Balancing Kafka on JBOD

At Automattic we run a diverse array of systems and as with many companies Kafka is the glue that ties them together; letting us to shuffle data back and forth. Our experience with Kafka have thus far been fantastic, it’s stable, provides excellent throughput, and the simple API makes it trivial to hook any of our systems up to it. In fact it’s been so popular that we’ve been steadily piping more and more data through it over the past year. Now we’re starting to run out of disk space necessitating an expansion of the cluster.

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Log Analysis With Hive

At Automattic we see over 131M unique visitors per month from the US alone. As part of the data team we are responsible for taking in the stream of Nginx logs and turning them into counts of views and unique visitors per day, week, and month on both a per blog and global basis.

To do all that we have a near-realtime pipeline that uses a myriad of technologies including PHP, Kafka, and various components from the Hadoop ecosystem. Unfortunately this system broke down last month and caused us to lose a portion of uniques data. After resolving the initial issue it became clear to us we will need to reprocess data from original log files in order to recover all of the data we’ve lost.

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Static Asset Caching Using Apache on Heroku

There’s been many articles written about how to properly implement static asset caching over the years and the best practices boil down three things.

  1. Make sure the server is sending RFC compliant caching headers.
  2. Send long expires headers for static assets.
  3. Use version numbers in asset paths so that we can precisely control expiration.

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