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What are your favourite techniques to improve scalability of highly websites?

I have compiled the following list for techniques I've used using open-source tools:

  • 1.) Caching full-page reverse-proxy to avoid hitting appserver: Varnish
  • 2.) Distributed key-value-cache to avoid hitting DB: memcached
  • ... add to the list! ...

What are your favourite tools to achieve high scalability?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted
  1. Caching full-page and partial-page to avoid hitting the appserver: nginx
  2. Profiling, profiling, profiling. Whatever language you use to develop your app, profile the major requests to make sure you're being efficient. Tracking which requests take too much time will allow you to narrow down what to profile.
  3. Profile the database with real users' usage. Keep the DBA's doing their job after the users get their hands on it.
  4. Profile your HTML/CSS/JavaScript to ensure it is as small as possible, and that there are as few requests back to the server as possible: YSlow, Minify JavaScript
  5. If the websites are really that important, don't forget to be fault-tolerant. This often helps with speed, too.
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Opcode cache for PHP. APC can work wonders...


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a)MySQL proxy

b)FastCGI (You can run it with multiple backends and over TCP).

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I found quite a few useful scaling tricks in this presentation by Ask Björn Hansen (Develooper Inc):
"Real World Web: Performance & Scalability"

Great stuff!

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