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Paid user "express lane" [Jul. 8th, 2004|03:22 pm]
Paid Members

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[bradfitz]
New paid user feature!

If you're logged in as a paid user, you "cut in line" of other web requests that we've received but not yet generated a response for.

So our load balancer retrieves all incoming web requests immediately after your browser sends them, then sorts those requests into two lines: free users and paid users.

Whenever a real server (not the load balancer) is ready to do more work, it always fulfills a request from the paid user line, and only does free user requests once no paid users are waiting.

We've had this done for a couple weeks, but just put it live today. We were going to wait to announce it until we had the cool part done, but thought it best you all know what's up. The cool part is: we're going to make the load balancer tell the real servers how many seconds/milliseconds you saved by cutting in line and how many people you cut in front of, and then the real servers will add that to the response, so you can do "View Source" in your browser and at the top it'll show you those stats, so you can verify it's working.

This is all different from what we did a few years ago, which was to have "free servers" and "paid servers". Instead all the servers do both free and paid, but access to the servers is prioritized by your account type.

Here are some stats of it in action:
queues
web_proxy-normal.age 0
web_proxy-normal.count 3
web_proxy-highpri.age 0
web_proxy-highpri.count 0
.
queues
web_proxy-normal.age 0
web_proxy-normal.count 0
web_proxy-highpri.age 0
web_proxy-highpri.count 0
.
queues
web_proxy-normal.age 0
web_proxy-normal.count 4
web_proxy-highpri.age 0
web_proxy-highpri.count 0
.
queues
web_proxy-normal.age 1
web_proxy-normal.count 4
web_proxy-highpri.age 0
web_proxy-highpri.count 0
.
queues
web_proxy-normal.age 0
web_proxy-normal.count 3
web_proxy-highpri.age 0
web_proxy-highpri.count 0
.
queues
web_proxy-normal.age 0
web_proxy-normal.count 5
web_proxy-highpri.age 0
web_proxy-highpri.count 0
.


At the top it showed there were 3 free users (waiting for less than a second --- age 0) waiting to get responses, and 0 paid users. Then it was all clear, then 4 new free users were waiting, then waiting up to a second, then those cleared, and 3 new free users were waiting under a second. Then 5 later, still under a second.

But throughout, no paid users were ever waiting.

Obviously the above isn't an interesting demo of this feature, but next time we hit a hiccup and the site gets slow, the paid users will be affected the least, since you won't have to wait in line long for a page to be generated. (just have to wait for paid users that came before you)
LinkReply

Comments:
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[User Picture]From: chrissmari
2004-07-08 03:40 pm (UTC)
user end wise there is little difference between this and the paid server

way to go
i guess..
(Reply) (Thread)
From: ex_notyourse414
2004-07-08 04:51 pm (UTC)
when everything is going good the difference should be minimal.

it's when the site is really busy or having problems that the difference will be the greatest.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: jenny_zzz
2004-07-08 03:41 pm (UTC)
Very very cool. Thank you. :)
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[User Picture]From: _peter_parker_
2004-07-08 03:42 pm (UTC)
I have no idea what's going on.....
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: none_too_subtle
2004-07-08 04:17 pm (UTC)

Hahahah

No joke...because my page is SLOW AS EVERRRRRRRRR. *screams*
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_richard
2004-07-08 03:42 pm (UTC)
OMG I love you, bradfitz!!!! :D
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: harrywells
2004-07-08 04:52 pm (UTC)
Don't forget the other people at LJ. Brad isn't running it on his own...
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: binks
2004-07-08 03:42 pm (UTC)
Very groovy. <3
(Reply) (Thread)
From: zaceman
2004-07-08 03:43 pm (UTC)
ooo neat
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: sleepingchild
2004-07-08 03:50 pm (UTC)
your icon is strangely hypnotic
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[User Picture]From: genmaicha
2004-07-08 03:43 pm (UTC)
Sounds spiffy. :) All the account perks like more icons and journal customization are easily forgotten when a paid user can't access the site... So this prioritizing seems like it'll have a good chance of cutting down on the bellyaching when that happens, with paid users knowing they're the priority. (That is, if I'm understanding this right.)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: luinied
2004-07-08 03:44 pm (UTC)
Maybe this has been discussed in the dev communities, but is there anything in place to prevent starvation for free users? Other than just, say, the observation that with current usage patterns it probably won't happen unless there are huge slowdowns hurting everything on the site.
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From: theslut
2004-07-08 03:46 pm (UTC)
yeah.. buy a fucking account :D :D
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[User Picture]From: henningz
2004-07-08 03:45 pm (UTC)

that's it. when i started my journal three years ago i've had no idea on how this thing works. the free/paid server thingie was the reason for buying my first paid time for i was on a dial up connection then. i'm on ADSL now, but this new feature is so nifty that it will bring back a real paid account advantage. thumbs up!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: punkdiana
2004-07-08 03:46 pm (UTC)
ok, maybe i am an idiot (i also haven't figured out how to use any of my paid account features)

but what web requests? i basically don't know what this is talking about
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: alien88
2004-07-08 03:52 pm (UTC)
Any time you go to a web page, say, http://www.livejournal.com/users/punkdiana/friends - that is a "request" for that page.

Basically, what they put in place makes it so the paid users requests are served before free users.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: daxterdd
2004-07-08 03:47 pm (UTC)

Yay!

I knew there were benefits to a paid account aside from just getting more user pics.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: sleepingchild
2004-07-08 03:49 pm (UTC)
Awesome, thank you! ♥
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: chris_1981
2004-07-08 03:49 pm (UTC)
Nice job. :D
(Reply) (Thread)
(Deleted comment)
From: theslut
2004-07-08 03:53 pm (UTC)

OMG U NEED A NEW ICON

5 YEARS OF THIS ONE IS OLD KTHNX
U R TEH SESSAY
welovebrad!
(Reply) (Thread)
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