I work for social network company, where we were running optimization
project. One of it's results is patch to Zend engine's Hashtable, which we
want to share and ask you for comments and improvements.
Why we do this?
We run profiling on our production servers and found out that zend_hash_*
functions take 10-20% CPU time of request. So there is some room for easy
What was done?
- Hash function in zend_hash.h was rebuilt and became much faster, without
losing the most important properties.
- Hashtable implementation was changed from Simple chaining to Open
addressing with linear probing, but with linked bucket, not included in
hash array, which causes:
-- Bucket structure to lose 2 pointers.
-- Searching works similar, but don't have to jump with pointers stored in
different memory locations, inserting, deleting and rehashing don't need
to update linked list, but must search for first empty bucket, which is
fast, because it scans continuous memory.
-- Load factor decreases from 1.0 to 0.5-0.75 to make less collisions and
faster hashtable, which in turn increases memory footprint a little.
- Open addressing doesn't change significantly performance, but next thing
was to create new array (arEmpty), which is of size nTableSize bytes,
which keeps track of used/empty buckets and makes inserting and rehashing
much faster. In future it can be tested as bit-array with size of
- More macros were added to replace repetitive constructs.
- New constants were added to allow:
-- Creating new hashtables of size at least X (where 4 and 8 are
reasonable), which makes no rehashing and reallocing memory while changing
size to 2 and then to 4.
-- For small tables it's better to extend them by a factor of 4 times, not
2, to make rehashing cost smaller for most hashtables, of cost of little
higher memory consumption.
-- For large tables it's better to have other load factor, closer to 1,
while for small tables it's better to use load factor closer to 0.5.
- APC was patched to take changes in Bucket structure into account.
How was it tested?
It was tested with make test, where one more (comparing to original
sources) test fails, but it's most probably because
http://bugs.php.net/bug.php?id=48858 - IMO test is badly constructed (is
too simple) and any change of hashing function makes it fail. Also it was
tested on our testing environment and production servers against >30mln
requests to our site, with 120requests/s at peak on Xeon @ 2.50GHz with
8GB RAM running Debian Linux.
What is the gain?
After tests CPU usage dropped by about 4% -6%.
Memory footprint goes up just by few percent.
What can be done in future?
- Make new constants configurable by php.ini.
- Test if changing arEmpty from byte-array to bit-array helps on
- Tweak default constants' values using some real-live benchmarks.
- Prove (or modify and prove) hash function to have property, that it has
no collisions if two keys don't differ on no more than 6 bytes, which will
lead to memcmp omit first (or last) 6 bytes of key. Also simpler thing may
be proven, that is it has no collisions if two keys are not longer than 6
bytes, which will make most string keys omit memcpy at all.
The patch was created and tested against php-5.3.0, apc-3.1.3p1, then
merged with php-5.3.4, apc-3.1.6 without conflicts, and for these last
versions patches are attached. Also, it shouldn't conflict with