Wednesday, April 26, 2017

System Design - Asynchronism


https://github.com/donnemartin/system-design-primer
Asynchronous workflows help reduce request times for expensive operations that would otherwise be performed in-line. They can also help by doing time-consuming work in advance, such as periodic aggregation of data.

Message queues

Message queues receive, hold, and deliver messages. If an operation is too slow to perform inline, you can use a message queue with the following workflow:
  • An application publishes a job to the queue, then notifies the user of job status
  • A worker picks up the job from the queue, processes it, then signals the job is complete
The user is not blocked and the job is processed in the background. During this time, the client might optionally do a small amount of processing to make it seem like the task has completed. For example, if posting a tweet, the tweet could be instantly posted to your timeline, but it could take some time before your tweet is actually delivered to all of your followers.
Redis is useful as a simple message broker but messages can be lost.
RabbitMQ is popular but requires you to adapt to the 'AMQP' protocol and manage your own nodes.


Amazon SQS, is hosted but can have high latency and has the possibility of messages being delivered twice.

Task queues

Tasks queues receive tasks and their related data, runs them, then delivers their results. They can support scheduling and can be used to run computationally-intensive jobs in the background.
Celery has support for scheduling and primarily has python support.

Back pressure

If queues start to grow significantly, the queue size can become larger than memory, resulting in cache misses, disk reads, and even slower performance. Back pressure can help by limiting the queue size, thereby maintaining a high throughput rate and good response times for jobs already in the queue. Once the queue fills up, clients get a server busy or HTTP 503 status code to try again later. Clients can retry the request at a later time, perhaps with exponential backoff.

Disadvantage(s): asynchronism

  • Use cases such as inexpensive calculations and realtime workflows might be better suited for synchronous operations, as introducing queues can add delays and complexity.
  • It's all a numbers game
https://mechanical-sympathy.blogspot.com/2012/05/apply-back-pressure-when-overloaded.html
How should a system respond when under sustained load?  Should it keep accepting requests until its response times follow the deadly hockey stick, followed by a crash?  All too often this is what happens unless a system is designed to cope with the case of more requests arriving than it is capable of processing.  If we are seeing a sustained arrival rate of requests, greater than our system is capable of processing, then something has to give.  Having the entire system degrade is not the ideal service we want to give our customers.  A better approach would be to process transactions at our systems maximum possible throughput rate, while maintaining a good response time, and rejecting requests above this arrival rate.

Within our systems the available capacity is generally a function of the size of our thread pools and time to process individual transactions.  These thread pools are usually fronted by queues to handle bursts of traffic above our maximum arrival rate.  If the queues are unbounded, and we have a sustained arrival rate above the maximum capacity, then the queues will grow unchecked.  As the queues grow they increasingly add latency beyond acceptable response times, and eventually they will consume all memory causing our systems to fail.  Would it not be better to send the overflow of requests to the café while still serving everyone else at the maximum possible rate?  We can do this by designing our systems to apply “Back Pressure”. 

What About Synchronous Designs?

You may say that with synchronous designs there are no queues.  Well not such obvious ones.  If you have a thread pool then it will have a lock, or semaphore, wait queues to assign threads.  If you are crazy enough to allocate a new thread on every request, then once you are over the huge cost of thread creation, your thread is in the run queue for a processor to execute.  Also, these queues involve context switches and condition variables which greatly increase the costs.  You just cannot run away from queues, they are everywhere!  Best to embrace them and design for the quality-of-service your system needs to deliver to its customers.  If we must have queues, then design for them, and maybe choose some nice lock-free ones with great performance.

When we need to support synchronous protocols like REST then use back pressure, signalled by our full incoming queue at the gateway, to send a meaningful “server busy” message such as the HTTP 503 status code
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little%27s_law
利特尔法则英语:Little's law),基于等候理论,由约翰·利特尔在1954年提出。利特尔法则可用于一个稳定的、非占先式的系统中。其内容为:
在一个稳定的系统 L中,长期的平均顾客人数,等于长期的有效抵达率,λ,乘以顾客在这个系统中平均的等待时间,W;或者,我们可以用一个代数式来表达:L = λW。
利特尔法则可用来确定在途存货的数量。此法则认为,系统中的平均存货等于存货单位离开系统的比率(亦即平均需求率)与存货单位在系统中平均时间的乘积。


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