Varnish - A State of the Art High-Performance Reverse Proxy

Artur Bergman (Wikia/Fastly)
Administration, Programming
Location: Meeting Room B1/B4
Average rating: ***..
(3.60, 5 ratings)

Varnish is a application level reverse proxy for HTTP. Written with performance in mind it incorporates some advanced features to stretch the kernel as far as possible. Wikia relies heavily on varnish to serve a peak traffic of close to a gigabit/sec out of 3 different datacenters. Each one with two Varnishes working as a pair serving thousands of requests a second.

It’s innovative feature includes:

  • VCL — a domain specific language for configuration that gets compiled to native code
  • mmap log file — logs all headers with no performance penalty
  • mmap or malloc storage — lets the kernel deal with disk/memory allocation
  • hybrid thread/event model

This session will include:

  • Startup options for high performance (based on Wikia)
  • Configuration of storage system
  • Example of Wikias experience (including SSD based storage)
  • VCL cookie handling
  • Advanced VCL with embedded C code
  • Monitoring tools
Photo of Artur Bergman

Artur Bergman


Artur Bergman, hacker and technologist at-large, is the VP of Engineering and Operations at Wikia. He provides the technical backbone necessary for Wikia’s mission to compile and index the world’s knowledge. He is also an enthusiastic apologist for federated identity and a board member of the OpenID Foundation. In past lives, he’s built high volume financial trading systems, re-implemented Perl 5’s threading system, wrote djabberd, managed LiveJournal’s engineering team, and served as operations architect at Six Apart. His current interests extend to encompass semantic search, large scale infrastructure, open source development, federated instant messaging, neurotransmitters, and the future of cyborgs.

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Picture of Shirley Bailes
Shirley Bailes
09/03/2009 3:13pm PDT

@bryan, we do not have any audio recorded for this presentation.

bryan migliorisi
09/03/2009 3:10pm PDT

These slides are awesome! Please tell me where I can find the audio of this presentation…

Picture of Artur Bergman
Artur Bergman
07/23/2009 2:53pm PDT
Jared Meeker
07/23/2009 12:18pm PDT

This looks promising, but daunting as well. Thanks for the overview. I particularly liked how detailed reasons were given for specific configuration parameters.

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