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Acquia Hosting Customer Hits 5,000 requests/second! (or Why I Love Load Testing...)

Who says Drupal doesn't scale? Certainly not Acquia!

A large global PR firm recently measured their Acquia-hosted web site performance to over 3 million page views per hour (or 830 pages per second). When including all content, that's 5,000 requests per second. Wow!

Drupal gave them the flexibility to quickly respond to events. Of course, the bottom line is customer success and they reported that it was one of their "best web launches... ever".

Following industry best practices, they performed load testing multiple times during the development process. Unfortunately, their load tests revealed severe scalability problems at their initial hosting vendor, a major managed services provider.

To fix their hosting challenges, they switched to Acquia Hosting because of our Drupal expertise, scalable hosting architecture, and one-stop support. At Acquia, we easily scaled past the limits of their previous provider and, in fact, scaled beyond the limits of their 5,000 concurrent user benchmark. Acquia uses a Drupal-tuned, high-availability hosting architecture built on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). For more detail, see our hosting webinar as well as Barry Jaspan's excellent hosting architecture presentation from DrupalCon 2010.

Load testing is critical to the success of any major web site. It saved the agency and their client from launching a slow or unresponsive site. To help insure your own site's success, incorporate realistic load testing during your development process. At Acquia, we've used standalone load generators like J-Meter and Siege along with the popular online service, Soasta Cloud Test.

Our customer's performance results speak for themselves:

  • 5,000 concurrent users
  • Over 3M page views per hour including a mix of GET and POST requests
  • 830+ page views per second
  • 5,000 HTTP requests per second (including images, etc.)
  • 320Mbits/sec of peak traffic

And it's important to note that the load test infrastructure itself was the limiting factor and not Acquia Hosting.

I love seeing these awesome performance numbers attained by real customers on production web sites. I encourage all Drupal site admins to save yourself headaches and make load testing a part of your development process.


Posted on by droplet (not verified).

above info are not so clearly. users are login or not ?? also what Instance Types, how many instance. hit 5000 or even more is not amazing if they using large resources

Posted on by jim.salem.

Traffic was mostly (though not entirely) anonymous GETs, which made it easier to cache. However, it's not just a matter of throwing hardware at the problem -- apparently their previous ISP had also committed significant hardware.

My main takeaway is that it's important to integrate load testing into your development process. Our "global PR firm" customer followed best practices here and it paid off for them.

Posted on by dewolfe001 (not verified).

What were the best practices in play?
How many modules?
Are they using CCK?
Were they using Drupal 6?
What level of hosting do they have?

All the best,


Posted on by jim.salem.

The best practice I was referring to was load testing before going live. That's always recommended for a critical site of any scale.

They have 16 modules installed on their site (including CCK). They're running Drupal 6 with Pressflow. For most high-volume D5 and D6 sites, I HIGHLY recommend Pressflow. I suspect D7 will perform significantly better out-of-the-box for high-volume sites than D5 and D6 but I haven't yet done systematic testing of this.

At the moment, Acquia Hosting provides just a single level of high-availability hosting services. Of course, the cost varies depending on the volume of traffic, the hardware required and the site complexity.

Posted on by haruharu (not verified).

whoa!! that is so great!! ))