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Phred (5358)


Fred is a Perl and PostgreSQL geek. He has made some very small contributions to a few cpan modules and mod_perl.

Journal of Phred (5358)

Wednesday September 28, 2005
01:27 AM

Perl powers the web

[ #26908 ]

Today I was asked about scaling mod_perl to handle really big loads. They mentioned the possible direction of a J2EE solution.

Now I didn't have any statistics handy to back why mod_perl can scale, but I after mentioning that mod_perl runs, and, I made a bold statment:

"I'd wager my career that mod_perl can scale as well as any other technology."

The response?

[laughter]"Would you put that in writing?"[/laughter]

In this journal entry I hereby make good on my answer of yes to that question :)

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  • fact there is no reason you should - the hard part is designing a scalable system rather than the language you choose.

    the only times that the choice of language or platform has been a problem as been with some ASP applications I have had the ill luck to work on (not design, or develop I hasten to add)

    @JAPH = qw(Hacker Perl Another Just);
    print reverse @JAPH;
  • Someone from Yahoo was at OSCON, giving a talk called "How to serve a billion pages a day with Perl" or something similar to that.

    He gave a great overview of all the different methods you can use to scale the application. Which ones work, which ones don't. And which order to persue them in. ... pause...

    actually, I managed to find the overview

    When: 7:30 PM, Wednesday, July 20th, 2005

    Where: ActiveState/Sophos, 580 Granville Street, Vancouver, BC

    Speaker: Kevin Scaldeferri

    Topic: How to Serve a Billion Requests
    • I was unable to attend OSCON this year but when I looked at the speaker summaries, this was one of the talks that jumped out at me. I'd really like to attend it at some point, or peruse a written copy. Thanks for the tip on that.
  • i agree with TeeJay. it's the part designing a scalable system more important than what language you choose.

    Brad Fitzpatrick from livejournal gave a good talk on how they run a successful website. It's not only about mysql but perl too. []
    talk available to download at the end of that page.

    also, mod_perl website contains some nice doc on how to setup a scalable system with mod_perl.
    • I've implemented some of the open source LiveJournal tools such as MogileFS and Perlbal, and they've been working great at my current project. That combined with parts of the Practical mod_perl book, the mod_perl website, and many other sources have given me the knowledge to scale it, and I've implemented those methodologies in a couple of places.
  • It's FastCGI, not mod_perl, but it's a huge site that most people have heard of and they use Perl (Mason specifically).
    • /me smacks forehead in one of those "Why didn't I remember that at the time?" moments.

      I dug into the mod_perl site docs last night and found this link [] of sites running mod_perl. The question was more in the context of using Perl as the technology of choice though, so FastCGI, Mason, etc. are all relevant here. I found this link also about HTML::Mason powered sites [].

      TicketMaster and Slashdot jumped to the front of my mind when the question was asked, but next time the question comes up I'll point them to

      • I wrote a whole talk on this subject, mentioning Amazon and others, which I gave at OSCON and ApacheCon a couple of years ago. I even have an article form of it written. The only reason I haven't given it to yet is that the section on queue systems is kind of weak. I was hoping to rewrite it when I put my queue system on CPAN, and since I haven't done that yet...
  • []

    A more recent story.