Your Acquia Ready team will coach you along the path to a successful launch. Our engagement with your team is structured around the following three critical elements of an application’s readiness for launch.
Acquia leverages Varnish Cache on your load balancers and Memcached on your web servers to ensure your application is as performant and scalable as possible. Varnish works by eliminating the need for your backend web servers to process every request sent to the application. Under high traffic conditions, Varnish is able to serve requests from cache more quickly than your web servers can. Memcached improves the performance of your web servers when serving authenticated traffic. Applications with a high percentage of authenticated users benefit most from this caching technology.
Taken together, and properly configured, Varnish and Memcached are critical elements of your application’s ability to scale and perform. We encourage you to engage with us to help you determine how to make your application as cacheable as possible, given your application’s functional requirements.
When you purchased Acquia’s hosting services, you should have completed an infrastructure questionnaire. Acquia uses this questionnaire to estimate the appropriate hardware for your application, including the following key information:
- How many pageviews your application serves
- What percentage of your traffic is from authenticated users
- Current PHP memory limit
Other factors may affect your sizing, such as the number of applications you have in a multisite
configuration, and how many docroots are hosted on a given server.
Unless we know otherwise, we assume that 90 percent of your anonymous traffic is cached by Varnish. If your application doesn’t cache efficiently, you may need to engage Acquia to reassess your sizing before proceeding with load testing and launch.
If you are properly sized based on your traffic expectations and caching efficiency, and your application continues to suffer from degraded performance, Acquia will work with you to identify and remediate performance-affecting conditions in your application’s code and configuration.
The best way to understand how your application will perform at launch is to create a load test that accurately simulates real-world conditions. If your application is newly developed, you may not have accurate data about how users access your application. In this case, you must make educated guesses based on your understanding of your audience and on patterns for similar applications.
Developing an accurate load test requires time, effort, and forethought. Do not leave this activity until the last minute. Instead:
- Plan to start testing early in your development cycle. Many successful teams test at the end of every cycle.
- Review your infrastructure questionnaire to be sure the traffic expectations are accurate. If you aren’t sure, ask an Acquia Ready engineer to validate your sizing.
- Calculate concurrent users based on actual traffic expectations, as indicated on your hosting questionnaire.
- Understand how to calculate the number of concurrent users to test, based on the traffic you indicated in your hosting questionnaire.
- Test all the major sections of your application that you expect to receive traffic. A test that loads only the homepage isn’t helpful unless you expect users to only visit the homepage.
The Acquia Ready team is available to talk through all your questions about load testing. For customers with shared load balancers, Acquia provides limited support for load testing by offering complimentary access to a dedicated balancer for a period of 48 hours. The baseline expectations for load testing are:
- Engage with your Acquia Ready team well in advance of your test, so we can understand your goals and advise you of best practices. It takes time to design and implement a good load test, so do not leave this until the last minute.
- Leverage our sample load test plan (provided by your Customer Success Manager (CSM)) to build a test plan that aligns with your goals and conforms to best practices.
- Schedule your complimentary 48 hours of load balancer time for when your code is complete, but still leave enough time before launch to remediate any issues that your test may surface.
- Engage with your Customer Success Engineer (CSE) to perform a site review at least 48 hours prior to conducting a test.
- Share your load test results with your CSE immediately, so we can assemble an analysis. This must be done promptly to avoid key data from rotating out of our logs before we can analyze them.
Ideally, you should secure dedicated balancers (if you don’t already have them) for a period of time sufficient to load test at the end of each development cycle. Acquia does not presently allow you to load test on Acquia Cloud Professional (ACP). If you are an ACP customer and load testing is in your critical path (as it should be), you should contact your Acquia Ready team to discuss upgrading to Acquia Cloud Enterprise.
For additional information, see Load and stress testing.