It is amazing what one tweet can start. In 24 hours, we saw nearly 15,000 visitors to a webpage hosted on an Apple TV. The surprising result was that nothing crashed, nothing died, nothing even got warm to the touch. There were times when the web page would time out, but once lighttpd caught back up it kept on with its zippy self.
We’d like to thank everyone who tweeted and blogged about this project. A special thanks goes out to macstories.net, cultofmac.com, osxdaily.com, and slashdot.org.
If you watched the blog comments and tweets you’d see that some people experienced some slow downs and timeouts. Lighttpd never crashed and the machine kept running during the entire test. The other bottleneck seemed to be the web server software itself. We did mention the errors logged, but it just seemed like if there were enough people trying to bring it down, it would have to work through the requests before returning back to normal.
- The Apple TV really surprised us and there are a few reasons why we think it did so well:
- It was a single static HTML page stored in the aTV’s flash storage.
- iOS itself is a minimal OS compared to a traditional Server OS.
- The test would have gone even better if:
- We put it in the datacenter before tweeting.
- We optimized the web page and minimized js/css.
- We had a script to watch the aTV vitals in more detail.
- The Apple TV would be a great webserver if:
- There were more built in tools like top, vim, etc.
- Firewall software would be nice.
- Overall there was more control over the software running.
- It didn’t require starting from scratch and jailbreaking if a software update was needed.