Feeds

Facebook HipHop serves 70% more traffic on same hardware

PHP to C++ Diddy

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Business security measures using SSL

When Facebook moved its servers to HipHop for PHP – the code transformer it built to convert PHP into optimized C++ – the company's average CPU usage dropped by 50 per cent. And after six months of additional engineering, the tool was about 1.8 times faster.

Now, after another six months, the company says, it has improved performance another 1.7 times. But this is more than just self-congratulation. The project is open source, and it has been open since Facebook first switched its servers to HipHop in February 2010.

Unlike Google, you see, Facebook has been known to promptly open-source some of the most important pieces of its back-end infrastructure.

With a Wednesday blog post, Facebook research scientist Xin Qi charts HipHop's relative throughput improvement over the last six months:

Facebook Hip Hop performance improvement

The end result, he says, is that HipHop can handle about 70 per cent more traffic on the same hardware infrastructure.

After transforming PHP into C++, HipHop compiles the code and builds binary files with the GNU C++ compiler, aka g++. The idea is that you can still code with high-level PHP, but then get the performance of C++ – though it does give up certain "rarely used" PHP features.

According to Qi, Facebook and the open source community have juiced the tool in several different ways. HipHop uses a version of the Alternative PHP Cache (APC), and engineers have stripped most of the serialization and unserialization operations. "Semantically, an object is serialized and unserialized when it is stored into and fetched from APC. However, serialization and unserialization are costly operations, commonly dominating the cost of APC data fetching itself," Qi says.

"Thus, we reworked the APC implementation in HipHop, getting rid of almost all the serialization/unserialization operations, while keeping the semantics equivalent to before."

But some serialization is still required, and this has been fine tuned. "Objects still need to be serialized or JSON-encoded in order to transfer them over the wire. To make things faster, we optimized various aspects of these operations, including UTF8/UTF16 conversions, object property accesses, number parsing, and so forth."

Facebook has also reduced the size of the binary code, improved memory allocation, and made several changes to the compiler. "Several phases in the compiler, including parsing, optimization, and code generation, are now parallelized. Hyves contributed changes to the generated C++ code to make it compile faster without losing any run-time efficiency," Qi says.

His crew can build a more than 1GB binary in about 15 minutes (after stripping out debug information). "Although faster compilation does not directly contribute to run-time efficiency," Qi says "it helps make the deployment process better."

The likes of Drupal, MediaWiki, and WordPress are now using HipHop. No one is using BigTable or the Second Coming of the Google File System. Except for Google. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine
Open source? In the government? Ha ha! What, wait ...?
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.