September 19–20, 2016: Training
September 20–22, 2016: Tutorials & Conference
New York, NY

Load balancing at SoundCloud: A practical history

Matthias Rampke (SoundCloud LTD.)
11:35am–12:15pm Thursday, 09/22/2016
Infrastructure reimagined Networking Gramercy Audience level: Intermediate
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 2 ratings)

Prerequisite knowledge

  • A rough understanding of TCP/IP networking
  • What you'll learn

  • Explore an example of a complete, inexpensive technology stack for load balancing in a bare metal environment
  • Learn the bounds of each technology, key metrics to monitor, and how to get them
  • Description

    As SoundCloud’s application and deployment architectures have evolved, so have the technologies it uses to get requests and connections to where they need to be. Today, they support 175 million monthly active listeners and hundreds of thousands of requests per second—and are still built on readily available, open source components.

    Matthias Rampke offers a brief history of SoundCloud’s internal and external load balancing and explains how SoundCloud mixes and matches open source technologies to cover all its load balancing needs without the need for expensive hardware. Matthias’s talk is not a comprehensive overview of all possible ways to do load balancing but rather focuses on what works for us and how the pieces complement and complete each other.

    Matthias explores in detail IPVS for layer 4 connection load balancing and HAProxy for layer 7 HTTP load balancing, with brief mentions of ECMP and SoundCloud’s service discovery mechanism. For each, Matthias explains which use cases they excel in, when and how they break down, and what to watch out for so they don’t catch you by surprise.

    Photo of Matthias Rampke

    Matthias Rampke

    SoundCloud LTD.

    Matthias Rampke is an engineer at SoundCloud working with internal IT. As part of the Systems and Production Engineering teams, he has been operating, debugging, and frequently restarting the glue that holds SoundCloud together since 2013.