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Handling Massive Traffic with Python


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At Paylogic we handle massive online peak sales, with tens of thousands customers coming every second trying to get a chance to buy their ticket. We built a virtual queue to handle this load and sell the tickets in a fair order. This is how we did it (as much as I can tell you!).

I presented this talk at PyGrunn 2013.

Published in: Technology, Business
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Handling Massive Traffic with Python

  1. 1. Handling massive traffic with Python Òscar Vilaplana, Paylogic PyGrunn 2013
  2. 2. What’s the problem? • High Traffic (>10k hits/s) • Redirect low traffic to Paylogic • Change redirected TPS • Expect things to break • Be fair, respect FIFO (within reason) • Keep users informed 02
  3. 3. In more detail • Open/hold/close sales • Expect any server to go down • Expect ALL servers to go down • Expect users to disappear • Display expected waiting time and other inf • Keep it working • Prevent attacks 03
  4. 4. How It Works • A horde of customers appear! • see a pretty page. • get a position in the queue. • page auto-refresh. • your turn? to the Frontoffice! • meanwhile info is shown. • (waiting time, information from event managers…) 04
  5. 5. Data Storage • Estimates • Not much data, stored in the instances and synced. • Tokens • A LOT of data! • way too much to store and sync • use distributed storage • (the browsers) 05
  6. 6. Architecture • ELB • Queue Instances • Bouncer Process • Syncer Process • HTML/JS Queue Page in Cloudfront 06
  7. 7. ELB • Auto-scales (but not fast enough). • Many regions. • Can boot/kill instances automatically. • We don’t do it yet. 07
  8. 8. Queue Instances • EC2 instances, which handle the traffic. • All identical, sync eachother. • They can be added or removed at will. • If some (but not all) die, the users won’t notice. • If all die, only the statistics will be affected. • (Never happened). 08
  9. 9. Users Handler • Give out and validate tokens. • Determine if the user should: • Keep waiting • Go to the Frontoffice • See the Sold Out page. • Return the expected waiting time. • Return the values configured by the Event Managers. 09
  10. 10. Synchronization of Statistics • Keep the Queue Instances synced so they know: • How many users are waiting. • How to calculate the waiting time. • How many users are being let through by the system 10
  11. 11. HTML/JS Queue Page in Cloudfront • Uses Handlebars • Served by Cloudfront so that the Queue keeps looking good even if all our servers were down. • Updated frequently. • Calls the Load Balancer. Error? Retry. • Errors are very rare. 11
  12. 12. Deployment • Debs in private repos. • Installed through tunnel. • Custom python2deb tool (to be released). 12
  13. 13. Stresstest • Custom client with human-like behaviour. • Notify amazon! 13
  14. 14. What we learned • Debugging distributed apps is hard. • Last bugs are nasty. • ELB doesn’t scale fast enough by itself. 14
  15. 15. Q&A 15