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Paid user "express lane" [Jul. 8th, 2004|03:22 pm]
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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:
[User Picture]From: cynica
2004-07-08 03:35 pm (UTC)
Well, my question is less about the speed and more about a specific glitch on the server I'm on (according to support). The speed on the site has (mostly) been fine with me. There was one day when I was frustrated, but 1/365 is pretty damn good service for $25/year.

Regardless... my problem is (again, according to support) that the server I'm on has a "glitch" in that the times that the comments are posted on my journal (and keep in mind I'm not using the journal style -- I'm using the regular old LJ comments page) are ALL always in GMT time. I hate this, and I almost wish I could go to the free servers just so I can have my comments be in PDT time again. (almost, not totally).

So, anyway, when I saw you post about the difference in servers, I took the opportunity to ask. I don't want to have to delete my journal, but I hate that I never know when a comment was posted in my journal without me having to break out the calculator. That's exaggeration, yes, but having been a paid member/early adopter for over 4 years, it seems like that's a simple request to fulfill.

Anyway... related only vaguely to your post, but I took the opportunity.
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From: subbes
2004-07-08 03:45 pm (UTC)
Jesus, I just noticed that's the case with some comments on my LJ. Probably not the same problem, mind you.

(Careful about reporting a problem, else everyone will want it)
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[User Picture]From: cynica
2004-07-08 03:48 pm (UTC)
Hehe.. Well, I'd like it fixed is all. I have free accounts that I don't use that are normal, but they're also all NOT paid for. Seems like having the right times on comments shouldn't be something taken away from me once I pay for an account. ;)

Do you mind if I ask -- what server are you on?

http://www.livejournal.com/misc/whereami.bml

I'm personally on Madcow, subcluster 1. It'd be interesting to know if you're on the same one.
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[User Picture]From: bradfitz
2004-07-08 04:11 pm (UTC)
The comment times won't be fixed for a while.

Currently they're PST or GMT, depending on cluster, and those time zones are wrong for most people. Eventually they'll all move to GMT, which is still wrong for most the world, but we'll add timezone support. But that's a ways off.
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[User Picture]From: cynica
2004-07-08 04:50 pm (UTC)
Geez, I wish there were an explanation as clear as that on the FAQ. I'd have been clear from the get-go.

Thanks for such a clear, informative answer. I look forward to the timezone support.
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[User Picture]From: ghostflight
2004-08-02 02:28 pm (UTC)
Cheers that answers a question I had and I guess, also means I guess I don't have to ask for it to be added to the wish list of updates - ie can posts have both GMT and the local time (if the user selected a location in their userinfo) on them.
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[User Picture]From: museumfreak
2004-08-05 03:14 pm (UTC)
same problem for me. I'm on Inactive. I'm also a paid user and have been active for a year.
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[User Picture]From: ah42
2004-07-08 04:15 pm (UTC)
A glitch? I would think GMT is preferable to PST! I often wish all the timestamps were GMT/UTC instead of PST/PDT. GMT is the timezone all others are referenced against.

There should be a "display timestamps in your timezone" option in the user prefs, and all timestamps otherwise should be in GMT.

Unless you happen to live in PST/PDT, in which case you don't really care, do you? :P

I can never remember when things are PST and when they're GMT on livejournal, and often just pull my hair out and go crazy.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: cynica
2004-07-08 05:02 pm (UTC)
I've heard that GMT "should" be preferable, but it's not my timezone, and I sometimes (mostly) don't feel like subtracting 7 hours from military time every time I get a comment.

Brad said that they're going to do timezone support eventually! Hooray.

I do, actually, happen to live in PDT half the year, and MST the other half (I live in Arizona and we don't change our clocks like most of America), so the PDT is helpful. I'd rather add 1 hour than subtract 7. It's lazy, yes, but I pay to be lazy. ;)

But I agree that the majority of LJ users are not in either of these two timezones, so I can understand that GMT would be more desirable. I just have it easy as I'm one timezone away from the servers during the fall/winter, and in the same timezone as the servers during the spring/summer.
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[User Picture]From: finding_helena
2004-07-09 09:40 am (UTC)
Really? I live in Indiana, and we do not change our clocks either, so we are in EST half the year and CDT the other half. I didn't know there were other states that did that--that's kinda cool.
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[User Picture]From: uozaki
2004-07-08 10:11 pm (UTC)
I wonder how hard it would be to add the GMT or PT to the time listing. That'd make it easier... I'm in PDT anyway, so it doesn't bother me right now, but I've noticed some comments timestamped differently in various journals, it'd be nice to at least know which zone it is, until we can set our own display.
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[User Picture]From: kbfx
2004-07-19 03:10 am (UTC)
There's one LJ I read and the stamps are way way off from PDT. That would be why I guess.
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From: gumbyavatar
2004-09-01 02:46 pm (UTC)
if you pull your hair out and go crazy, please take pictures or video and post a link! I've often heard of that and wanted to see it.
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[User Picture]From: ah42
2004-09-01 03:51 pm (UTC)
Oh, damn. My hair's already grown back.
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[User Picture]From: nightsinger
2004-09-09 11:35 am (UTC)
Unless you happen to live in PST/PDT, in which case you don't really care, do you? :P

Too right. Given that I'm in PST/PDT 100% of the year, heh, I never knew it DIDN'T match everyone's own timezone. *cough* Woo, west coast solidarity! heh, a form of ethnocentrism, mayhap?
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