Scaling Laravel Applications with Octane by@pretzels

Scaling Laravel Applications with Octane

Laravel Octane is a high performance HTTP server built on top of the Laravel framework. Octane uses Swoole or Roadrunner as its underlying engine, so it's able to handle thousands of concurrent connections with ease. There are many benefits to using Octane, such as improved performance, reduced resource usage, and the ability to scale horizontally. But there are also some caveats to be aware of before using it in production. In this article, we'll discuss the opportunities, benefits and caveats of using it to scale a Laravel application.
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Laravel Octane is a high-performance HTTP server built on top of the Laravel framework. It provides a simple, elegant way to scale Laravel applications. Octane uses Swoole or Roadrunner as its underlying engine, so it's able to handle thousands of concurrent connections with ease.


There are many benefits to using Octane, such as improved performance, reduced resource usage, and the ability to scale horizontally. However, there are also some caveats to be aware of before using Octane in production. In this article, we'll discuss the opportunities, benefits and caveats of using Laravel Octane to scale a Laravel application.

What is Laravel Octane and how does it work?

Laravel Octane is a tool that speeds up the serving of Laravel applications. It does this by reducing the amount of time it takes to compile and serve individual requests. It does that by booting your app once and then keeping it in memory to speed up requests faster than ever before.

Under the hood, it uses Open Swool, Swool, or Roadrunner to boot the app and serve it.

Open Swool or Swool

Swoole is a software development kit that enables developers to create high-performance, scalable network applications. Open Swoole is a fork of the Swoole framework, which started in late 2021 because of some disagreement inside the developing community of swoole. If you want to dig deeper into what swoole is, you can read about it here.

Roadrunner

RoadRunner is an open-source (MIT licensed) high-performance, serviceable PHP application server that can be used to replace classic Nginx setups with much greater performance and flexibility. It is written in Golang.

With Swoole or RoadRunner in place, we now have a worker for each incoming HTTP request. This means that only the first one will bootstrap our Framework (including all service providers) while every other can make use of a ready-to-go worker-instance, which is what makes it so insanely fast!

The benefits of using Octane to scale Laravel applications

Octane speeds up Laravel applications by caching data and objects in memory. So even with no other alterations to hardware or infrastructure, Laravel Octane can improve the performance of your app by up to 30%. This gain is achieved by eliminating the disk reads, process forks, and other overhead associated that happens when the framework is booted up on every request. That way, Octane can handle thousands of concurrent connections with ease. This makes it ideal for applications that receive a lot of traffic or need to be highly available. On top on that, this cost-effective way can be expected to be liked by any business, start-up or enterprise.


In a best-case scenario, you don't even need to make changes to your codebase. But this depends heavily on how your application is structured.

Potential caveats of using Laravel Octane

If you're thinking of using Octane to scale your Laravel application, there are a few things to be aware of. Octane is not compatible with all Laravel applications. In particular, it doesn't work with applications that use session states or certain types of middleware.


Finally, while Octane can improve performance, it won't necessarily solve all your performance problems. If your application is already struggling to keep up with traffic, Octane may not be enough to save it. In that case, you'll need to consider other options, such as horizontal scaling.

Necessary refactorings

If your application uses session state or certain types of middleware, you'll need to make some changes to your code before you can use Octane. In particular, you'll need to add support for Swoole's coroutine-based sessions and remove any middleware that isn't compatible with Swoole.

Other changes that need to be made include the dependency injection container. I suggest you check the official laravel documentation on this.

How are code changes are handled?

Octane provides a convenient way to automatically watch your codebase for changes and restart the Octane server without any manual interventions. This means that you can make developments more easily by changing codes in one place instead of having to stop/start an entire application instance each time there's something new in your codebase.

Alternatives to Laravel Octane

Laravel Octane is a great tool for scaling Laravel applications, but it's not the only option. There are other options available that may be more suitable for your needs. Here are some alternatives to consider:

More hardware = more performance

Just to mention it, we do not recommend this. This is the easiest, the least cost-effective, and the least future-proof method of scaling: Just throw more hardware performance at your project. This has the obvious downsides of higher running costs, the need to migrate to a different server, and the fact that you are not able to scale on demand with this setup.

Nginx Load Balancing with or without AWS

To build a scalable web application with Laravel on Amazon Web Services, AWS can be used to automatically scale the app to several instances that share one MySQL database. All of these servers would use one Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS).


Scaling with AWS has been around for some time and it works well. But its costs can sometimes not be transparent. Compared to Octane, this goes with the same principle of how it works, but it is not as effective as Octane would be. A benefit is definitely that you can scale your existing code as-is. No Octane-specific changes are needed.

Conclusion

Laravel Octane is a great way to scale your Laravel application. It's easy to use and can improve performance without needing to make changes to your codebase. However, it's not compatible with all applications and may not be enough to save an already struggling app. If you're considering using Octane, be sure to do your research and consider all your options before making a decision.


When you have Laravel Octane in place, watch out for the badge "Laravel Octane Compatible" on packages you add to your project. This means that the package is tested to work with Laravel Octane out of the box and will save you time configuring it to work properly. Be aware that not all packages might now or place the badge even though they might be compatible.


Credits to Bill Jelen for the great picture.


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