Bulk loading data and "Could not contact Riak Server" error

Kresten Krab Thorup krab at trifork.com
Wed Aug 3 17:14:56 EDT 2011

In my experience, there is little point in testing with less than N physical machines (when using replication factor N) + a load balancer.  Riak is designed to run on this, and performance will be miserable if you try to run on a single machine.   At first we tried running a number of virtual machines, but since disk i/o is usually the limiting factor, and Riak is fairly memory hungry in the default setup (and virtual machines are generally bad with memory hungry apps) that turned out as a terrible test setup.  Now we have a stack of mac minis in the dev team that we can use for running performance tests.  While they're not nearly as fast as the real servers, they are a much better predictor for performance characteristics.

To get loads fast we run many threads [~10 per target machine in our case] in the loader app, and make sure to either use a load balancer or do the load balancing in the client app.


On Aug 1, 2011, at 11:13 PM, gtuhl wrote:

> I am currently load testing Riak using riak_0.14.2-1_amd64.deb with
> fs.file-max set to 503840 for all users.
> I have a reasonably large set of data (hundreds of millions of documents,
> many terabytes in size) that is currently stored in a combination of
> PostgreSQL+Redis and Disco/DDFS.  The first for key/value and the second for
> map/reduce to satisfy the full set of user requirements.
> I am trying to consolidate these data sources so trying out a variety of
> different data stores with the potential of satisfying both usage types.
> With Riak, my main challenge is getting this data loaded.  Using the PHP
> library I am able to push 100-200 documents/sec.  Is there a recommended
> approach to bulk loading data?  At that pace it would take a couple months
> to load everything.  That is not necessarily a deal breaker, but wanted to
> sniff around for better options.
> Related to this, I did attempt to break up my records and load them with a
> bunch of concurrently running loaders.  This actually seems to work fairly
> well with not much of a penalty in terms of documents/sec on any single
> loader process.  But, once I reach 4-5 loaders running concurrently I
> consistently get the "Could not contact Riak Server" error and all of my
> loader processes die simultaneously.  If I wait a few seconds the Riak
> server does begin to respond again.
> Any idea for approaching this differently?  Is attempting to run many
> loaders concurrently a bad idea with Riak?
> I am running a single server right now while I test with bucket nval set to
> 1.
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