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Re: UDP performance.

On Wed, 28 Feb 2007, Peter Losher wrote:

Ivan Voras wrote:

I agree in general, but MySQL performance is very exposed as an advocacy issue - it has traditionally been the source of statements like "FreeBSD's threading implementation is weak/bad/broken".

And these days ISC can't consciously recommend FreeBSD for use on high-traffic DNS servers because UDP performance has (frankly) gone downhill since 5.x.

We recently put a stock Fedora Core 6 and a stock FreeBSD 6.2 on the same HW (HP ProLiant DL320 G5 Dual Core Xeons w/ 16GB RAM) and running BIND 9.4.0 and a well known ccTLD zone that we slammed a query stream to. On a single threaded BIND, there was a 20% advantage to Linux, on a multi threaded build, Linux trounced FreeBSD (39k to 89k queries/sec)

There's also been other analysis done by Marcelo Amarai @ Registro.br that was posted to freebsd-net back last September.


I know there have been some discussion between some of the FreeBSD folks and my colleague Mark Andrews about improving BIND's performance on FreeBSD. Is there anything coming down the pipeline that will help stem this tide in 7.x?

Yes -- we have a specific optimization in 7.x to improve the performance of highly contended multi-threaded send on a single UNIX domain socket as a direct result of those conversations with ISC folk. It's in the MFC pipeline, but not something I felt comfortable merging for 6.2 without a bit more experience with it in the field. If you're interested in testing (and specifically, measuring) this patch in a high performance DNS test environment, that would be wonderful -- in the original e-mail thread I wa unable to successfully solicit testing of the patch. Likewise, when I requested access to test query streams from ISC, I was told those couldn't be shared. I've had a recent request for an MFC, and hope to have a chance to update and test the RELENG_6 sosend_dgram() patch in the next few days and will post it to this mailing list when it's ready. Unfortunately, this month is scary-travel-month so my oppoprtunities to do back-port testing myself in the next two weeks are limited.

What would be extremely helpful is to have someone willing to own the "BIND9 benchmarking" item as Kris has done for MySQL, who could provide regular support in testing updated FreeBSD versions and patches against a specific reproduceable workload, and participate in a continuing dialog on measuring and improving performance. It's those sorts of dialogs that are invaluable in improving performance, as frequently FreeBSD developers have limited access to real-world workloads other than the ones in their own environments, and have less familiarity with the application architecture. Kris's long-term work in measuring MySQL performance and working with developers to test and improve patches is why FreeBSD 7.x (with patches) now performs four times better than Linux under load.

The first step here would be to perform a performance baseline measurement with head-of-tree 7.x (debugging features in user-space and kernel disabled first, threading library switched to libthr) and compare it with 6.2-RELEASE. This would let us know if the current generation of optimization work is effective in improving BIND9 traffic with your configuration and workload. We can then apply a series of the current out-of-tree optimizing patches for threading and scheduling and see if those help.

(The above applies to any workload people are concerned about, BTW: what we need right now is people willing to take ownership of benchmarking and engage with developers in measuring change over time).

Robert N M Watson
Computer Laboratory
University of Cambridge
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