Performance and Scalability Training: DrupalCon Austin


Performance and Scalability Training: DrupalCon Austin

Initial Commands

# Getting ready for Chef.
apt-get update
curl -L | sudo bash
apt-get -y install git-core

# Running Chef.
git clone
cd drupalcon-training-chef-repo
chef-solo -c config/solo.rb -j config/run_list.json

# Downloading Drupal
cd /var/www
drush dl drupal

Installing Drupal

Navigate to http://${SERVER_IP}/drupal-7.28/

# Make a MySQL database.
mysql -uroot -p1234 -e'CREATE DATABASE drupal'
# Let Apache write the Drupal files dir and settings.php.
mkdir /var/www/drupal-7.28/sites/default/files
chown www-data /var/www/drupal-7.28/sites/default/files
cp /var/www/drupal-7.28/sites/default/{default.,}settings.php
chown www-data /var/www/drupal-7.28/sites/default/settings.php

Install the "Standard" install profile.  Use "drupal" as the database name, "root" as the DB user, and "1234" as the DB password.

On the next installation page, set a Drupal site name, email address, username and password.  Choose whatever you'd like for this, so long as you can remember it.


ab is installed as part of apache, but you can install it seperate with:

yum install ab

ab -n 100 -c 5 http://localhost/drupal-7.28/

Results of load testing with changes outlined below with Drupal 7

Requests per Second
Bare Drupal 7.28 Install 14.04
apc.php 75.50
opcache 95
opcache + page cache -remote host 154
opcache + page cache -localhost 689

OPcache replaces APC for PHP 5.5 or news

Note: if you are using php 5.5 or newer there is a build in OPcache cache that is better than APC and you should use.

# yum install php_opcache 

Edit /etc/php.ini and add the following:

; Enable Zend OPcache for PHP 5.5

Other php.ini settings for OPcache (on fedora these are installed in /etc/php.d/opcache.ini for you)

; Sets how much memory to use

;Sets how much memory should be used by OPcache for storing internal strings 
;(e.g. classnames and the files they are contained in)

; The maximum number of files OPcache will cache

;How often (in seconds) to check file timestamps for changes to the shared
;memory storage allocation.

;If enabled, a fast shutdown sequence is used for the accelerated code
;The fast shutdown sequence doesn't free each allocated block, but lets
;the Zend Engine Memory Manager do the work.

;Enables the OPcache for the CLI version of PHP.

To view the status of opcache, install this php file and run from browser

cd /var/www/


Copy apc.php into place

# yum install php_pecl_apc 


# apt-get install php-apc

# sudo pecl install apc

restart apache

#service httpd restart

run a load test

# ab -n 100 -c 5   

(remember the trailing slash or it does not go)

Report on APC memory and cache useage

zcat /usr/share/doc/php-apc/apc.php.gz > /var/www/drupal-7.28/apc.php


cp /usr/share/pear/apc.php /var/www/html/

Navigate to http://${SERVER_URL}/drupal-7.28/apc.php

Apache/PHP tuning

Set memory big enough to cover 100% of normal traffic, but smaller than big admistration tasks.

Total possible apache memory usage

= (Apache MaxClients * memory_limit) + apc.shm_size

= (10 * 128M) + 192M

= 1280M + 192M

= 1472M


Emable mod_gzip and optionally enable mod_deflate

php-fpm users substitute pm.max_children for MaxClients

MySQL Tuning

cd /opt


chmod u+x

wget -O

chmod u+x


Download devel

# Download devel
cd /var/www/drupal-7.28/
drush dl devel
drush en devel_generate
drush genu 1000
drush genc 1000
# Spider the site
wget -r --spider http://localhost/drupal-7.28/
# How much memory is MySQL using?
ps up $(pidof mysqld)


View the node module's schema at .

How to show a summary of a table with all its fields and indexes:



Installing the PECL extension

pecl install xhprof-0.9.4
nano /etc/php5/conf.d/xhprof.ini
# Type in "" to that file and save it.
apache2ctl restart
php -m | grep -i xhprof

Installing the Drupal module

drush dl XHProf
drush -y en xhprof

Tuning the Views Cache

Caching the query results can result in things being possibly out of date.

You can set the query results to never cache but still cache the rendered output. The rendered output is keyed on the contents of the result set itself.

More info on XHProf magic functions is available at .


sudo yum install redis

sudo service redis enable

sudo service redis start

sudo pecl install redis

To load the extension on PHP startup, add a line: "" to /etc/php.ini
Restart web services (service httpd restart).

Make sure you install Redis module version version 7.x-2.6! Versions later than that have a regression that cause it not to work with $conf['page_cache_without_database'] = TRUE .

drush dl redis-2.6
drush en redis

Enabling Redis caching

Edit /var/www/drupal-7.28/sites/default/settings.php and add the following at the bottom.

// Use Redis for all caching.
// Also use a Redis-backed lock backend.
// Skip the database for cache hits.
$conf['page_cache_invoke_hooks'] = FALSE;
$conf['page_cache_without_database'] = TRUE;


Disable Drupal's internal page cache when using varnish:

if (!class_exists('DrupalFakeCache')) {
 $conf['cache_backends'][] = 'includes/';
// Rely on the external cache for page caching.
$conf['cache_class_cache_page'] = 'DrupalFakeCache';

 Adobe EM with Varnish.pdf

Varnish with multiple backends

Defining multiple backends

First of all, you will need to define the different backends that Varnish will rely on. In the example above, we have 3 VMs with each a private IPv4 in the range.

At the beggining of your VCL, set your backends :

backend vm1 {
    .host = "";
    .port = "80";
    .connect_timeout = 6000s;
    .first_byte_timeout = 6000s;
    .between_bytes_timeout = 6000s;
backend vm2 {
    .host = "";
    .port = "80";
    .connect_timeout = 6000s;
    .first_byte_timeout = 6000s;
    .between_bytes_timeout = 6000s;

backend vm3 {
    .host = "";
    .port = "80";
    .connect_timeout = 6000s;
    .first_byte_timeout = 6000s;
    .between_bytes_timeout = 6000s;

Using the appropriate backend

To define which backend (local HTTP server) should be used by Varnish to respond HTTP requests, we will set a few custom rules in the vcl_recv section of our VCL config file :

# Default backend is set to VM1
set req.backend = vm1;
if ( == "") {
    set req.backend = vm2;
if ( == "") {
    set req.backend = vm3;

Now restart Varnish and try to connect to one of the 3 hostnames : you should be forwarded to the appropriate backend.

Varnish to cache content from several servers - 3.0.5

Varnish to cache content from several servers - 4.0.1

Varnish Architect Article

You're Doing It Wrong

Other notes

Dries Keynote

History of camera

Log stash - Howard @Tizzin

Agent – inputs, filters, outputs (like unix pipes on steroids)

It is Ruby (Java) so it takes a minute to start, and will take 10 MG to run, there is a version written in C that is called lumberjack or Log forwarder

Log files, Logstash Shipper, Redis Queue, Logstash indexer

 Logstash Inputs (search for in google)

Output to a Redis Queue

Take from Redis Queue and put into ElasticSearch


               Download and run, has good documentation

Kibana connects to elasticsearch BUT Graylog2 is better than Kibana

Monitoring, sensu way better than Nagios  See my post “Provisioning Sensu with Puppet”

Logstash includes support for grok

Logstalgia to show cool screen for monitoring


Mark Sonnabaum - Acquia

Steve Merrill - Phase2

David Strauss - Pantheon

Dan Reif - BlackMesh - Director of Emerging Technologies