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Announce: Front End Performance Optimization

 | October 10, 2008 |  Posted In: Events and Announcements


I guess many of you know us and so our company for MySQL related services. It is true this is majority of our business at this point but it is far from everything.

Our goal in reality is to help people to build and operate quality systems, typically web sites, which means we help customers with performance, scalability, high availability as the whole, not just MySQL related issues.

Indeed if you look at MySQL driven web site its properties will likely depend on a lot of factors – good web side configuration, which is about caching, proxying, using multiple data centers or CDN, serving static content reliably and efficiently. Then it comes to efficient web application architecture and code – being scalable, efficient, highly available, secure and fault tolerant. Caching in particular as memcache plays important role here besides MySQL though quite typical you also would see external queue, message parsing, search systems etc being important components besides MySQL.

MySQL is important component but just a component, though due to its complexity it is often where
professional help is looked for dealing with scaling and high availability.

Even more. Everything what we’ve described is only part of the problem. It is all about generating dynamic content quickly or serving static files which is only one side of the problem. The other side is making things fast from the client prospective where our new service – front end performance optimization comes to play.

We look to reduce number of requests and transfer size. Browser and HTTP Caching (Request not made is far better than even fastest serviced request), making content download as parallel as possible and making page to start render as soon as possible.

Front End performance optimization is often needed to change your site from good to great. Market leaders such as Google tend to do it a lot and it is well known fast loading web pages improve user experience and make people to stay on site longer and return more likely which in the end improves business goals such as showing advertisements, product downloads or purchases.

Some people make a mistake by thinking their site are already great by looking at their web site from location which is close to the data center. This gives huge available bandwidth with pretty much no packet loss as well as very low latency.

Most likely these conditions are not the case for all of your users and customers – some may be accessing the system from remote location with high latency and packet loss. Others may be accessing it via crowded public wireless connections and there is class of mobile users with less than perfect latency and download speeds a lot slower than home/office broadband.

This especially comes as important issue to me personally then I’m traveling or using mobile Internet for other reasons – so many web sites become so painfully slow they are barely usable even though their backend does not perform any slower in this case.

By adding front end optimization services we are able to help to deliver great performing web sites whatever performance limiting factors are.

P.S As this is the new service we’re looking for feedback on how to make it better. If you’re interested in your site evaluation and would be willing to provide us feedback about recommendations and general service delivery, drop us a note and we’ll pick couple of sites to review free of charge.

Peter Zaitsev

Peter managed the High Performance Group within MySQL until 2006, when he founded Percona. Peter has a Master's Degree in Computer Science and is an expert in database kernels, computer hardware, and application scaling.


  • Sounds interesting.

    If you are looking for a site to test, wouldn’t mind seeing a report for www.geograph.org.uk – and could provide feedback in return. Probably ok publishing the report if you wanted too, the site software is open source anyway.

  • Would love to get a report for http://www.backtype.com/ and will offer as much feedback as possible. It’s great that you’re adding this service to the arsenal.

  • What do you do in particular?
    While YSlow (http://developer.yahoo.com/yslow/) from Yahoo is a great tool, which marks almost all possible faults in frontend performance.

  • Just a note to everyone who has commented so far: https://www.percona.com/services/front-end-performance-optimization.html has a link to a sample report.

    So what do we do that you can’t get from yslow, and of course the excellent book by Steve Souders? (really, you SHOULD read it! http://www.amazon.com/dp/0596529309?tag=perinc-20)

    Experience. Expertise. Depth.

    If you have time and not money, sure, do it yourself. If you have money and not time, or if you just want to get more performance optimization than you think you’ll be able to get on your own, then it’s a great time to hire us!

    And let me say again that Steve’s book is required reading.

  • YSlow offers some great guidelines, but there’s a lot more advice Percona can offer on a per-application basis. I wouldn’t look at a low YSlow score and assume the site is poorly built e.g. most sites don’t require a CDN and shouldn’t turn ETags off.

  • You can find a great list of front end rules here:

    With respect to a CDN, I recently discovered an apache module from Voxel.

    Looks to be an interesting module to assist with converting a site to use a CDN.

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