundation.net/public/high-performance-content-hosting/
  • Next slide will show options you will need to add to your kernel configuration, you can see brief explanation for each option in comments.
preparing freebsd 1 4 add following
Preparing FreeBSD 1.4Add following:

# Device polling (For older FreeBSD machines, but does not hurt to leave this here)

options DEVICE_POLLING # Reduce overheard of network cards, let kernel handle everything

options HZ=1000 # Delay that kernel will obey when polling network cards

# Network

options IPFIREWALL # Load firewall, IPFW

options IPFIREWALL_FORWARD # Enable forwarding of packets from x to y (not required, but keep this)

options IPFIREWALL_VERBOSE # Enable firewall logging

options IPFIREWALL_VERBOSE_LIMIT=100 # But cap messages to specific limit (100 is good)

options IPFIREWALL_DEFAULT_TO_ACCEPT # Make sure firewall is set to ACCEPT everything by default

options DUMMYNET # Traffic shaper, bandwidth manager, etc.

Options IPDIVERT # Divert sockets (RAW IP sockets) for IPFW.

# Enable ACCEPT_FILTER_HTTP on 5.x-STABLE or greater, vulnerable in previous releases

# see: http://securitytracker.com/alerts/2002/May/1004405.html

options ACCEPT_FILTER_HTTP # Allows kernel to pre-process incoming requests

# Misc

options QUOTA # Quota support

Compile and re-build your kernel. Reboot your system and flip to the next slide!

preparing freebsd 2 0
Preparing FreeBSD 2.0

In order to allow our system to process and handle more data we will have to increase some default configuration limits.

Open up /etc/sysctl.confwith your favorite editor, let’s add following parameters

# Maximum number of open files

# Each open file, socket, or fifo uses one file descriptor

kern.maxfiles=36984 # Default is 12328

# Maximum number of open files per process

# Each open file, socket, or fifo uses one file descriptor

kern.maxfilesperproc=18492 # Default is 11095

# Listen queue for accepting new TCP connections

kern.ipc.somaxconn=32544 #Default is 128

# Maximum socket send/recv buffers

# Also adjust /boot/loader.confnmbclusters variable

kern.ipc.maxsockets=163840 # Default is 12328

kern.ipc.maxsockbuf=10485760 # Default is 262144

# Maximum number of dynamic rules for dummynet

# You will have to wait until rule expired once you reach this limit


# Lifetime for various connection types (dropped after xx secs)

net.inet.ip.fw.dyn_ack_lifetime=300 # Default as of 6.x

net.inet.ip.fw.dyn_syn_lifetime=2 # Default 20, we want this lowered

preparing freebsd 2 1
Preparing FreeBSD 2.1

# Enlarge port range to prevent FIN_WAIT 2 from using up all ports

# If you just running a single web server on port 80 and no services

# of any sort you can set hifirst to 300 or so



# Lower amount of time we want to wait for ACK replies

# if we set it to high, we will keep TIME_WAIT connections

# open for clients that probably no longer there

net.inet.tcp.msl=7000 # Default is 30000, too high!

# Adjust limitation of TCP RST responses, with every 'unreachable'

# response we use server resources, lowering this configuration

# parameter limits number of 'unreachable' replies serv

net.inet.icmp.icmplim=2000 # Default is 200

# Enable high performance TCP extension

net.inet.tcp.rfc1323=1 # Default as of 6.x

# Do not delay packet acks (don't queue stuff up, send right away)


# Adjust window spaces for TCP/UDP for larger files

net.inet.tcp.sendspace=65535 # Default as of 6.x

net.inet.tcp.recvspace=65535 # Default as of 6.x

net.inet.udp.recvspace=41600 # Default as of 6.x

net.inet.udp.maxdgram=57344 # Default as of 6.x

# And.. for local network

net.local.stream.sendspace=65535 #Default 8192

net.local.stream.recvspace=65535 #Default 8192

preparing freebsd 2 2
Preparing FreeBSD 2.2

# Simply drop tcp/udp packets that are not expected, without replying



# Allow local resources to become free faster


# Read: http://unix.derkeiler.com/Mailing-Lists/FreeBSD/performance/2005-10/0015.html


# During peak loads check your usage with `sysctlvfs.numvnodes`, increase this

# if you are near this limit! Each vnode internally represents file/directory,

# going over this limit will decrease your disk performance.

kern.maxvnodes=70236 # Default as of 6.x

# If you have following cards bge, dc, em, fwe, fwip, fxp, ixgb, nge, re, rl, sf, sis, ste, stge, vge, vr or xl

# enable this option to improve network throughput.


# Device polling disables interrupts by polling network card devices at appropriate times. Furthermore, the operating system can control

# accurately how much work to spend in handling device events, and thus prevent livelock by reserving some amount of CPU to other tasks.


