September 11, 2017

Optimizing Web Servers for High Throughput and Low Latency

This is an expanded version of my talk at NginxConf 2017 on September 6, 2017. As an SRE on the Dropbox Traffic Team, I’m responsible for our Edge network: its reliability, performance, and efficiency. The Dropbox edge network is an nginx-based proxy tier designed to handle both latency-sensitive metadata transactions and high-throughput data transfers. In a system that is handling tens of gigabits per second while simultaneously processing tens of thousands latency-sensitive transactions, there are efficiency/performance optimizations throughout the proxy stack, from drivers and interrupts, through TCP/IP and kernel, to library, and application level tunings.

Disclaimer

In this post we’ll be discussing lots of ways to tune web servers and proxies. Please do not cargo-cult them. For the sake of the scientific method, apply them one-by-one, measure their effect, and decide whether they are indeed useful in your environment.

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