I’ve done some benchmarking on Whisper. Here are the results, with a few points of comparison:
Nginx static is nginx serving a static file. We see it can handle 13k requests per second, and takes about 7ms for a single request. If we add a simple Thin server on top of that, going through Rack, we immediately drop requests/second by an order of magnitude, and it takes us an extra 25ms/request. That’s the cost of using Ruby.
Adding Whisper on top of that requires another 19.5 ms/requests, bringing our rate down to 1919 requests/second, or over 7 times slower than Nginx serving static files. And if you want logging with that, add another 2.4 ms/request.
That 2.4ms/request is interesting, because it’s basically the result of a few puts statements. Yes, Ruby is expensive. The bare Rack/Thin performance shows the headroom I have on the Ruby side (i.e. without rewriting the whole thing in C). If a puts is that expensive, then stripping out a couple debugging statements and caching some regexp results would probably result in a very noticable improvement in performance.
But how many requests/second do you need to be able to survive being Slashdotted? A brief web search suggests a high estimate of “several hundred”. Let’s say that means 300 req/s. That means that Whisper is already 6 times the Slashdot effect requirement. So it’s almost definitely not worth complicated the code for the sake of performance.
Experiment parameters: these are all tests using
ab (the Apache benchmark tool) with 100 concurrent requests, averaged over 50k requests. The tests were performed by connecting to localhost (i.e. going over the network stack but not over the network itself), on a quad-core Intel 2Ghz (Q8200) running 64-bit Linux 2.6.27. YMMV.