Performance Blog

Introducing Olio

Posted on: November 12, 2008

For the last few months, I’ve been working feverishly to get the web2.0kit open-sourced. What is the web2.0kit, you ask ? We introduced this at our session at the Velocity conference. The web2.0kit is a reference architecture to help anyone running a web application evaluate the suitability, functionality and performance of various web technologies.

Most web2.0 sites today use open source languages and frameworks such as PHP, Ruby on Rails and Java EE to develop their applications. Deployments of these applications also use popular open source servers such as Apache httpd, MySQL, memcached and glassfish. Many other servers/technologies such as lighttpd, nginx, mogileFS, mongrel, thin, JRuby are also gaining popularity. To help understand the differences in these various web technology stacks and infrastructure applications, we developed the web2.0kit which has now been open-sourced and is an Apache Incubator project called Olio .

I view Olio as a tool to aid developers, deployers as well as performance engineers. For developers, Olio provides 3 different implementations of the exact same application using three different languages and their associated frameworks – PHP, Java EE and Rails. (At this time, the Java EE version is still not in the Olio repository but will soon be). Developers can browse the source code and understand how to design and code a complex web2.0 application. Even experienced PHP developers may gain by looking at the Olio PHP application as we’ve tried to design the application using object-oriented principles and well-known design patterns – typically not seen much in the PHP world ! In fact, a couple of fairly large companies in China are already using Olio as a training tool for their new hires/interns. If you’ve been considering rails but have been hesitant, here’s your chance to check out a full-blown app and see what it will take to develop yours.

Developers can also experiment with different pieces of technology by modifying Olio. For example, Olio/PHP provides both ODBC and PDO interfaces to access the database. You can easily add a mysqli one if you want to test that. Similarly, you can test the various methods of caching that is possible in a rails application.

When it comes to deployment, there are a myriad hardware and software solutions to choose from. Should you choose apache or lighttpd ? And what about nginx ? You can use Olio to performance test various solutions and determine for yourself how these servers will behave in your installation; for unlike most test results you see out there where someone runs a toy test comparing apache and lighttpd using http_load or worse ab (see my blog post on the problems with these tools), Olio lets you test a real web2.0 like site with features that are common today including ajax, tags, comments, mashups etc.

We, in the Performance and Applications Engineering (PAE) group at Sun have decades of experience developing and tuning workloads. We have brought that experience to bear in developing Olio and we hope that you can benefit from it too.

Please see the instructions on the Olio website for downloading source code. To make it easier for users to get started, we have made available pre-built binary packages from the Sun Download Center.

Please join the Olio user list to get help with setting up Olio or to make any suggestions.


1 Response to "Introducing Olio"

Olio sounds like an interesting new piece of web2.0 software. I’ll probably go with the Apache version.

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