Load-Balancing TACTIC

TACTIC runs on a multi-threaded application server ("Cherrypy"), but this application server uses Python threads and not system threads. This means that all of the threads in a single python process run on the same processor.

To overcome this limitation, you should run a number of full TACTIC processes across a number of different ports and allow the webserver to load-balance requests across these ports.

This document describes to how configure load balancing with HTTP Apache.

Configure TACTIC

By default in the the TACTIC configuration file has process count is set to 3. Add this entry if it does not exist.


For large deployments, you will need to increase the process count. Reccomended settings are as follows:

  • Small-sized team (<20 users): 3 processes
  • Medium-sized team (20-150 users): 5 processes
  • Large-sized team (>150+ users): 10+ processes

The processes should not exceed the number of the CPUs on the server by more than one. For example, if the server has 4 CPUs, set the process count to 5.

Restart the TACTIC service after configuration.

Configure HTTP Apache

You can configure Apache for Load Balancing using the Proxy Balancer module or the ReWriteRule.


Warning: For load balancing, only use either:

1) the Proxy Balancer method (recommended)


2) the RewriteRule method (not recommended).

Do not use both methods at the same time.

Apache Proxy Balancer

The first way (recommended way) is to make use of Apache’s proxy_balancer_module . Ensure it is already enabled in the main Apache config file in /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf. In the tactic.conf file (provided with the TACTIC installation usually placed near the Apache 2 installation config area like /etc/httpd/conf.d/.. or /etc/apache2/..), make sure these lines below are present. This set-up corresponds to a process_count of 3 in the tactic.conf file. If there are more, you just have to add more*BalancerMember* line accordingly.

ProxyPreserveHost on

# Using the ProxyPass directives
<Proxy balancer://tactic>
  BalancerMember http://localhost:8081/tactic
  BalancerMember http://localhost:8082/tactic
  BalancerMember http://localhost:8083/tactic
ProxyPass /tactic balancer://tactic
ProxyPass /projects balancer://tactic

This method is more desirable as it doesn’t need the load_balance.txt required for the second method. In addition, it is mandatory if the process_time_alive directive is used under services in the TACTIC config file in /home/apache/projects/config/tactic_linux-conf.xml.

Restart the Apache service after configuration.

Apache ReWriteRule

The second way (old way) is to make use of Apache’s rewrite_module. In the tactic.conf file (provided with the TACTIC installation usually placed near the Apache 2 installation config area like /etc/httpd/conf.d/.. or /etc/apache2/..), comment out the lines under "for cherrypy":

# for cherrypy
#RewriteRule ^/tactic/(.+)$ http://localhost:8081/tactic/$1 [P,L]
#RewriteRule ^/tactic http://localhost:8081/tactic/ [P,L]
#RewriteRule ^/projects/(.+)$ http://localhost:8081/tactic/$1 [P,L]
#RewriteRule ^/projects http://localhost:8081/tactic/ [P,L]

Then in the same file uncomment the lines for the random load balancing scheme:

# This is for using a random load_balancing scheme
RewriteMap lb rnd:/home/apache/sites/load_balance.txt
RewriteRule ^/tactic/(.+)$ http://${lb:dynamic}/tactic/$1 [P,L]
RewriteRule ^/projects/(.+)$ http://${lb:dynamic}/tactic/$1 [P,L]
RewriteRule ^/tactic http://${lb:dynamic}/tactic/ [P,L]
RewriteRule ^/projects http://${lb:dynamic}/tactic/ [P,L]

These lines will look at the file “/home/apache/sites/load_balance.txt” to find out how to replace the variable $\{lb:dynamic} with a randomly chosen value from a list.

Note: The path for load_balance.txt cannot have spaces in it or Apache service will not start.

A sample load_balance.txt file looks like the following:

## load_balance.txt -- rewriting map
dynamic localhost:8081|localhost:8082|localhost:8083

The process_count being set to 3 corresponds to the three processes running at port 8081, 8082, 8083 respectively. You can see the three startup.py processes by running:

ps -wef | grep python

The higher the process_count is set, the more memory is needed in the system. If you set it to 10 for heavier usage, the load_balance.txt should look like this:

## this is in one line in the file
dynamic localhost:8081|localhost:8082|localhost:8083|localhost:8084|localhost:8085|localhost:8086

Restart the Apache service after configuration.