Posted by Craig Strong | Posted in Cherokee, Development, Product Reviews, Software Reviews, Technology / Hardware, Web Servers, Zend Framework | Posted on 07-05-2010
Tags: Apache, Cherokee, Development, Fedora, Framework, Internet, PHP, software, Software Development, technology, web, Web Server
As I have been developing for the web for over a decade, I have become comfortable with tools and technologies which have helped me get the job done. Some of these technologies I have seen evolve and progress into what are now essential and very powerful solutions. I have established an affinity with many of these tools and without doubt the Apache web server qualifies as such a technology for me.
Using Apache over the years as my main web server, I have produced all types of software solutions for many diverse businesses within many different industries. Apache has served me well and I am an advocate of the old saying ‘If it’s not broken, why fix it’ (within reason). Until recently that is….
Over the past few years in the distant background I have heard mention of Cherokee as being a viable alternative to Apache, with some claiming it offers benefits. These have been whispers registering in the distance, but didn’t sound interesting enough to pursue and invest my time as Apache was doing it’s job well. However recently these whispers became a little louder following a few conversations with a work colleague singing Cherokee’s praises. What caught my attention most from the conversations wasn’t simply that Cherokee was faster, but that Cherokee was much easier to use and quicker to configure. As I don’t like ‘shaving Yaks‘, my approach was that if I start hitting obstacles, I’ll leave it for another day which contains more than 24 hours; after all Apache is working well for me.
My local lightweight development environment consists of a Linux VM (Fedora) which I operate using VirtualBox. I deliberately reduce my VM’s resource allocation such as setting my RAM allocation to 512mb on my VM to encourage good code and to identify memory leaks. I have the other usual stuff setup such as Zend Framework, xdebug, MySQL etc. This was the machine which was going to carry out the test switch from my trusted Apache to Cherokee.
I disabled Apache and installed Cherokee using the supporting well written user guide. Within minutes Cherokee was up and running and there we NO problems! I was expecting some configuration hurdles as per usual, but nothing. My sites were running as if I was on Apache and there were no noticeable differences. I configured the logs to act as the same as Apache and all was set.
As I delved deeper into the setup guide I was pleasantly introduced to Cherokee’s administration interface. This was a pleasant surprise as I’m so used to hard coding configuration information into httpd.conf. This interface presents configuration options for all the usual server settings such as ‘Virtual Servers’, ‘Directory Sources’, ‘Logging’, ‘Security’ etc. The beauty of this is not that it’s simply a little prettier than the command prompt, but it’s quicker to use. You can configure your server settings simply and quickly which are two good properties to have on your side.
Although I was impressed so far, the remaining challenge that Cherokee must live up to for me is it’s speed advantages. In the spirit of keeping things simple and to get a loose overview on performance advantages I thought I’d simply use ‘Zend Controller’ which is bundled with ‘Zend Server CE‘ to test how many requests per second both Apache and Cherokee could handle in turn upon my humble local virtual machine. From these tests I obtained the following results :
Apache Web Server Results
Cherokee Web Server Results
As you can imagine I was quite impressed with what the results presented. The results roughly show that Cherokee could handle 2.5 times more requests per second that Apache! That is no small margin!
What does this mean for me going forward? Well the first things that went through my mind understandably were cost and time savings. Potentially this could reduce the need for more hardware. Less hardware means less purchase costs and less maintenance time. Obviously there are other factors to consider before jumping the gun, but Cherokee certainly has my attention now. I will definitely be including Cherokee in my future plans. An exercise well worth the time.
If anyone reading this has done the switch, please feel free to reply to this post with any feedback
Related Link : alobbs.com