Ruby performance on Windows XP

While I am working in Rails, I’m noticing that Ruby many times
completely
dogs the system
taking forever to reload a page.
Reading under task manager I’m seeing that ruby.exe is CPU = 99 and Mem
Usage = 50,000K
I’m not sure what to do and have no idea how to debug it.
There are times it take 5+ minutes to reload a page.

Stuart

On 10/30/06, Dark A. [email protected] wrote:

While I am working in Rails, I’m noticing that Ruby many times completely
dogs the system
taking forever to reload a page.
Reading under task manager I’m seeing that ruby.exe is CPU = 99 and Mem
Usage = 50,000K
I’m not sure what to do and have no idea how to debug it.
There are times it take 5+ minutes to reload a page.

More details would be useful. Raising this on the Rails list would be
even more useful.

-austin

Austin Z. wrote:

More details would be useful. Raising this on the Rails list would be
even more useful.

-austin
Hey,

I’ve noticed the same problem on my Windows XP installation, so I
switched to Linux (SuSE 10.1) and haven’t looked back since!
Posting to the rails list might help, someone there will most likely
have solved it by now…

[email protected]

Also, I noticed stopping/starting the server seems to help. Not a
solution, but it’ll save you that 5+ minutes between page refreshes!

Cheery-o
Gustav P.
[email protected]

On Tue, 31 Oct 2006 01:45:52 +0900
“Dark A.” [email protected] wrote:

While I am working in Rails, I’m noticing that Ruby many times completely
dogs the system
taking forever to reload a page.
Reading under task manager I’m seeing that ruby.exe is CPU = 99 and Mem
Usage = 50,000K
I’m not sure what to do and have no idea how to debug it.
There are times it take 5+ minutes to reload a page.

Well, that’s kind of just Ruby on Windows for ya. My unofficial
experience (which everyone constantly blasts me for, so I’m obviously
wrong) is that Ruby on Win32 is about 1/10th the speed of Linux 2.6 on
the same computer. This is with the exact same non-rails Mongrel
handler tests I run. Cygwin is then about 1/2 the speed of that.

Yet, nobody can explain it or seems to actually care since we all know
that Ruby is perfection from the gods and should not be questioned.

Zed A. Shaw wrote:

Well, that’s kind of just Ruby on Windows for ya. My unofficial experience (which everyone constantly blasts me for, so I’m obviously wrong) is that Ruby on Win32 is about 1/10th the speed of Linux 2.6 on the same computer. This is with the exact same non-rails Mongrel handler tests I run. Cygwin is then about 1/2 the speed of that.

Yet, nobody can explain it or seems to actually care since we all know that Ruby is perfection from the gods and should not be questioned.

See http://tinyurl.com/y5kwou.

Short version: Windows has a slower FS and performs IO operations more
slowly than Linux. You’ll see similar slowdowns in Perl and Python.

This isn’t to say that Ruby couldn’t do better on Windows, but it’s not
as simple as you might think. For example, I once wrote a C extension
for ReadFileEx() and compared it against Ruby’s IO.read, thinking it
might bring a significant speed improvement. I was wrong.

Regards,

Dan

Daniel B. wrote:

There are times it take 5+ minutes to reload a page.
Well, that’s kind of just Ruby on Windows for ya. My unofficial experience (which everyone constantly blasts me for, so I’m obviously wrong) is that Ruby on Win32 is about 1/10th the speed of Linux 2.6 on the same computer. This is with the exact same non-rails Mongrel handler tests I run. Cygwin is then about 1/2 the speed of that.

Yet, nobody can explain it or seems to actually care since we all know that Ruby is perfection from the gods and should not be questioned.

See http://tinyurl.com/y5kwou.

Hmmm … I looked at that thread … seems I was a participant. :slight_smile:

Short version: Windows has a slower FS and performs IO operations more
slowly than Linux. You’ll see similar slowdowns in Perl and Python.

I’ll say now what I said then, with the caveat that the only Windows
system I have available for testing is a laptop with what must be the
slowest hard drive available – in other words, meaningless for a
discussion of Windows server filesystem performance.

What I said then is that I don’t see any reason why a Windows
performance engineer can’t tune a Windows (NTFS) filesystem so its
performance is as good as ext3 on the same hardware. I’m sure the Red
Hat marketing guys will be more than happy to shove benchmarks down my
throat to counter that, but they aren’t in the business of tuning
Windows servers!

