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Feature Idea: Emergency Mode

posted by acs on 12:56 AM September 12th, 2001   Printer-friendly   Email story
datavortex writes "The news incidents today that brought down all the major sites, and put plenty of strain on the 'ole News for Nerds, gave me an idea: Emergency mode for Slash. Not sure if this has been knocked around before, but how about a simple admin command to strip the site down to a features-only state, perhaps even just a static HTML page, generated whenever an admin makes a change?"
Update: Krow Slashdot did 70 pages/second yesterday which is a new record for us. The new code held up like a champ (and as of today I have a few adjustments to make it run even better). Seeing how most of the other major news outlets crashed I am pretty happy with how we did. Our one problem (which has been biting us for weeks) was we needed a fix in MySQL that the MySQL folks found and solved for us. We are on .42 at the moment and it seems to work quite well. BTW acs is one of the folks who do Barrapunto. He has been added to the sites authors list so it won't be just my name on the majority of stories now :)
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  • I believe that in latest Slash releases, the .shtml (static) files that were created for each story by slashd just went away - I believe they are created only when the article goes into archive.

    While I didn't like them a lot, since you lose all custom personalizations, they definitevely helped in these occasions where the dynamic site cannot sustain the load.

    You just need a couple of switches in Apache configuration (mod_rewrite is your friend) to redirect to the appropriate .shtml file in any case, and have caches help you.

    I don't remember any discussion about this thing, though. Which were exactly the reasons to keep off this feature?

    Check out the Slash in Italian Project []

  • This is to the best of my limited knowledge about fry/2.2:

    Slash2.0 did away with article archiving.

    Slash2.2 brings article archiving to .shtml's back again.

    If you notice, when slashdot has problems, their site goes into an 'emergency' mode. But I think they do it via their load balancer, not apache/mod_perl/perl.

    It would be nice to see an emergency or overload mode built into slash. Maybe it could:

    1. set block_cache to something way high
    2. disable all .pl's
    3. redirect all requests to
    lottadot []
  • I think that acs has something here. The emergency mode could have different levels of emergency readiness to handle different levels of net congestion.

    This is would require an analysis of the resources each feature takes up (or each group of features). With that information and a discussion on what we should slim back, we could determine how many levels and to what extent we may restrict services.

    Do you Nullset?
  • I am very happy that acs has been added to the list of authors, I've always loved the work of Barrapunto guys! And this will give us Europeans some fresh news in the morning... :-)

    Check out the Slash in Italian Project []

  • Thanks for your words :-)

    I will try to help krow here.

  • CTDATA (my company) has always run a version of Slash that is pre-1.0. This is because of the fact that we ported the code to a non-Apache environment, and we have never had the time or resources to upgrade to the main distribution (either Bender or Fry).

    However, we have studied the differences between our code and the newer versions, and one of the major problems with the newer versions of Slashcode is the lack of static rendered pages on Slash-based Web Sites. I see no reason why static-rendered pages cannot co-exist with dynamically generated pages. The static pages could be served to non-registered users or users with low karma at all times. This would allow us to solve three obvious problems:

    1. performance would remain high when a site was subject to "the Slashdot effect",
    2. email addresses could be embedded in dynamic pages only, providing ways to contact site users and authors that would only be available to active users,
    3. static pages would be better targets for search engine robots from people like Google.
    Our Slash 0.3/0.4-based sites have really good ranking on searches through Google, and we attribute most of this success to static-rendered story pages.


    Dave Aiello
    Chatham Township Data Corporation []

  • Well, in 2.2 they have returned. Plus if you change you style you can now run an app and rewrite all of the files back out to disk (AKA freshening them).

    You can't grep a dead tree.
  • I'm sorry I didn't realize this. I am just beginning the process of a test install of 2.x, in the hope that we can upgrade our servers in the next couple of weeks.


    Dave Aiello
    Chatham Township Data Corporation []