Choosing a Web Architecture for Perl
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Choosing a Web Architecture for Perl

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This talk was presented at OSCON 2009 and YAPC::NA 2009. The choices discussed here are still relevant, although Plack has opened up some new options. For a more up-to-date take on this material I ...

This talk was presented at OSCON 2009 and YAPC::NA 2009. The choices discussed here are still relevant, although Plack has opened up some new options. For a more up-to-date take on this material I would recommend Tatsuhiko Miyagawa's most recent Plack/PSGI talks.

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Choosing a Web Architecture for Perl Choosing a Web Architecture for Perl Presentation Transcript

  • Choosing a Web Architecture for Perl Perrin Harkins We Also Walk Dogs
  • This used to be an easy decision
    • Netscape, or Apache for you hippies
    • CGI, or NSAPI if you enjoy core dumps
    View slide
  • Server-side development matured, and it stayed easy
    • Apache became the standard web server View slide
    • mod_perl became the way to run Perl
    • FastCGI was looking peaky
      • Outside of Amazon's reality distortion field anyway
  • Then two things happened
    • Ruby came along
      • Renewed interest in FastCGI
      • Thanks, Ruby!
    • Non-blocking I/O became fashionable
      • Memcached
      • Lighttpd
      • Nginx
  • Now we have many choices
    • Web servers
      • Apache
      • Lighttpd
      • Nginx
      • Squid
      • Perlbal
      • Varnish
    • Protocols
      • FastCGI
      • HTTP
      • SCGI
  • FastCGI
    • Many implementations for different servers
    • Daemons are managed by the web server or an external process
    • Has hooks for auth, logging, and filtering, but not always implemented and rarely used
  • HTTP
    • Reverse proxy forwards HTTP requests to apache/mod_perl backend
  • SCGI
    • ”Simple CGI”
    • Stealing good ideas from Python
    • Simpler than FastCGI, so theoretically could be faster
  • The graveyard of alternative Perl daemons
    • SpeedyCGI
    • PersistentPerl
    • Both replace the #! line and daemonize your program
  • Biases
    • Long-time mod_perl contributor
    • Member of Apache Software Foundation
    Don't believe a word I say!
  • Apache 2.2 mod_proxy + mod_perl
    • Frontend apache runs threaded worker MPM
    • Backend apache runs prefork MPM
    • All popular apache modules (mod_ssl, mod_rewrite, mod_security, mod_deflate, caching, auth) are available
    • mod_proxy_balancer provides load balancing
  • Apache 2.2 mod_fastcgi
    • Frontend runs threaded worker MPM
    • As with mod_proxy, all popular apache modules are available
    • Three poorly-named configurations:
      • ”Static” starts a set number of procs at server startup
      • ”Dynamic” starts a new proc every time it gets a request up to a configured limit
      • ”Standalone” sends requests to daemon you start
  • Apache 2.2 mod_fastcgi
    • Can run separate versions of same package name in separate daemons
      • True for mod_perl too if you run multiple backends, but less obvious
    • Seamless restart for code upgrades in standalone mode
      • Start a new set of procs on same socket and shut down the old ones
      • Could get close with two mod_perl backends, but not simple
  • Lighttpd mod_fastcgi
    • Non-blocking I/O server
    • Supports static and standalone FastCGI
    • Supports Authorizer role
    • Solid selection of modules with equivalents of most popular apache ones
    • Same restart advantages as FastCGI on Apache
    • Load balancing across FastCGI daemons
  • Lighttpd mod_scgi
    • Same Lighttpd, different protocol
    • Sketchy docs
  • nginx FastCGI
    • Another non-blocking I/O server
    • Supports standalone FastCGI only
    • Does not support Authorizer role
    • Good module selection
    • Same restart advantages
  • nginx proxy + mod_perl
    • Load balancing
  • What about running naked mod_perl?
    • Static requests
    • Buffering for slow clients
    • Keep-Alive
  • Benchmark methodology
    • Very simple Catalyst app
      • Sleeps for 0.1 seconds
      • Returns 35K of HTML (perl.com homepage)
    • Brief run of ab (Apache Bench) with intended concurrency to warm up server
    • ab tests at concurrency of 10, 50, 150, 200
  • General findings
    • FastCGI static mode is difficult to use with apache/mod_fastcgi
      • Trial and error to find magic number
      • Worked better with Lighttpd
    • FastCGI standalone mode is unusable on Lighttpd
      • Load balancing feature marks daemons as down if they're too busy to answer right away and rejects requests
    • SCGI Perl implementations incomplete
  • Benchmark results
  • Not really apples to apples
    • mod_perl does other things
    • Filters on non-perl content (PHP, etc.)
    • Customize server and request phases
    • Replace HTTP with your own protocol
      • Apache 2 + mod_perl 2 is a server kit
  • Thanks! And please help me add more servers...