# Read http://www.gsp.com/cgi-bin/man.cgi?section=4&topic=polling


# Disable core dumps


Make sure to play around with values, this is not a fit all configuration but merely an idea of what you should adjust, test, adjust, test until you get desired result.

You can also get everything in a single file at: http://www.webfoundation.net/public/high-performance-content-hosting/

preparing freebsd 3 0
Preparing FreeBSD 3.0

There are few parameters that we can’t adjust on a running system, those values need to be set at system boot, and fortunately for us is very straight forward.

Let’s open up /boot/loader.confwith your favorite editor and add following parameters

#Raise process limits

kern.maxproc="12328" # Default 6164

kern.maxprocperuid="11528" # Default 5547

#Sendfile system for transmitting files

kern.ipc.nsfbufs="13312" # Default 6656

Quick and easy, reboot your system and we can start installing and configuring Lighttpd!

preparing freebsd 4 0
Preparing FreeBSD 4.0

Before we begin installation of Lighttpd,weneed to install several packages/libraries to support some of the features.

While most of the packages might not required for your content server, I will demonstrate few tricks at the end of this presentation that will make use of them.

First let’s install PCRE port, this will give us support for regular expressions:

cd /usr/ports/devel/pcre && make install clean

Now let’s grab latest copy of LUA from http://www.lua.org/download.html and install it, LUA is lightweight scripting language that we can pass Lighttpdrequests to

cd ~


tar xvfz lua-5.1.4.tar.gz

cd lua-5.1.4

make freebsd install

Let’s proceed to daemon installation...

installing lighttpd 1 0
Installing Lighttpd 1.0

Now, let’s install Lighttpdfrom source. We will use stable 1.4.x release from http://www.lighttpd.net/

cd ~


tar xvfz lighttpd-1.4.20.tar.gz

cd lighttpd-1.4.20

We will be serving static content on IPV4 network, let’s disable some stuff we do not need and enable support for PCRE and LUA (packages we just installed).

./configure --without-zlib \

--without-bzip2 \

--with-pcre \

--with-lua LUA_CFLAGS="-I/usr/local/include/" LUA_LIBS=/usr/local/lib/liblua.a \


Complete installation by doing make and make install clean


make install clean

configuring lighttpd 1 0
Configuring Lighttpd 1.0

Now let’s create configuration file, I will walk you thought each section.

First, lets load server modules we would use. You will need mod_expire(that will allow us to specify expiration date for our images/files so they are not re-fetched every time user reloads page that links to static content hosted on Lighttpd)and mod_accesslog will provide us with ability to log server requests.

#additional modules

server.modules = ("mod_expire","mod_accesslog")

Document root tells Lighttpdto serve content out of this directory, this is where your content will reside, I picked /usr/local/www/ in this example.

#document root

server.document-root = "/usr/local/www/"

Now let’s set up access and error logs, I prefer to house them in /var/log/lighttpd/

#where to send error logs

server.errorlog = "/var/log/lighttpd/error.log"

#where to send access logs

accesslog.filename = "/var/log/lighttpd/access.log"

configuring lighttpd 1 1
Configuring Lighttpd 1.1

This directive is not required, but if you would like to display index.html by default in every directory add this to your configuration

#files to check for if open directory is requested

index-file.names = ("index.html")

Since our content server will be serving images and occasional html/text page we will only map file types we need

#mimetypes to map

mimetype.assign = (

".gif" => "image/gif",

".jpg" => "image/jpeg",

".jpeg" => "image/jpeg",

".png" => "image/png",

".html" => "text/html"


Now lets tell our daemon on what port we would like it to listen on and what username/group it should run as, keep in mind that you should keep this port under 8000 since we configured net.inet.ip.portrange.hifirstparameter in sysctl

#server and user/group bindings

server.port = 80

server.username = "daemon"

server.groupname = "daemon"

configuring lighttpd 1 2
Configuring Lighttpd 1.2

Now it’s time to utilize mod_expire, in this example if you are serving images/ and thumbs/ under /usr/local/www/ directory you will want to put something like this in your configuration

#set expiration date for static content

expire.url = (

"/images/" => "access 2 years",

"/thumbs/" => "access 2 years"


Most modern browsers will check expiration stamp on content they are fetching and if our server informs them that all of our content under /images/ directory will not change for 2 years it will not fetch a new copy when user requests your content again (unless of course they flush their cache).

This will save you bandwidth and system resources.

Keep alive setting could be a little tricky. In this example I will disable it.

If you have control over your content (not allowing hot linking) and you are only serving one image from your content server per page request you should disable or at least set keep alive to a very low value.

If you are allowing hot linking, user will most likely link multiple images. In cases like this you may benefit from enabling keep alive. Do not set them too high.

