Server performance has been given a boost thanks to the munificence and investment of our cloud host Linode. They’ve installed SSD storage in our London datacentre, which has resulted in a two to three times speed boost.
SSD (Solid State Drive) storage is faster than standard disk drives because data isn’t stored on physical spinning disks, but purely electronically. On a traditional disk, accessing data stored across different parts of the drive is pretty slow because the disk head has to physically move, as well as wait for the right part of the disk to rotate around. SSD doesn’t have that problem, access is immediate.
Our database server has now been tuned and optimised to take advantage of this, allowing major speedups when databases are large.
As a bonus, our memory has also been doubled, allowing for more complex queries and larger amounts of data to be processed more quickly.
We do keep a close eye on server performance and get alerted if any particular customer is experiencing slow queries, so we can take corrective action, which could be for example adding an index or increasing memory allocation. We like to keep our server capacity over-specified so there’s plenty of room to absorb spikes in usage, but if you do notice any slowdown please let us know.
If you’re interested in some stats, over the past six months:
- 98% of database queries have executed in an average of just 2ms, that’s 0.002 seconds
- 1% have executed at an average of 0.04 seconds
- 1% have executed at an average of 0.1 seconds
- just 57 out of ten million queries have taken over a second, with the longest 9 seconds
It’s those 57 queries and their ilk that we’d take a close look at. Typically they’d be using complex calculations and/or large amounts of data, maybe tens of millions of rows. There are various ways that they can be speeded up.
So the bottom line is that the vast majority of customers shouldn’t notice any difference at all. The major advantage of course is that as customer numbers increase along with the quantity and complexity of data, we can continue to ensure everyone’s served well.