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Web performance – Weekend must-read articles #28

web performance

This is our collection of must-read articles for the weekend.  There’s something about the Olympics, PhantomJS, DNS TTL, web performance work at Lonely Planet and Yahoo, and more.

Every week we bring you a collection of links to places on the web that we find particularly newsworthy, interesting, entertaining, and topical. We try to focus on some particular area or topic each week, but in general we will cover Internet, web development, networking, web performance, security, and other geeky topics.

This week’s suggested reading

The story of the digital Olympics: streams, browsers, most watched, four screens

And the peak audiences for Team GB’s medal moments were bigger than anything we’ve ever seen. Over a 24 hour period on the busiest Olympic days, Olympic traffic to bbc.co.uk exceeded that for the entire BBC coverage of FIFA World Cup 2010 games. On the busiest day, the BBC delivered 2.8 petabytes, with the peak traffic moment occurring when Bradley Wiggins won Gold and we shifted 700 Gb/s.

Performance tuning syslog-ng

One of the critical components of our infrastructure is centralised logging. Our systems generate a vast amount of logging, and we like to keep it all. Everything. The whole bag. When faced with similar situations, other companies have embraced a lot of new technology: Flume, Scribe, Logstash. At Etsy, we’ve stayed old-school – practically prehistoric by technology standards. Our logging infrastructure still uses syslog as the preferred transport because it Just Works™. … Mostly.

Google opens up about the future of search, serves 100 billion searches every month

On an average day, Google crawls 20B web pages a day, out of 30 trillion URLs on the web. The company now serves 100B searches every month.

Optimizing your site delivery size and performance

Most approach the topic of site optimisation either from an SEO or user experience perspective. However, when your site pushes terabytes of traffic and bills from your CDN provider account for thousands of pounds per day, I reckon every change you can make to minimize the delivery size will count. Let’s look at the tools and practices that can decrease your hosting bill significantly while making your users happier at the same time.

Fun with Energy Consumption Data

Based on a recent report released by Facebook, James Hamilton estimates that Facebook has 180,900 servers and that Google has 1,040,000 servers.

How to crawl a quarter billion webpages in 40 hours

More precisely, I crawled 250,113,669 pages for just under 580 dollars in 39 hours and 25 minutes, using 20 Amazon EC2 machine instances.

Walkthrough: Creating and Running a Load Test Containing Web Performance Tests

This walkthrough steps you through creating and then running a load test by using Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate. A load test is a container of Web performance tests and unit tests. You create load tests with the New Load Test Wizard. For more information about load tests, see Creating and Editing Load Tests. For more information about Web performance tests, see Creating and Editing Web Performance Tests. For information about unit tests, see Verifying Code by Using Unit Tests.

On the distribution of DNS TTLs

I recently sampled 348,876,495 valid (actual records exist) A queries processed by OpenDNS servers. This represents 6,263,672 unique names. And I then made a simple app that dumps the initial TTL (as reported by authoritative servers) for each of these unique names, in order to check what the TTL distribution looks like. This data was then processed with R.

Web Performance Testing With PhantomJS

I recently took on the task of coming up with an accurate way to measure all the aforementioned things, in an effort to understand which performance tweaks improved page load times and which ones didn’t. But first, we needed a baseline to test how fast the page loads with both a clear-cache and primed-cache state; Enter PhantomJS. PhantomJS gives us a way to headlessly test page performance, and also gives us the automation we need for integration with any build system. For this article, I will explain the reporting tool I used and try to give you a starting point for testing your own site(s).

Web Performance – A look inside Yahoo!

A presentation by Praveen P. N., performance geek at Yahoo, about how they work with web performance in the company.

Improved HTTPS Performance with Early SSL Termination

Filepicker.io ensures your privacy by sending all our traffic over HTTPS. However, since our web servers are located on east coast, HTTPS results in a measured performance penalty of over 200ms on every cross country connection since it requires two additional round trips due to handshakes. Wanting to provide the best experience possible, we’ve engineered early SSL termination to mask this latency.

Bootstrapping metrics engineering

A presentation by Dave Nolan, Mark Jennings, and Marc Watts at Lonely Planet talking about metrics driven engineering.

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Image (top) via Shutterstock.