binary protocol notes from the facebook hackathon

‏Alex Stapleton alexs at
Wed Jul 11 16:34:20 UTC 2007

On 11 Jul 2007, at 16:35, Tres Seaver wrote:

> Hash: SHA1
> marc at wrote:
>> Hi everyone,
>> I'm happy to see a nice and compact result with zero bloat.  I'm also
>> happy you guys kept alignment within the request/response struct and
>> that would help performance.
>> I see byte ordering is mentioned twice;  the length field both in the
>> request and response.
>> While network byte ordering (Big Endian) is traditionally the 'right'
>> thing to do (or the default thing to do), in most cases it's a minor
>> performance hit due to constant swapping.  Since we're implementing a
>> binary protocol specifically to avoid/minimize minor performance hits
>> and since this is a brand new protocol I would recommend to keep all
>> values as Little Endian because:
>> - It's easier that all values are kept to a the same endianess;  
>> reduces
>> confusion.
> Heh, agreed.  Any numeric value larger than one byte should be in
> network order, which removes the confusion. ;)
>> - Nowadays MOST (but obviously not all) servers are running little
>> endian.   So this saves byte swapping for most people's cases and  
>> thus a
>> few cycles are spared on each request -- isn't that the whole  
>> point? ;)
> - -1.  Burden of proof is on those wanting host order to show  
> *measured*
> overhead on real workloads.

It's 1 single extra instruction (BSWAP) to convert each multibyte  
value. So the overhead is rather low.

My quick benchmark on this managed to do 20,000,000,000 htonls()  
(implemented as BSWAP) in 0.88 seconds.

On one hand it's almost no performance hit, on the other,  
intentionally adding any performance penalty seems like a bad call.  
It would make implementation somewhat simpler to only support network  
ordering, and supporting both orders is probably not going to be  
justified the performance gains, which I imagine will be close to 0.

+1 for network ordering only. (And I'm an Intel user ;)

More information about the memcached mailing list