So … some brief hints on I/O tuning for Windows. In the following,
assume Ruby/Rails/Some Web Server/Some Database/Windows server(s):

  1. Different parts of the stack have different I/O footprints. In
    particular, the database is the one you want to look at first. The most
    important thing to know about your application is the ratio of database
    reads to database writes. The I/O subsystem handles them differently and
    the tuning strategies are different.

  2. Assuming a pure Windows environment (Window 2003 Server, IIS 6 and
    SQL Server 2005) it’s possible to have all of those components reside in
    the same server and tuned for efficient operation. It’s really not
    possible with older versions of any of them. Introducing any
    non-Microsoft component (PostgreSQL or MySQL, Apache, etc.) makes the
    job harder but it’s still possible.

  3. The I/O subsystem includes the disks, controllers and memory.
    Again, the Microsoft-only solutions are tunable easily, but with a
    little more effort you can make an open-source stack work well with only
    the OS being Microsoft.

In general, you want enough memory so that the minimum amount of
physical I/O is done, but not so much that the OS runs out of table
space managing it. The way you figure this out is to run performance
tests with varying amounts of memory on real workloads and looking at
the performance monitor statistics. The Windows 2003 Server Resource Kit
has all of the details and the tools.

  1. At the hardware level, there is a fundamental tradeoff between disk
    space and speed in a RAID controller. RAID 5 gives you the most space
    and the least speed, and RAID 10 gives you the most speed and the least
    space. There are other tuning tricks for SANs and other high-end I/O
    subsystems. If you can afford one of them, you can also afford to have
    the vendor tune them for you. :slight_smile:

A couple of years ago, Windows servers certainly weren’t competitive
with Linux servers. But Microsoft has worked hard to close the gap, and
they continue to do so. I suppose when the high-end Vista server TPC
benchmarks start showing up, we’ll see where things stand. In the
interim, if you have to or want to run Microsoft servers, at least use
the most recent software and pick up the Resource Kit.

Dark A. wrote:

While I am working in Rails, I’m noticing that Ruby many times completely
dogs the system
taking forever to reload a page.
Reading under task manager I’m seeing that ruby.exe is CPU = 99 and Mem
Usage = 50,000K
I’m not sure what to do and have no idea how to debug it.
There are times it take 5+ minutes to reload a page.

Stuart

Hmmm … lots of questions … but the other posters are right … this
is really a Rails list question.

  1. How much memory does the server have?
  2. Is the 50 megabytes for ruby.exe growing?
  3. It has the processor pegged at 99 percent (I’m assuming a 1P). Is it
    doing any reading or writing?
  4. Is this Instant Rails?

On 10/30/06, Gustav P. [email protected] wrote:

There are times it take 5+ minutes to reload a page.

More details would be useful. Raising this on the Rails list would be
even more useful.

-austin

I did raise this on the Rails list, yet it gathered little interest nor
anyone else experiencing similar behaviour

Hey,

I’ve noticed the same problem on my Windows XP installation, so I
switched to Linux (SuSE 10.1) and haven’t looked back since!
Posting to the rails list might help, someone there will most likely
have solved it by now…

I have plans at some point soon to switch over to Linux, possibly
Ubuntu.
Not sure which version. at this point.

[email protected]

Also, I noticed stopping/starting the server seems to help. Not a
solution, but it’ll save you that 5+ minutes between page refreshes!

Yep, that is exactly what I’ve been doing. This is not production so
it’s
acceptable. Annoying but acceptable.

Cheery-o

Gustav P.
[email protected]

Stuart

On 10/30/06, M. Edward (Ed) Borasky [email protected] wrote:

  1. Is this Instant Rails?

Ed, my apologies, as this is not a server environment. This is a laptop
in a development mode.
2- Sometimes I’ve seen Ruby going past 129 megs of memory.
3- As far as the reading and writing , I can’t tell, at least not from
the
server logs.
4-Yep, it’s Instant Rails.

Stuart

On 10/30/06, Zed A. Shaw [email protected] wrote:

Well, that’s kind of just Ruby on Windows for ya. My unofficial
experience (which everyone constantly blasts me for, so I’m obviously
wrong) is that Ruby on Win32 is about 1/10th the speed of Linux 2.6 on
the same computer. This is with the exact same non-rails Mongrel
handler tests I run. Cygwin is then about 1/2 the speed of that.

Zed, your wounded act is wearing thin, if it was ever amusing to begin
with. It also doesn’t come close to the truth (your claims about being
blasted). Your numbers look suspicious to me, but I’m also not doing any
performance testing on any of this stuff.

