[Buildbot-devel] Several scalability questions

David Coppit dcoppit at nvidia.com
Tue Jan 18 19:48:39 UTC 2011

On Jan 18, 2011, at 2:27 PM, tom fogal wrote:

> David Coppit <dcoppit at nvidia.com> writes:
> [snip]
>> It alludes to some limit on the number of slaves attached to a single
>> master. Is 40 slaves considered to be "a lot"? What are the symptoms
>> of having too many slaves?
> I don't know personally, but I think the mozilla && chrome teams are
> using much larger systems.  e.g. on:
>  http://trac.buildbot.net/wiki/SuccessStories
> mozilla says they have "700 build and test slaves".

I'm guessing they're running multiple masters. :) I'm looking for some guidance on when to go to multiple masters.

>> It appears from watching the system execute that the UI can
>> slow down sch eduling and vice-versa. We thought that BB was
>> multi-threaded. Can it handle hundreds of pageviews along with
>> scheduling, builders, and custom build steps on the master? Is it
>> possible that we've serialized the threads through table locks or
>> something? (See question #6 below)
> Would threading even really help?  Python's GIL is the source of
> much... contention. :P
> I think the situation has improved somewhat in python 3, but don't
> quote me on that.

Good pointer! Not being Python gurus we didn't think to blame the interpreter.  This presentation by David Beazley (of SWIG fame) says that multithreading actually produces *worse* performance:


He says that Python 3.2 has a new GIL implementation that helps some, but not at all for I/O situations. Our machine has something like 24 cores, so we may be massively shooting ourselves in our feet. We should try dropping down to 1 thread.

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