Brubeck, a statsd-compatible metrics aggregator

“…Taking an existing application and rewriting it in another language very rarely gives good results. Specially in the case of a Node.js server, you go from having an event loop written in C (libuv, the cross-platform library that powers the Node.js event framework is written in C), to having, well… an event loop written in C.

A straight port of statsd to C would hardly offer the performance improvement we required. Instead of micro-optimizing a straight port to squeeze performance out of it, we focused on redesigning the architecture of the application so it became efficient, and then implemented it as simply as possible: that way, the app will run fast even with few optimizations, and the code will be less complex and hence more reliable.

The first thing we changed in Brubeck was the event-loop based approach of the original statsd. Evented I/O on a single socket is a waste of cycles; while receiving 4 million packets per second, polling for read events will give you unsurprisingly predictable results: there is always a packet ready to be read. Because of this, we replaced the event loop with several worker threads sharing a single listen socket.

Several threads working on aggregating the same metrics means that access to the metrics table needs to be synchronized. We used a modified version of a concurrent, read-lock-free hash table with optimistic locking on writes optimized for applications with a high read-to-write ratios, which performs exceedingly well for our use case…”