Monday, July 20, 2009

Olio on 6-core Opterons (Istanbul) based Sun Systems

Sun is launching systems with multisocket  6-core Opterons (Istanbul) today. Last week I got access to  Sun Fire X4140 with 2 x 6-core Opterons with 36GB RAM. It is always great to see such a 1RU system packaged with so many x64 cores.

# psrinfo -vp

The physical processor has 6 virtual processors (0-5)

  x86 (chipid 0x0 AuthenticAMD family 16 model 8 step 0 clock 2600 MHz)

    Six-Core AMD Opteron(tm) Processor 8435

The physical processor has 6 virtual processors (6-11)

  x86 (chipid 0x1 AuthenticAMD family 16 model 8 step 0 clock 2600 MHz)

    Six-Core AMD Opteron(tm) Processor 8435

I decided to take the system for a test drive with Olio. Olio is a Web 2.0 toolkit consisting on a web 2.0 event calendar application  which can help stress a system. Depending on your favorite scripting language you can use either PHP, Ruby on Rails, Java as the language used to create the application. (I took the easy way out and selected Olio PHP's prebundled binary kit)

Please don't let the small 2MB kit size fool you thinking it will be a easy workload to test it out. While setting it up I figured that to generate the data population for say 5000 users you will need space with atleast 500GB disk space for the content that it generates for it. Yes I quickly had to figure out how to get a storage array for Olio with about 800GB LUN.

Olio requires a webserver, PHP (of course) and  a database for its metadata store (it has scripts for MySQL already in the kit). The system came preconfigured with Solaris 10 5/09. I downloaded MySQL 5.4.1 beta  and also the Sun WebStack kit which has Apache Httpd 2.2, PHP 5.2 (and also MySQL 5.1 which had not used since I had already downloaded MySQL 5.4 Beta). Memcached 1.2.5 is part of the WebStack download and Olio is configured to use it also by default (but can be disabled too).

Eventually everything was installed and configured in the same X4140 and using the Faban Harness on another system started executing some runs with file store and the meta store preconfigured to handle all the way up to 5000 concurrent users. The results are as follows:


Here are my observation/interpretations:

  • Eventually beyond 10 cores run I find that the system memory (36GB) is not enough to sustain more concurrent users to fully utilize the remaining cores. I would probably need RAM  in the range of 48GB or more to handle more users. (PHP is not completely thread-safe and hence the web server used here spawns processes)
  • This 1RU system can handle more than 3200 users  (with everything on the same system) with CPU cycles to spare is pretty impressive. It means you still have enough CPU to log into the system without seeing degraded performance.
  • Actually you can see here that SMP (or should be called  SMC - Scalable Multi Cores) type system helps when the initial cores are added  instead of using multiple single core systems (ala in Cloud).

 In an upcoming blog entries I will talk more about the individual components used.

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