Performance: the Google approach

Performance has a real meaning at Google, we all know that, demonstration is made every day.

Let’s take a moment to learn from the Google approach in this matter.

Let’s first start by a technical session by Brett Slatkin (Google),it introduce techniques you can use to improve your application’s performance:


Once you saw this video you understood things goes dofferently at Google (in case you didn’t knew).

Yet every engineers had a list of performance figures to keep in mind (figures from the Google AppEngine perspective, but still generally applicable). Jeffrey Dean (Google) is responsible for this ‘Numbers Everyone Should Know’ list:

  • L1 cache reference 0.5 ns
  • Branch mispredict 5 ns
  • L2 cache reference 7 ns
  • Mutex lock/unlock 100 ns
  • Main memory reference 100 ns
  • Compress 1K bytes with Zippy 10,000 ns
  • Send 2K bytes over 1 Gbps network 20,000 ns
  • Read 1 MB sequentially from memory 250,000 ns
  • Round trip within same datacenter 500,000 ns
  • Disk seek 10,000,000 ns
  • Read 1 MB sequentially from network 10,000,000 ns
  • Read 1 MB sequentially from disk 30,000,000 ns
  • Send packet CA->Netherlands->CA 150,000,000 ns


The obvious things:

  • The scales of those differences: they are huge
  • Memory is is the target for high performance,then network is faster than disks
  • Writes are 40 times expensive than reads
  • Compression must be cheap and prior to network transfer