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Edd Mann:
Storing PHP Sessions/File Caches in Memory using TMPFS
April 17, 2014 @ 11:19:59

Edd Mann (of the Three Devs & A Maybe podcast) has shared a method of session storage he worked up to help increase performance in his application. He shows how to store sessions in memory with the help of TMPFS.

Yesterday I was looking through some application logs and noticed a significant bottleneck with I/O reads in the implemented file cache. [...] This was when I found 'tmpfs', saving me from all sorts of issues relating to adding yet another application to the production stack. 'tmpfs' appears as a mounted partition on your system, however, under the hood it allocates and uses a section of physical memory (non-persistent through reboots). [...] his results in the desired speed boosts, without tampering with the application logic itself. Even better, if the mount is unsuccessful for some reason, it will safety fall-back to using the persistent hard-disk solution.

Since PHP sessions make it easy to change the "save_path" location for the data in an ini value, setup is easy. He includes the needed configuration change and the commands you'll need to mount the tmpfs partition on your local file system.

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Link: http://eddmann.com/posts/storing-php-sessions-file-caches-in-memory-using-tmpfs

Andrew Martin's Blog:
Serving PHP session files from a RAM based disk (tmpfs) for AWS Micro Instance
October 06, 2011 @ 11:42:36

Andrew Martin has a new post to his blog looking at a technique that could be used to help minimize some of the performance issues you could see on AWS micro instances dealing with PHP session handling. His alternative is serving them from a RAM-based disk instead.

It's rare to find a web server with slow disk I/O performance, but Amazon's EC2 micro-instances are one such example. Their EBS disk subsystem access is rated "low", and this can have a detrimental effect on HTTP throughput. [...] This leaves sessions, which can be written to a redundant and fault tolerant storage system. [...] In order to speed up the disk access, a RAM-based disk can be mounted over the session directory. This has the disadvantage of being volatile - the data is lost in case of a server reboot, or the mount point being unmounted. However if tolerable, storing sessions in RAM insulates the application from poor filesystem performance.

He mentions the two types of kernels that can be used, ramfs and tmpfs, and the specifics of using a tmpfs filesystem to implement the technique (complete with command line calls to make it happen).

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