I am in the process of evaluating which option to choose for a new production deployment of a Sinatra application.

jruby vs ruby

Pros and Cons of the implementations:

JRuby Stack:


• Fast for serial execution once warmed up.
• Multi-threaded, easy to scale with spiked traffic / shared resources.


• Slow warm up time, app restarts can really hurt.
• Single process is a single point of failure.

MRI Ruby Stack:


• Starts off fast, with no warmup time.
• Scaled via processes, no single point of failure.


• Slower than JRuby in serial execution.
• Single Process, no shared resources (Possibly using more memory over time).

These tests are run against a real-world application that is soon to be released, not some dummy “hello world” application.

Application Background:

Sinatra / HAML templates (not compiled, rendered per request) / CouchDB / R18N Translation

Server Specifications:

OS: OpenSolaris – SNV98
Hardware: 8Gig / Quad Core Xeon x5355

MRI Stack:
Ruby 1.8.7 (2008-08-11 patchlevel 72)
Nginx Passenger 2.2.4
Passenger Config: passenger_max_pool_size 8, passenger_use_global_queue on

Java Stack:
JRuby 1.3.1 (ruby 1.8.6p287) (2009-06-15 6586)
JDK Flags: -server -Xverify:none -XX:MaxPermSize=96m -XX:+AggressiveOpts -Xss128k -Xms256m -Xmx384m -XX:+UseParallelGC -XX:+UseParallelOldGC
JDK 1.7.0 b67

Here are the results. I have taken the best time out of 10 runs, giving enough time for the JDK to warmup and passenger to load all the children. The results are clipped for brevity.

Benchmark command:

ab -n1000 -c10 http://service/

JRuby Results:

Requests per second: 85.97 [#/sec] (mean)
Time per request: 116.316 [ms] (mean)
Time taken for tests: 11.632 seconds
Memory Use After Test: 437M (RSS)

MRI Results:

Requests per second: 118.85 [#/sec] (mean)
Time per request: 84.142 [ms] (mean)
Time taken for tests: 8.414 seconds
Memory Use After Test: 264M (RSS)

Conclusions and final thoughts:

Seems like MRI Ruby has a 39% performance advantage on JRuby executing my application. I am still a bit skeptical if MRI Ruby would still win out in production when it turns into a long running process marathon with varied traffic patterns. At the end of the day the JVM currently has the edge in garbage collection on MRI Ruby, so in “theory” JRuby should be the better choice. This is all a hypothetical guesstimate[sic] on my behalf. I will most likely end up trying both variants in production and see which works best.