Yet, nobody can explain it or seems to actually care since we all know
that Ruby is perfection from the gods and should not be questioned.

Gee. There’ve been at least two explanations given. By me. One of which
was in a thread in the last week.

  1. File open operations are slower on Windows. Period.
  2. The current compiler used has a significant lack of optimisation
    compared to modern compilers (e.g., anything after 2000 – since the
    current compiler was released in 1998).

So no, Zed, your wounded act doesn’t actually buy you anything here,
because (1) I can explain it and (2) I care, but not so much that I’m
willing to force other precipitous decisions.

-austin

Dark A. wrote:

I have plans at some point soon to switch over to Linux, possibly Ubuntu.
Not sure which version. at this point.

What are your criteria for choosing a Linux distro? There’s actually a
web site that will walk you through the decision. I’ve forgotten what it
is, though – I made my choice a couple of years ago and then took the
test. It got the right answer. :slight_smile:

Seriously, though, Ubuntu is probably the most popular “community
desktop” Linux. If you’re more interested in a server, though, CentOS,
Debian stable or Fedora might be a better choice. You’ll have to manage
the Ruby and Rails packages yourself – the “stable” versions are
ancient if they even exist.

If you like learning about Linux and want the latest stable software and
want to have things performance-tuned to your hardware, I can recommend
Gentoo. The Ruby and Rails packages generally show up in Gentoo within a
day or so of release, and with a little prodding, you can file an
enhancement bug in their Bugzilla and get beta stuff in. They have a
fairly complete list of Ruby packages already.

[email protected]

Also, I noticed stopping/starting the server seems to help. Not a
solution, but it’ll save you that 5+ minutes between page refreshes!

Yep, that is exactly what I’ve been doing. This is not production so it’s
acceptable. Annoying but acceptable.

Annoying isn’t acceptable in my book. Your most precious resource is
your time! “It isn’t production” means it isn’t wasting other peoples’
time. Get it fixed!

P.S.: I haven’t seen anything in this thread so far that would tell me
– someone who does performance engineering for a living – that your
problem is in fact Windows-related and will go away when you move to
Linux! Sorry, Zed :).

I did run my CPU-bound Ruby Matrix benchmark a couple of days ago on my
dual-booted laptop and there was a significant slowdown from the
Gentoo-optimized (gcc 4.1.1 -O2 -march=athlon-xp) Ruby interpreter on
Gentoo Linux to the One-Click Ruby with Windows XP Professional on the
same hardware.

I think that’s going to get fixed when Austin and Curt get the Microsoft
folks and their tool chain playing nice with Ruby. I’ll probably have to
go tweaking the Gentoo Ruby to catch up. :slight_smile:

Austin Z. wrote:

performance testing on any of this stuff.
Ah, but I am. :slight_smile: Zed’s numbers are very suspicious. Here’s what I
found with the One-Click Ruby, the CygWin Ruby, and a Gentoo-optimized
Ruby on a CPU-bound benchmark (which I’ve profiled and happens to spend
most of its time in the guts of the Ruby interpreter):

Native Windows One-Click Ruby Installer:
ruby 1.8.5 (2006-08-25) [i386-mswin32]
Matrix of dimension 256 times its inverse = identity? true
137.658000 0.060000 137.718000 (137.719000)

CygWin Ruby:
ruby 1.8.5 (2006-08-25) [i386-cygwin]
Matrix of dimension 256 times its inverse = identity? true
137.598000 0.110000 137.708000 (137.768000)

Gentoo Linux Ruby
Compiled from source with GCC 4.1.1 -O2 -march=athlon-xp
-fomit-frame-pointer
ruby 1.8.5 (2006-08-25) [i686-linux]
Matrix of dimension 256 times its inverse = identity? true
107.380000 0.010000 107.390000 (107.425632)

Note that the One-Click, compiled with an old Microsoft compiler (right,
Austin?) and the CygWin, compiled with gcc 3. something, are dead even.
CygWin is not half the speed of the One-Click! And it looks to me like
they were both compiled for i386!

Now the Linux Ruby is faster – significantly so – but not 10X. It’s
not even 2X! I know how that was compiled, though. It used the latest
“stable” GCC, 4.1.1, -O2 optimization and the “march-athlon-xp” tuning
to the hardware! Somebody (please repost – I’ve forgotten the details)
actually ran through compiler options on this benchmark and determined
that the biggest improvement in fact came from exactly that – compiling
for the chip!

