This past April I was riding in a late model, 2 door rental car with an interesting trio for sure. On my right sat Patrick Galbraith, maintainer of DBD::mysql and author of the Federated storage engine. Directly in front of me manning the steering wheel (for those of you keen on spatial description, you may have noted at this point that its most likely I was seated in the back, left seat of a car which is designed to be driven on the right side of the road. EOUF [end of useless fact]), David Axmark, co-founder of MySQL. Immediately to his right sat Brian Aker, of (most recently) Drizzle fame.
This was one of those conversations that I felt grossly unprepared for. It was the 2009 MySQL User's conference, and Patrick and I had been hacking on DBD::drizzle for most of the day. We had it 98% of the way there and were in need of food, so we were joining the Drizzle dev team for gourmet pizza.
As we navigated from the Santa Clara conference center to Mountain View's quaint downtown, Brian, Patrick, and I were discussing memcached stuff. I mentioned my idea, and subsequent implementation of the Mogile+Memcached method for storing data more reliably in memcached. I knew in my head why we had chosen to read from all of the replica servers, not just the first one that worked, but I forgot (The reason, btw, is that if one of the servers had missed a write for some reason, you might get out-of-date data). I guess I was a little overwhelmed by Brian's mountain of experience w/ memcached.
Anyway, the next thing I mentioned was that we had also tried MemcacheDB with some success. Brian wasn't exactly impressed with MemcacheDB, and immediately suggested that we should be using Tokyo Tyrant instead. I had heard of Tokyo Cabinet, the new hotness in local key/value storage and retrieval, but what is this Tyrant you speak of?
I've been playing with Tokyo Tyrant ever since, and advocating for its usage at Adicio. Its pretty impressive. In addition to speaking memcached protocol, it apparently speaks HTTP/WEBDAV too. The ability to select hash, btree, and a host of other options is nice, though I'm sure some of these are available as obscure options to berkeleydb as well.
Anyway, I was curious what performance was like, so I did some tests on my little Xen instance, and came up with pretty graphs.
I used the excellent Brutis tool to run these benchmarks using the most interesting platform for me at the moment.. which would be, php with the pecl Memcache module.
These numbers were specifically focused on usage that is typical to MemcacheDB. A wide range of keys (in this case, 10000 is "wide" since the testing system is very small), not-small items (2k or so), and lower write:read ratio (1:50). I had the tests restart each daemon after each run, and these numbers are the results of the average of 3 runs each test.
I also tried these from another xen instance on the same LAN, and things got a lot slower. Not really sure why as latency is in the sub-millisecond range.. but maybe Xen's networking just isn't very fast. Either way, the numbers for each combination didn't change much.
What I find interesting is that memachedb in no-sync mode actually went faster than memached. Of course, in nosync mode, memcachedb is just throwing data at the disk. It doesn't have to maintain LRU or slabs or anything.
Tokyo Tyrant was very consistent, and used *very* little RAM in all instances. I do recall reading that it compresses data. Maybe thats a default? Anyway, tokyo tyrant also was the most CPU hungry of the bunch, so I have to assume having more cores might have resulted in much better results.
I'd like to get together a set of 3 or 4 machines to test multiple client threads, and replication as well. Will post that as part 2 when I pull it together. For now, it looks like.
In case anybody wants to repeat these tests, I've included the results, and the scripts used to generate them in this tarball.
-- Additional info, 6/4/2009
Another graph that some might find interesting, is this one detailing CPU usage. During all the tests, brutis used about 60% of the CPU available on the machine, so 40% is really 100%:
This tells me that the CPU was the limiting factor for Tokyo Tyrant, and with a multi-core machine, we should see huge speed improvements. Stay tuned for those tests!