Having Drupal Performance Nightmares? Join the Dream Team in Austin!

Steven Merrill, Director of Devops
#Devops | Posted

We’re exactly a week away from the start of DrupalCon Austin and I’ve been working hard over the past two months to button up our High Performance and Scalability with the Dream Team training at DrupalCon Austin. I’ve been honored to give this training at DrupalCon Denver, DrupalCon Munich, and DrupalCon Portland, as well as a free version of it at BADCamp 2013.

The Curriculum

In the training, we go from a base Ubuntu LTS machine and go through the process of configuring it first for a basic LAMP stack and then adding in key pieces of the scalability puzzle like Redis, Varnish, and configuration tweaks that help with front-end performance tweaks for Drupal. We also go over MySQL query analysis and optimization, as well as basic profiling with the Devel module and on into advanced profiling with XHProf to dig into performance problems. (A printed copy is also provided.)

This time around, we’ve done a revamp of the Varnish section to talk about exciting new changes in Varnish 4 and are also adding a good amount of new information on MySQL query analysis and optimization, as well as incorporating considerable feedback from previous trainings.

We also typically try to leave a little time at the end of the training to take freeform questions - the combined team has a wide variety of experience with a number of performance, monitoring, and automation tools. In past years, we’ve set up basic automation with Jenkins, talked about ApacheSOLR and advanced Varnish configuration, and distributed filesystems.

The Team

The team here really is a dream team, and I’m humbled to be able to share the podium with the others trainers every time we do this training.

Dan Reif

Dan is a longtime Drupal sysadmin and a member of the Drupal.org infrastructure team. He helped the Drupal project scale its own web infrastructure, and assists with ongoing performance and stability. By day he is the Director of Emerging Technology at BlackMesh, who offers managed hosting and private cloud solutions to help a variety of customers run their websites without worrying about their management. BlackMesh is generously donating the training server environments to participants in the training so you will have a server reference of the work done in class (provided for a limited time after DrupalCon).

Mark Sonnabaum

Mark Sonnabaum is the Senior Performance Engineer at Acquia. He has contributed significantly to projects that make it easier to scale and manage Drupal including the Redis Queue and XHProf modules as well as considerable work on Drush. He is also the maintainer of the cache and queue subsystems in Drupal core and has dedicated considerable time to improving the architecture of Drupal 8. He has also done a good deal of work on optimizing the performance of Acquia Hosting.

David Strauss

David Strauss was a driving force in creating Pressflow 6, a fork of Drupal which made high-performance sites possible in the Drupal 6.x series. He has helped high-profile clients like Wikimedia Foundation, Creative Commons, The Economist, and NBC Universal scale their web infrastructures to handle massive traffic. He is currently a co-founder at Pantheon where he has been pushing PHP performance to its limits using the latest technologies in the Linux kernel and systemd and empowering major clients to run their Drupal (and WordPress) sites without worrying about servers.

Yours Truly

I’ve had the pleasure over the years of working with major media, publishing, and government clients to ensure that their sites would stay up under heavy traffic load, including helping Robin Hood’s small infrastructure handle millions of visitors for information about their 12-12-12 concert for Sandy relief. I’m also a member of the drupal.org infrastructure team where I manage the logging infrastructure that helps us process more than 2 billion logs a month for aggregation and search to track down errors and help keep all the *.drupal.org properties up and stable. I’ve also recently been doing work on helping to make it easy to scale Drupal on Red Hat’s OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service.

Join Us

As of the publication of this blog post, we still have a few seats left. Please join us in Austin if you manage a Drupal site and want to learn how to scale it!  In the meantime check out Phase2's top 10 DrupalCon Austin session picks.


Steven Merrill

Director of Devops