The bad news is, given a restriction to the i386 target, I’m not sure
any other compiler juggling is going to make a difference. I’m not
planning on recompiling my Linux Ruby with an i386 target, since someone
else already went through that exercise and posted the results here. So:

  1. If performance matters, you probably need to hunt down the tool chain
    required and rebuild your Ruby interpreter from source using
    chip-specific optimizations.

  2. Zed’s numbers are exaggerated.

  1. File open operations are slower on Windows. Period.

Frequent file opening and closing on any platform is a bad thing. If
your profiling catches your application doing that, fix it. If you’ve
designed it into your application, re-design. :slight_smile:

  1. The current compiler used has a significant lack of optimisation
    compared to modern compilers (e.g., anything after 2000 – since the
    current compiler was released in 1998).

Well … maybe. I think the chip-specific stuff is probably a bigger
factor than the age of the compiler, but there’s no point in optimizing
with an old compiler rather than investing the energy in getting the new
one integrated.

I care, but not so much that I’m
willing to force other precipitous decisions.

Especially since we’re mostly volunteers here … I wouldn’t expect, for
example, Curt to start building chip-specific One-Click Installers or
Instant Rails.

Robert O. wrote:

One-Click

Total Ruby benchmark time: 13.172000 0.031000 13.203000 ( 13.922000)

Cygwin

Total Ruby benchmark time: 8.906000 0.016000 8.922000 ( 9.375000)

In my tests, Cygwin comes out much faster.

Interesting … have you posted your benchmark code? Do you have the
setup to profile the Ruby interpreter running it? (I think everything is
available in CygWin, including the Ruby source).

On 10/30/06, M. Edward (Ed) Borasky [email protected] wrote:

Ah, but I am. :slight_smile: Zed’s numbers are very suspicious. Here’s what I
found with the One-Click Ruby, the CygWin Ruby, and a Gentoo-optimized
Ruby on a CPU-bound benchmark (which I’ve profiled and happens to spend
most of its time in the guts of the Ruby interpreter):

My One-Click / Cygwin numbers are different:

One-Click

Total Ruby benchmark time: 13.172000 0.031000 13.203000 ( 13.922000)

Cygwin

Total Ruby benchmark time: 8.906000 0.016000 8.922000 ( 9.375000)

In my tests, Cygwin comes out much faster.


Robert W. Oliver II
President, OCS Solutions, Inc. - Web Hosting and Development
http://www.ocssolutions.com/

Toll-Free Phone - 1-800-672-8415

OCS Ruby Forums - http://www.rubyforums.com/
My Blog - http://www.rwoliver.com/

On 10/30/06, M. Edward (Ed) Borasky [email protected] wrote:

Interesting … have you posted your benchmark code? Do you have the
setup to profile the Ruby interpreter running it? (I think everything is
available in CygWin, including the Ruby source).

My benchmark code is here:

http://files.rwoliver.com/public/benchmark.rb

I did post it a while back though during the first Cygwin/One-Click Holy
War
:slight_smile:

I wish I could credit the author of this code, but I don’t remember
where I
got it from.


Robert W. Oliver II
President, OCS Solutions, Inc. - Web Hosting and Development
http://www.ocssolutions.com/

Toll-Free Phone - 1-800-672-8415

OCS Ruby Forums - http://www.rubyforums.com/
My Blog - http://www.rwoliver.com/

On 10/30/06, M. Edward (Ed) Borasky [email protected] wrote:

Dark A. wrote:

I have plans at some point soon to switch over to Linux, possibly
Ubuntu.
Not sure which version. at this point.

What are your criteria for choosing a Linux distro? There’s actually a
web site that will walk you through the decision. I’ve forgotten what it
is, though – I made my choice a couple of years ago and then took the
test. It got the right answer. :slight_smile:

I’ll take a look around for that site. I don’t believe I have any
criteria. I do not perceive a day I’ll be hosting my own apps, so the
server criteria is not important. I guess ease of use,for installing
and
updating Ruby and Rails since that is the primary reason to run Linux.

Seriously, though, Ubuntu is probably the most popular "community

fairly complete list of Ruby packages already.
I had a look over at the Gentoo site after reading this. The screenshots
showed Gnome. Having played around with a few live cd’s recently I guess
I’m
leaning towards KDE. I’d assume running it under Gentoo is not a
problem.