#server tweaks

server.max-keep-alive-idle = 0

server.max-keep-alive-requests = 0

configuring lighttpd 1 3
Configuring Lighttpd 1.3

Now lets lower write idle so we can free up resources quicker for extremely slow requests, raise number of file descriptors to compliment our file and socket limit tweaks we did to FreeBSD

server.max-write-idle = 180

server.max-fds = 20048

Last but not least, let’s turn on stat caching, when you serve same content to different users you can bypass stat() call to files you are serving.

“Simple” stat engine will cache each stat() call for up to 1 second. If you need better and more robust caching take a look at FAM.

server.stat-cache-engine = "simple"

You are done! Save your file to /usr/local/etc/lighttpd.conf and create logging directories and files

mkdir /var/log/lightttpd/

touch /var/log/lighttpd/access.log

touch /var/log/lighttpd/error.log

Start your web server with –f parameter pointing to your new configuration file

/usr/local/sbin/lighttpd –f /usr/local/etc/lighttpd.conf

You should be able to access it from outside/locally on port 80. Don’t forget to put content in your document root (/usr/local/www/)!

benchmarking 1 0
Benchmarking 1.0

Let’s compare Lighttpdperformance to Apache. For system information and configuration files used, please consult disclosure at the end of this presentation).

Higher numbers are better. As you can see Lighttpdoutperforms Apache significantly when serving 71KB file by an average of 20 requests per second and remains ahead when serving a larger file but with a smaller gap in performance.

Let’s take a look at how system handled each web server under load.

benchmarking 1 1
Benchmarking 1.1

While number of processed requests per second can tell you quite a bit about performance, let’s look at how much system resources both daemons utilized

Lighttpdand Apache both hovered around same numbers when serving 71KB file, with Lighttpdwinning when serving 214KB file.


benchmarking 1 2
Benchmarking 1.2

Memory is important, our tests showed that Apache required a lot more memory allocation to handle same amount of traffic (with lesser performance) then Lighttpd.

Lighttpd’sfootprint remainedpractically identical when serving 300 and 1000 users for both small and large files.

Apache used more then double of memory then Lighttpdfor 300 users and as much of 639% more for 1000 users downloading 214KB of data.

bottlenecks 1 0
Bottlenecks 1.0

Based on personal experience you will eventually hit some bottlenecks as your service grows, I will provide

solutions to most common problems


  • Hot-Linking can drain your bandwidth and hardware resources very quickly
  • You do not get paid for hot linked content


  • Bandwidth is very expensive
  • Purchasing more bandwidth is not always an option when dealing with custom platforms
bottlenecks 2 0
Bottlenecks 2.0

If you are like most system administrators, you hate hot linking, but in some cases you can’t disable it and you find your self monitoring your system resources and trying to find offenders that ruin it for everybody else.

We can use Lighttpdto track and limit resources automatically without giving up performance.

Remember when we configured Lighttpdto compile with LUA libraries? LUA is a lightweight scripting language that we will use to handle requests.

First we need to add mod_magnetto our module list, this module will pipe incoming requests to LUAfor processing. Let’s open up our configuration file and locate server.modules directive and add mod_magnet.

It should look something like this

Now let’s add a new configuration directive where we will check if referrer is not mydomain.com, mydomain.net, mydomain.org and forward request to LUA script.

Notice /usr/local/etc/lighttpd.lua, will be using this file to store a small hash table of content that we will be restricting access, along with a small snippet that will check each request and attempt to match it against the table.

#additional modules

server.modules = ("mod_expire","mod_accesslog”,”mod_magnet”)

#forward hot-linkers to LUA

$HTTP["referer"] !~ "^($|http://([^/]*\.)?mydomain\.(com|net|org)/)" {

magnet.attract-physical-path-to = ("/usr/local/etc/lighttpd.lua")


bottlenecks 2 1
Bottlenecks 2.1

If match is successful we will redirect request to /hotlinked.gif, which will be image you want to display instead of original. It would probably say something like ‘Hey! you hot-linked and used over 1GB of transfer!’.

General outline of our LUA script will be this (do not put this in our .lua script, this should be automatically generated):

-- This is our hash table, it contains images that are already restricted and

-- internally redirected to /hotlinked.gif.

local url_check =


-- Array of images

["/images/hot_linked_image.jpg"] = true, -- 1229634053

["/images/another_hot_linked_image.gif"] = true, -- 1229655656


-- Here we check if current request matches any of the images in

-- our hash table, and if it does we rewrite URI path to hotlinked.gif

if url_check[lighty.env["uri.path"]] then

lighty.env["uri.path"] = "/hotlinked.gif"

lighty.env["physical.rel-path"] = lighty.env["uri.path"]

lighty.env["physical.path"] = lighty.env["physical.doc-root"] .. lighty.env["physical.rel-path"]


Now we have to write a simple script that can perform following tasks for us:

  • Calculate resources each accessed piece of content is using (using access log/database)
  • Track new and existing resources that went over specific limit then add and/or purge them from hash table
  • Regenerate our LUA script with a new hash table, Lighttpdwill pick up changes automatically.
bottlenecks 2 2
Bottlenecks 2.2

You can retrieve a sample PHP script from http://www.webfoundation.net/public/high-performance-content-hosting/

I’m using access logs to calculate bandwidth usage of each file that is accessed from within /images/ directory, ignoring requests initiated directly from my web site.

