[FoRK] overhead of RESTful stuff

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Fri Mar 9 01:30:15 PST 2012

On Thu, Mar 08, 2012 at 03:53:19PM -0800, J. Andrew Rogers wrote:

> > First Java, how much overhead relative to C/C++ are we looking
> > at? I estimate a factor of 5-10 in terms of hardware budget
> > (more fat nodes, or many more the leaner nodes we're currently
> > using). Is this about right or too pessimistic?
> It depends on whether or not you write the Java like C/C++. If you write Java using conventional Java practices, this is about right. If you do awkward things with Java the performance difference can be significantly smaller.

I would expect conventional Java practices, exacerbated by general
lack of clue. 
> > I estimate that a lean box will crap out at about ~kHz of RESTful
> > calls, especially if it's all a big wad of Java oozing behind the
> > NIC. Is that about right? Linux/Windows differ much here?
> Yep, this is about right in my experience, maybe somewhat better on the call rate. I don't know about Linux versus Windows but I doubt it makes a huge difference.

> > In terms of networking, is GBit Ethernet going to become a
> > bottleneck for building applications from REST interfaces?
> Not likely. You will run into other bottleneck's first if you are using REST interfaces. If efficiency, scaling, and performance is your primary concern, REST is not what you are looking for most days. The exception might be if you are moving large amounts of data bidirectionally for each operation, in which case you will be bandwidth limited.

The only thing I can think of it MPI in a cluster, which is prohibitive by
lack of knowledge, and use of standard web service (roll your own 
XML over sockets -- really badly done to boot).
> > Are any of you using REST on InfiniBand or is the idea insane
> > in general, given the (probably awful) overhead?
> Insane. REST is terrible for high-performance network communication. Using Infiniband for REST would be like putting a Ferrari engine in a Trabant. 

I think we're slightly screwed. The (larges chemical information nonprofit with three letters)
apparently internally normalized on SOA with REST and mostly Java, so we have to conform
to that in our deliverables. Now I have to figure out how to make this suck the least in terms of infrastructure.
> --
> J. Andrew Rogers
> Twitter: @jandrewrogers
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