Stuart

Dark A. wrote:

Stuart

Absolutely! In fact, the Gentoo LiveCD is Gnome only because of space
considerations, but the LiveDVD has both. I think your only reasonable
options are Kubuntu (the KDE flavor of Ubuntu) and Gentoo if you want to
stay close to the upstream releases of KDE, Ruby and Rails.

I’ve never done more than boot one of the early Ubuntu LiveCDs … I
went down the Gentoo path from Debian before Ubuntu came out, and I’m
too entrenched (and too happy) to consider switching now.

By the way, the whole KDE/Korundum/Kommander/KDevelop/QTRuby/Quanta tool
chain works very well on Gentoo – if you’re willing to lock yourself
into that, you can probably turn out professional applications rather
quickly. The latest version of KDevelop, for example, has some Rails
tools built in.

Another nice thing about Gentoo is that they have a (bleeding edge and
finicky) tool set for building LiveCDs and LiveDVDs. The caution is that
they built that for their own release engineering use and not
necessarily for developers, but it can be made to work with a little
effort.

Dark A. wrote:

There are times it take 5+ minutes to reload a page.
doing any reading or writing?

  1. You can add the I/O counters in the Task Manager display; you don’t
    need to use server logs
  2. Ouch! Some really expensive laptops have decent hard drives in
    them, but the typical laptops are optimized for low-power and low
    battery consumption. Even if you’re running off AC power, they sometimes
    shut down the hard drive if it’s idle for a couple of minutes.

Still, I’d look first for some kind of application level problem before
hunting for platform issues. I haven’t done enough Rails development to
know what the diagnostic tools are, but I do know they are there, and
more are being contributed every day from the community.

On 10/30/06, M. Edward (Ed) Borasky [email protected] wrote:

Still, I’d look first for some kind of application level problem before
hunting for platform issues. I haven’t done enough Rails development to
know what the diagnostic tools are, but I do know they are there, and
more are being contributed every day from the community.

I want to second my vote for Gentoo.

I think its the best Linux distribution. It isn’t for everyone, but it
does
do most tasks well. It works well as a server, and as a desktop.

The compile times can be slow for the desktop (especially the KDE
compile,
which can take a full day sometimes), but the pros of Gentoo outweigh
the
cons in my opinion.

The best part about Gentoo is portage. It lets you manage every piece
of
software on your system in an eloquent way. No more fumbling around
with
RPM’s (aka Redhat) or worrying about packages not being current (Debian
stable). Portage simply lets you keep things up to date and handles
dependencies better than Yum or Apt-get ever dreamed of doing! :slight_smile:

If that weren’t enough, Gentoo has native ports of most Ruby gems, so
emerge
rmagick for example works nicely too. When you emerge rubygems, and
then
run something like emerge rmagick, it will put a gem entry in the gem
list
–local command, unlike Debian. In other words, Gentoo’s emerge and
Ruby’s
gems don’t fight each other like they do on most other distros.

The /etc/make.conf lets you decide what features you want on your
system.
Taking the time to customize your USE flags is well worth it, as you
will
always get the support you need in the software you install without even
having to worry about it. For example, using the ruby USE flag will
enable
ruby support in any program that has support for it.

Also, Gentoo’s install procedure teaches you quite a bit about Linux.
You’ll know more about your system after doing it, and have a leg up on
knowing how to use Linux right from the start.

I’ll get off my soapbox now about the joys of Gentoo :slight_smile:


Robert W. Oliver II
President, OCS Solutions, Inc. - Web Hosting and Development
http://www.ocssolutions.com/

Toll-Free Phone - 1-800-672-8415

OCS Ruby Forums - http://www.rubyforums.com/
My Blog - http://www.rwoliver.com/

On 10/30/06, M. Edward (Ed) Borasky [email protected] wrote:

gems don’t fight each other like they do on most other distros.

One caution with that is that Gentoo administration knowledge doesn’t
translate immediately into Red Hat/Fedora/CentOS or Debian/Ubuntu
administration knowledge. The Gentoo people have gone out of their way
to make things easy, as have the Red Hat and Debian people, but all the
config files are in different places on the three variants. I haven’t
the foggiest idea, for example, how to configure vsftpd on a Red Hat or
Debian box, but I can do it in my sleep on Gentoo.

Not to take this thread too far left field,
1- Someone from the Rails list has made a project of Rails (and Ruby)
LiveCD
using PC Linux I believe.

2- One attractive feature ( I think) of Ubuntu is you can use a usb
flash
drive as the /home directory.
I imagine Gentoo can do the same thing ? Kind of nice and portable
then.

Stuart

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