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Bega High School Work Experience - A Load Balanced Web Server

Submitted by 2piLiam on August 27, 2015

This week we have been given the opportunity to conduct our work placement for I.T VET at 2pi Software. Within these days we have been able to set up a small web server running an Odroid as the master system, which had a load balancer installed, using Nginx, to evenly spread the traffic from incoming requests.

A load balancer is a device that evenly distributes incoming traffic between nodes. This increases the amount of requests and will increase the reliability of the server, which is critical for a company's efficiency for their online presence. A company that uses load balancing is Google, which would have a massive load of requests being sent to the servers, which will then have to be evenly distributed across all their servers.

The requests were then distributed across 3 different Raspberry Pi systems, low cost, high availability micro computers that allow users to achieve goals such as learning basic coding to more experienced projects like creating a mini arcade machine.

These were then benchmarked to see how much stress the server will be able to take when under a heavy load of requests. We recorded our results and then compared the data to make sure the nodes were running at the same efficiency.

Also during the week we were given the task of making a MySQL database which was hosted on the Odroid to observe how the web server could handle the load of running a MySQL database with PHP.


Our setup looks like this: 

Our load balancing system


Odroid on top of the switch


The 3 Raspberry Pi's




We ran multiple tests using different types of media, these include:

  • Static HTML
  • Static HTML with an image
  • PHP
  • PHP and MySQL

The results we collected are below, where data presented ranges from the 50th to 100th percentile. The number on the right of the percentage indicates the response time in milliseconds.

Odroid w/PHP & MySQL (3 nodes) Odroid w/ static HTML Odroid w/ PHP Odroid w/ image HTML
50%   1510 50%    211 50%    962 50%    214
66%   1546 66%    245 66%   1031 66%    239
75%   1563 75%    301 75%   1069 75%    275
80%   1573 80%    322 80%   1092 80%    304
90%   1597 90%    358 90%   1150 90%    339
95%   1619 95%    394 95%   1193 95%    403
98%   2139 98%    453 98%   1235 98%    651
99%   2387 99%    528 99%   1306 99%   1201
100%   2690 (longest request) 100%   1493 (longest 100%   2288 (longest request) 100%   1273 (longest request)

These results show that using more complex web tools will slow down the web server significantly. This is shown in the odroid with PHP & mySQL  which has results that are double of the static HTML.