Notable Thoughts: Optimizing Your Web Application


Faster Web Pages Makes Users Happy
Steve Souders, the creator of YSlow and the author of the book High Performance Web Sites, is one of the most respected experts on website performance in the world. We here at Pingdom are big fans of his work, and decided to probe his mind about the excellent YSlow Firefox add-on for evaluating website performance (which he created while working at Yahoo), his work at Google, and his thoughts around the ever-important issues of website performance and optimization.

The need for speed: Making Basecamp faster
Analysis: We relied heavily on New Relic’s outstanding RPM performance management suite to give us insight about the parts of Basecamp that were accessed the most as well as those that were most in need of improvement.

Caching: We’ve begun using Memcached in a variety of spots. Caching can be tricky with dynamic apps like Basecamp since different people often see different things, but we’ve implemented it carefully where it could be used to its best advantage.

MySQL optimizations: We’ve been working with a MySQL performance consultant to help us optimize our database calls and queries. We’re still early in the process but we’ve learned a lot so far.

Hardware upgrades: We recently made some significant upgrades to our database servers. We went from servers with 2 x Dual Core 2GHz processors, 32GB of RAM, and 6×73GB 15,000 RPM SAS drives to servers with 2 x Quad Core 3GHz processors, 128GB of RAM, and 8×73GB 15,000 RPM SAS drives. We’ve also upgraded our load balancers and have new switches coming soon as well.


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