You can also make it fancy and introduce database to the equation.

  • Retrieve content of hash table elements inside LUA script
  • Check time stamps for each item, if expired purge them. Otherwise add them to new Array()
  • Process access log and calculate resources each accessed file used, if it’s above specific limit add file to new Array() for processing
  • Re-generate LUA script with data from our new Array(), that now contains non-expired images as well as our new additions
  • Reset/Archive your system log every 24 hours. Either let syslog do that for you, or write your own script

Basic Workflow:

bottlenecks 3 0
Bottlenecks 3.0

In order to have more control of your bandwidth you can do couple of things.

First, you can limit each connection to Lighttpdto specific number of kbytes. This will prevent high bandwidth users eating up your bandwidth while they browse content, leaving other users dry as they use 90% of your resources

connection.kbytes-per-second = 512

Putting above in your lighttpd.conf file will limit each connection to maximum of 51~ KB/s of transfer.

To enforce global limit on system level, we can use IPFW/DUMMYNET to throttle traffic to a specific IP addressthat our Lighttpdis binded to. Create a new file /etc/ipfw.rulesand following template below

#Automatic purge

ipfw -f flush


ipfw add count ip from any to #Incoming

ipfw add count ip from to any #Outgoing

#Limiting upload rate from dedicated IP to 20Mbit/s

ipfw add queue 1 ipfrom to any

ipfw queue 1 configweight 1 pipe 1 mask dst-ip 0x000000ff

ipfw pipe 1 configbw20Mbit/s

The ‘count IP’ parameter will allow you to track bandwidth that IP utilized and queue/pipe will limit all traffic sent from to 20Mbit/s.

bottlenecks 3 1
Bottlenecks 3.1

To activate your throttling rules on system boot append following lines to your /etc/rc.conf






Make sure firewall_script is pointing to ipfw.rules file you just created. You can reload the rules right away by


sh /etc/ipfw.rules

Throttling for IP address you provided in your ipfw.rulesconfiguration file should now be active. You can view number of packets and bytes IP received/sent by running

ipfw show

Top output should look something like this

00100 1365 133932 count ip from any to

00200 147 11451 count ip from to any

First line has ‘from any to IP’, that means it will represent incoming traffic and second line has from IP to any which means it will represent outgoing traffic.

Second column represents number of packets processed and third column is number of total bytes transferred. So if you have multiple IP’s in round robin DNS or for different content you can use this for quick bandwidth check.

bottlenecks 4 0
Bottlenecks 4.0

Some quick tips on controlling your bandwidth resources

Load Balancing

  • Setup an A record that points to multiple IP’s (different servers) within Bind (DNS software), Bind will act as a ‘load balancer’ by evenly resolving requests to different IP addresses. So all requests will be spread across your server farm evenly.

95% Percentile

  • When using IPFW to throttle outgoing bandwidth on 95% percentile network you can setup a script to lift limits on specific time period that your site is getting the most traffic.
disclosure 1 0
Disclosure 1.0

Disclosure of benchmarks procedures and hardware


  • CPU: Intel(R) Pentium(R) D 3.20GHz (3192.97-MHz 686-class CPU)
  • Memory: 2048 MB
  • Disk: Maxtor 6L200P0 BAH41G10, UDMA1000


  • FreeBSD, version 6.1
  • Optimized kernel and sysctl variables, per this presentation. Copy available at http://www.webfoundation.net/public/high-performance-content-hosting/
  • Tested Apache v2.2.11 and Lighttpdv1.4.18, configuration files are available at http://www.webfoundation.net/public/high-performance-content-hosting/
  • ApacheBench 2.0.41-dev rev1.141
  • Siege 2.68b3
disclosure 1 1
Disclosure 1.1

Disclosure of benchmarks procedures and hardware


  • Each test had a background daemon to record system health status in a loop of 1 execution per second
  • Web server daemon was restarted and access logs flushed after finishing each test (300 users for small file, 1000 users for small file, 300 users for big file, 1000 users for big file, etc)
  • FreeBSD was restarted in-between of daemon switch (when switching testing from Lighttpdto Apache and vise versa)
  • Each test was performed 5 times for each test case, median value was calculated for this report
photo credits 1 0
Photo Credits 1.0

Network cable pictures were obtained from following individuals, thank you guys

Flickr Members

  • Mathieu Ramage
  • Pascal Charest
  • Jerry John