Archive for July, 2005

Back in Dublin

Posted on July 26, 2005, under apache, general.

Well, I’m back from Apachecon and working hard at bringing the new ftp.heanet.ie online. As promised the I’ve put the slides up at http://www.stdlib.net/~colmmacc/Apachecon-EU2005/.

Already discussions had at the ‘con have outdated the presentation. Yesterday I checked out the latest httpd-2.2 branch from subversion (brached by Paul Querna last week) and set about benchmarking them on Itanium. Using the linux 2.6 kernel and the latest glibc NPTL the threaded worker mpm is coming out faster for me. Coping with about 8000 requests per second compared to prefork’s 6200. Though I’ve yet to fire up autobench and do some stress-testing, these numbers are just the response rates. Currently the machine is filling it’s disks as fast as I can synch content, but it’s still going to take a few days.

I’m also finally working on adding graceful-stop functionality to httpd, so that I can upgrade it without terminating the downloads of several hundred people. And on our system we get dialup users downloading ISO’s, so they get annoyed at that. The graceful-stop functionality itself is relatively trivial to add, the problem is signalling the stop. httpd uses plain old kill-type signaling, and there’s a slight problem of having run out of usable signals. SIGUSR1 is taken for graceful-restart, SIGUSR2 breaks threading on some platforms, strace/truss on others and the purify utility anywhere. SIGWINCH is used already for graceful-restart on Linux kernels which had userland threading. So, adding the functionality of a graceful-stop might meen a complete overhaul of the lowlevel IPC, oh the joy.

The rumour mill has it that this week will finally see an update for Apple’s laptop line, which means I might be buying my second new laptop in only 6 weeks, but since my parents want a laptop and my Dad has been eyeing my widescreen Vaio, it will find a good home.

And lastly, I’m off to Cork this weekend with Noirin, for what should be fun and luxurious long weekend. Definitely looking forward to that.

@ Apachecon

Posted on July 20, 2005, under apache, general.

Well, I arrived at Apachecon yesterday, the weather here in Stuttgart is great and from my first impressions it seems like a very nice City. Found the conference venue easily enough and it is very impressive. As is my cavernous Hotel room.

Check out the ApacheconEU2005 Flickr tag for lots of great photos, like this one of the hall being used for Keynotes, and where I’ll be giving the Scaling Apache talk tomorrow morning.

The Networking guys have got a great network up and running, and the turnaround from asking for IPv6 connectivity, to it being fully working was only a few hours. We even managed to confirm that the connectivity should work for a demo last night at the hackathon.

I’ve added and changed a few slides from the presentation, as well as adding a slide recommending other talks at the con. Seeing the first keynotes on a cinema-sized widescreen means I’ve also made all of the graphs full-screen and tweaked their contrast. I’m going to do a little more work on it and then I should be able to post it up here. I’m not sure if I’ll have the time to make the corresponding changes the LaTeX paper by tomorrow.

The flight here was interesting, it’s the first time I’ve flown with Hapag-LLoyd Express (The German Ryanair, roughly), and they do things a little differently. The first thing you notice is that inside it’s like a Mercedez benz, all faux-leather seats, and fancy extras like the flip down LCD’s which arn’t that common on short-haul (it shows a map tracking flight progress, when in flight). The airline either has a policy of recruiting from families, or simply clones their flight crew. All-blonde, all almost indistinguishable (down to having their hair tied in extactly the same way with the same number of those hair-elsatic-things aka scrunchies/bobbins/whatever).

But the biggest difference is how they fly. I don’t know if it’s German efficiency, or if they interchange freight and passengers so frequently the pilots don’t know the difference, but it was much more dynamic than your standard inferior airline. The ascent was rapid, we went straight up at 45 degrees, half way through we also banked hard to the left (again about 45 degrees) to face the right direction, and within 3 minutes (about 10 minutes ealier than I’m used to) of take off the seatbelt sign was off. Excellent, none of the sissy yaw turning, and hell when descing between flight paths why do it gently when you can just drop out of the sky!

Don’t get me wrong, it was comfortable and everyone seemed used to it, but it was different to fly with an airline who seem more concerned with getting there quickly than not listing beyond 5 degrees because about 10ml of someones Coffee might spill.

In other, unrelated news, planet.redbrick.dcu.ie is now up and running, with Cammy and Cokane also working hard to make it happen.