Chris's coding blog

High performance and scaling ASP.NET Core 1.1 and Docker

August 17, 2018

For a recent project I was part of, we were given the NFR (non-functional requirement) of having a cluster of ASP.NET Core Docker containers able to scale up to ~100,000 requests per minute.

Easy right? Just add more containers??

Unfortunately not, it was far more involved than that (particularly as the orchestration tool chosen wasn’t particularly easy to scale with).

We learned a lot while soak testing, and regrettably with live traffic too, exactly how sensitive .NET Core applications at this scale are to the smallest contention issue with threading, networking and also tweaks to the Docker container and the orchestration tool (ECS in this case).

One of these was the ulimit default you have on a container. This is the number of open file handles the container instance can have open.

The default was something around the 100 mark, something we needed to increase into the thousands.

More information can be found here on Ubuntu Stackexchange. There were half a dozen other issues which I could go into more detail - HttpClient problems, containers crashing silently from being out of resources but they were all eventually resolved. In .NET 2.1 (the current LTS version) everything was ironed out and the only real issue we suffered was feature-limitations of ECS.


I'm Chris Small, a software engineer working in London. This is my tech blog. Find out more about me via GithubStackoverflowResume