October 1st, 2003


LJ performance

We've all seen Brad and the rest of the LJ crew post about how they're going to make a change that'll "fix" the performance problems LJ has been having. And of course, every time they've said that, it's gotten better for about 10 minutes and then gotten even worse afterwards. Every bottleneck they fix reveals a new one, and every increase they make to capacity just leads to usage increasing until they're overloaded again. It's an old story, and I wish they'd learn to just keep their mouths shut about the performance improvements since they never last - if they ever do get ahead of the curve it'll be very obvious, very soon after, and then they can swoop in and point out the changes they've made.

(At the very least, they ought to learn not to assure everyone performance will be greatly increased... just say something like "this is another attempt to increase scalability" (or capacity or whatever) and don't get peoples' hopes up - most people won't understand what's going on in the background, they'll just see "Well, last night they posted that they were improving performance, and today it's just as crappy as ever, so they're lying bastards, or maybe just incompetent", when that's not true. They're actually fairly clueful, they just have a habit of setting user expectations too high.)

Well, they've finally put in place an improvement that'll scale up just as quickly as the site does itself - they've cut their images over to Speedera. I think this is great news - we've used Speedera for years at CCI and while the hardcore do-it-myself sys admin part of me chafes a bit at admitting to it, life's a lot easier and things go a lot more smoothly when you're using a CDN like Speedera (or Akamai or whoever).

It's worth noting that this won't do a thing for the dynamic page rendering, that'll be as slow as ever, but at least from now on userpics (and assuming they've cut them over, stylesheets, site images, and other similar static content) should be consistently fast and reliable. (And any site delays from problems on that end will now go away, pretty much 100% of the time - Speedera's pretty good at what they do and they've got a lot more capacity than LJ will use anytime soon.)

Now they just need to figure out how to get the dynamic stuff working well. :)

Update: Heh, they're adding a netapp so they'll have more capacity for hosting userpics and other images. Hehe. They're starting to sound sort of like CCI. ;)
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