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Will moving to JBOSS result in the claimed performance improvements?

Posted on 2007-08-08
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Consider these claims

http://labs.jboss.com/file-access/default/members/jbossweb/freezone/index.html

Currently we are having a fairly simple app (jsp, servlets, oracle db on an oracle raq cluster, application uses a few simple tables) running on two high end servers fronted by a loadbalancer.  Presently there is no session replication across the servers.  Apache httpd handles the ssl encryption/decryption and uses AJP13 to talk to a tomcat instance on each server.  This config is ok for most of the time except when there are huge surges (maybe 5 times a year) in which case we have to present a slimmed down version of the site.

Will moving to JBOSS  (and dropping  apache for SSL) give us twice the performance as claimed?  What are the potential pitfalls/advantages (gotchas)?

The OS is RHEL  but we do not want to commit to this config long term (if there are special binaries involved).

I have also heard about Terracotta recently and if you have an opinion thats also welcome (although note that presently we dont cluster sessions at all as that would further reduce capacity of the servers)

p.s. In a weird twist of fate, Experts Exchange was restarting its servers as I posted this question.. Luckily I had pasted it into notepad2!
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Question by:nsriram
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by:giltjr
ID: 19659294
My interpretation of what they are implying is that the performance gains are due to using OpenSSL.  To me this means that you would only see the drastic performance increase if all (or a majority) of your transactions are SSL and if the majority of your time is spent doing the SSL encryption and decryption.

So how many of your transactions are SSL?  Are you spending a majority of your time doing SSL?

If you are I would think that you would get better performance by using a device in-front of your application server to offload the SSL processing completely.  Then you don't waste any of the application server's CPU cycles doing any encryption/decryption.
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by:nsriram
ID: 19659410

We are also using openSSL (what apache httpd uses?) Yes.. most/all  transactions are SSL.  Apparently the loadbalancer in the data center does do SSL but it has not been "set up yet".. I wonder how hard this can be (compared to apache/tomcat config)

Now its true that images being sent need not be SSLed. Do you know any way for Apache to avoid using SSL for jpg images as these account for a decent subset (in the Apache to Tomcat AJP config) of the traffic. I'll wait for a few days for others to provide their opinions.


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giltjr earned 2000 total points
ID: 19659483
You could either:

   1) Redo all hrefs so they specified http://servername/file
   2) Move all static content to another server and redo hrefs to http://newserver/file
   3) setup re-writes so that https://servername/file gets re-written to http://servername.file

The last requires the least amount of changes, but uses the most CPU because Apache must do re-write processing.  The 1st options means you don't have to setup a new server, but still uses some CPU on your application server for non-application processing.  The 2nd option offloads the processing of static contents and images.

You may want to check your load balancer.  Some can be configured to redirect HTTP requests based on the URL being referenced.  So you might be able to setup a new server, rewrite the URL so that it is http://newserver/file  instead of https://currentserver/file and only need to setup a new server and move the images.

Using distributed boxes it is best to get as much processing as possible off the application server.
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by:nsriram
ID: 19659502
thanks.. this means apache has to be recompiled with mod_rewrite, I assume?  So its a matter of comparing the overhead for rewriting these requests vs. using SSL.  Does apache cache repeated requests for the same images automatically in memory or someplace?
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by:giltjr
ID: 19659546
If you are running the Apache that comes with RH I am 99% sure that mod_rewrite is already there.  You don't need to compile it anyway, you can just load it with  a LoadModule directive.

If you have mod_cache loaded Apache will cache as much static content as memory will allow:

http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.2/caching.html
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