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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: valpussycat
2004-07-08 03:54 pm (UTC)
wow that's awesome. thanks! :)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: qfemale
2004-07-08 03:56 pm (UTC)

Re:

this is why I am gonna pay for another 12 month once my account is due...
ah pure love to my LJ gods!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: skaffa
2004-07-08 03:58 pm (UTC)
thank you for all the awesome work.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: netgoth
2004-07-08 04:00 pm (UTC)
Fantastic! I'm absolutely thrilled that you put this into effect. (speaking as a long-time paid user) Hopefully this will generate more money for more upgrades, and to make this all worth your time.

Thanks again. Love the service. Keep up the great work!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: stealingbabies
2004-07-08 04:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you. ^.^
(Reply) (Thread)
From: angelwithasword
2004-07-08 04:07 pm (UTC)
You know, it's just awesome that you guys do stuff like this to "take care" of the paid members. Thank you. You never cease to make me glad that I support this site.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: mellybrelly
2004-07-08 04:07 pm (UTC)
If I understood a word of that I'm sure I'd be pleased. :)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: mellybrelly
2004-07-08 04:11 pm (UTC)
should have read through the comments first.. I understand now.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: dawn_came_dim
2004-07-08 04:08 pm (UTC)
Once again, thank you for these little gold nuggets. I love to see how engaged the LJ team is in their product!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: us_kids_know
2004-07-08 04:08 pm (UTC)
Hahaha ace, i buy for quicker access. Sweet as pie.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: roxainaboxa
2004-07-08 04:10 pm (UTC)
Awesome! Thanks a bunch :)
(Reply) (Thread)
From: bearik
2004-07-08 04:11 pm (UTC)

visitor traffic to paid journals?

what about visitor traffic to paid journals? can these be prioritized too?
(Reply) (Thread)
From: ex_notyourse414
2004-07-08 04:54 pm (UTC)

Re: visitor traffic to paid journals?

I doubt it because the old fast servers setup didn't work like that. Free users always went through slow servers, paid went through fast servers - regardless of who/what they were viewing.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
[User Picture]From: supersat
2004-07-08 04:20 pm (UTC)
So, uh, what happens if the paid user queue is never completely empty, or if it's not empty most of the time? Do you plan on adding capacity before that happens?

Also, how is the paid status determined? The old fastserver cookie? It'd be nice if bots could explicitly turn off the priority boost.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: subbes
2004-07-08 04:36 pm (UTC)
I think this is what the commenter here meant by "starvation"?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: 1_broken_toy
2004-07-08 04:31 pm (UTC)

ITS ABOUT TIME!

Finally, now I'm glad to be a paid member. This is a million times better, IMO, than phone posts.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: cookatwork
2004-07-08 04:32 pm (UTC)

Wurd' auch Zeit ...

... although I would have paid for a journal anyway. Aber jetzt weiß ich wenigstens, daß es sich auch in Zukunft lohnen wird.

I don't know anything about computers or the handling thereof, but it looks like a nice ( and tedious ) work to make such things happen.

Thanks a lot for keeping up with it.

Haltet die Ohren steif und macht weiter so. Bitte.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: iliadawry
2004-07-08 04:33 pm (UTC)
EEEEEEEEEEE awesome!
(Reply) (Thread)
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