[erlang-questions] Distributed Erlang Architecture

Chris Clark <>
Thu May 21 16:48:25 CEST 2015


Hi Garrett

Thanks very much for the information that does make a lot of sense.

I am trying to wrap my head around how large scale Erlang systems are
structured in practice but I see that it will depend on the application and
is only something worth thinking about once/if in becomes a real problem.

What initially had me thinking about it was availability rather than scale.
A lot of what I have read and seen in videos suggests avoiding hot code
loading where possible and rather having multiple independent app instances
that can just be swapped, one at a time with new instances (provided the
app allows it).

Thanks for your assistance

Regards,

On Thu, May 21, 2015 at 1:15 AM Garrett Smith <> wrote:

> Hi Chris,
>
> On Wed, May 20, 2015 at 2:02 PM, Chris Clark <>
> wrote:
> > Hi
> >
> > I have an erlang application that is made up of 3 applications and their
> > dependencies. I am trying to decide on how to distribute these so that I
> can
> > scale them by running additional instance of which ever app start to
> reach
> > its performance limits.
> >
> > I've managed to find lot of info of how to connect erlang nodes into a
> > cluster but nothing on how to structure a distributed application in
> > practice. Does anyone know where I can find some info on this?
> >
> > If for example I have three hosts in my cluster. Should I
> > A:
> > Compile these all into one release and the not start the apps
> automatically
> > but just start the number of required instances within the single erlang
> > nodes each running on a host
>
> A release corresponds to a node and what's in that release should be
> driven by the behavior of the node - there may be some linkage with so
> called scalability problems in specific cases, but certainly not in
> the general case.
>
> As for not starting "all" - this sounds like a misunderstanding - on
> your part or my part. Maybe I'm misreading you but it sounds like
> you're viewing your "apps" as units of power - like octane - that you
> might want to hold in reserve for the time you need to go super fast.
>
> An app is just a single supervisory tree that provides some set of
> functionality within your system (i.e. a running release).
>
> If an "app" in this case can "scale" - then you ought to know how. Is
> the constraint CPU, disk, IO - or a host of complex interactions that
> you'd never guess in a million years? If and when you understand how
> it can scale, look to deploy multiple instances of it per unit of
> actual power (CPU, spindle, network interface, etc) - if that would
> even work. Chances are you'll have to rethink something fundamental in
> the way you're doing things. That's okay though - it's the sign of a
> system evolving under pressure.
>
> Erlang is outstanding for this.
>
> > B:
> > Create each app into a separate release and then just start a node for
> each
> > instance of each app I want resulting in multiple erlang nodes per host.
> If
> > for example I just wanted one host then I would run three nodes on that
> > host. One for each app.
>
> Releases are just ways to package apps and run them in concert in a
> VM. If you want one app running on a VM, then do this. Otherwise don't
> do this.
>
> > Any guidance or info on the pros and cons of each approach would be
> > appreciated.
>
> Knowing nothing about your application, I'd just start by creating one
> release with a complete working system (user facing functionality).
> Then see how it behaves at various levels of load (request frequency,
> concurrency, volumes, etc.)
>
> Personally, I wouldn't think about scalability at all - and not just
> to make a social statement. I'd put the system into production and see
> what happens. You'll need to monitor things, but start by monitoring
> things from the end user perspective - this will force you to define
> meaningful performance targets. When you start to see something bad
> happening, study it carefully and take steps to fix the problem.
>
> When you're at the point you have actual problems (rather than
> architectural, which is not an actual thing, much less a problem) you
> can post some detailed information here and get some actual help.
>
> Hope that helps ;)
>
> Garrett
>
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