Saturday, July 9, 2016

A hat beside the “PHP7 vs HHVM” ring

I spent all my free time, all week, exploring the difference in performance between PHP 5.6.22, PHP 7.0.8, and HHVM 3.14.1.  (HHVM 3.14.2 came out later in the week, but I didn’t want to redo everything.)

In the end, it turned out kind of useless as a “real world” test.  The server doesn’t have L3 cache, and the client is a virtual machine.  I also didn’t run a large number of trials, nor tune the server stacks for optimum performance. In fact, the tunings I tried had no effect, at best.

tl;dr conclusions:

  • HHVM proxygen is almost completely amazing.  If you have the option, it is probably what you want. It just crashes hard when concurrency exceeds its open file limit.
  • nginx+FastCGI hits a resource limit somewhere, and starts failing requests at higher concurrency, like 160.
  • apache+FastCGI does the same… but the limit is higher, between 256 and 384. The price for this is that it’s only 86% as many requests per second.
  • Providing more FastCGI workers makes the errors hit sooner, but ramp up more slowly.
  • I’m really disappointed in nginx.  I expected more.  A lot more.

Saturday, July 2, 2016


Three years ago, I was porting a Perl CGI-based system to FastCGI, one URL at a time, using mod_rewrite to do the dispatching.  (If the exists where the FCGI dispatcher will look for it, invoke this request via FastCGI.)  A consequence of this is that the core library code needs to run on both paradigms, since both front-ends use it.  That runs straight into problems when the CGI access checking functions blithely print and call exit when the access is denied.

Instead of updating 60+ scripts to read e.g. $session = get_session() or Site::CGI->go_login; I decided to get hackier.