Making Drupal Go Fast with Varnish and Pressflow

Accepted Session
Long Form
Scheduled: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 from 10:00 – 11:45am in Fremont


You've launched your new web site and it's starting to get some attention. You've tuned your database and optimized your HTTP daemon, but what if it's not enough to keep up with all the hits you're getting? We'd like to introduce you to your two new best friends: Varnish and Pressflow.


Are you ready if your web site gets popular or goes viral? A site that was happily handling a few thousand page views a day can very suddenly find itself struggling to handle hundreds of thousands of hits. The combination of Pressflow’s enhancements to Drupal and Varnish’s lightning-fast cache provide a free and open source way to exponentially increase the amount of traffic a Drupal-based web site can serve, allowing you to meet the demand without additional expensive hardware. During the session, we will cover the following topics:

  • What Pressflow is and how it is different from the Drupal content management system
  • What Varnish is and what it can do to help
  • Why Pressflow+Varnish may be a good option for your web site
  • Tips and tools for tuning and optimizing your configuration to make the most out of your precious server resources
  • Lessons learned – what not to do
  • Real-world examples from live sites running Pressflow and Varnish

The open source Drupal content management system powers numerous prominent web sites including:

  • President Obama’s White House web site
  • Linux Journal
  • Zappos

Pressflow and Varnish are being used by some of the largest Drupal sites in the world:

  • The Economist Online
  • NBC Universal Bravo TV
  • The Grammy Awards

Speaking experience


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    Rudy Grigar

    OSU Open Source Lab


    Rudy was sucked in to the world of open source in the late 90s playing QuakeWorld. He soon discovered a passion for Open Source software, Linux, and system administration. This naturally led him to the OSU Open Source Lab where he learned all things system administration; specifically with Apache, MySQL, Drupal and all of the bits in between.

    He has since worked as a Performance Engineer for Tag1 Consulting, designing scalable systems for high traffic Drupal websites, as well as a Systems Engineer for Acquia where he managed an infrastructure with over 2500 EC2 instances.

    Rudy is now back at the Open Source Lab where he works with a small team of full time staff and students hosting some of the worlds most exciting Open Source projects.


  • Gchaix 320

    Greg Lund-Chaix



    Greg has nearly two decades of experience as a developer, system administrator, and technical manager. Currently Greg is part of the team at Squishymedia, designing and building elegant information systems to government, nonprofit, and health care organizations. Prior to joining Squishymedia, Greg was part of the leadership team at the Oregon State University Open Source Lab providing infrastructure and support to many of the world’s leading open source projects.