The Big Bang Performance Update

During the first year of operation, was running on a single server. Now the backend guys pulled off a Big Bang and greatly improved performance by implementing a triangle cluster.

Before the performance upgrade the infrastructure looked like figure below. The single server hosted the web front-end, the MongoDB database as well as the MySQL database. Three domain names all pointed to it.

Infrastructure - Before

This infrastructure fell short on so many levels… let’s not even begin to discuss those. Suffice it to say scrapers like Facebook or Google where seeing access times to individual product pages of several seconds.

With ProductLayer now having a proper company it is only fitting that the server infrastructure should also be worthy of the endeavor. The backend guys René and Werner completely changed it, inspired by a well-known TV series…

Infrastructure - After

All Internet traffic is still routed to the front-end server named “Penny”. She is the good-looking one, facing the audience. “Sheldon” and “Leonard” are working tirelessly behind the scenes to provide redundancy and performance. A big boost is provided by “Sheldon” touting an ultra-fast SSD RAID 1. Oh and there is is also “Raj” who backs up the entire DB once every day, just to be safe.

The overall performance improvement is around 44%. It is definitely noticeable if you browse on the web site how everything is about twice as fast as before. The iOS app has always been faster, but it also gained some speed.

The biggest improvement can be seen in the time it takes the Google indexing bot to download a page. January through March the time it needed for one page hovered around 4 seconds. When the new infrastructure went live – at beginning of April – the access time dropped to a record-breaking 200 milliseconds.

Google Indexing Speed

As a startup that is funded entirely by the 4 founders, ProductLayer needs to make sure it gets most “bang for the back”. The new infrastructure is able to provide greatly improved performance and reliability at reasonable cost.

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