Rate Limiting

Rate Limiting

Rate limiting in Swift is implemented as a pluggable middleware. Rate limiting is performed on requests that result in database writes to the account and container sqlite dbs. It uses memcached and is dependent on the proxy servers having highly synchronized time. The rate limits are limited by the accuracy of the proxy server clocks.


All configuration is optional. If no account or container limits are provided there will be no rate limiting. Configuration available:

Option Default Description
clock_accuracy 1000 Represents how accurate the proxy servers’ system clocks are with each other. 1000 means that all the proxies’ clock are accurate to each other within 1 millisecond. No ratelimit should be higher than the clock accuracy.
max_sleep_time_seconds 60 App will immediately return a 498 response if the necessary sleep time ever exceeds the given max_sleep_time_seconds.
log_sleep_time_seconds 0 To allow visibility into rate limiting set this value > 0 and all sleeps greater than the number will be logged.
rate_buffer_seconds 5 Number of seconds the rate counter can drop and be allowed to catch up (at a faster than listed rate). A larger number will result in larger spikes in rate but better average accuracy.
account_ratelimit 0 If set, will limit PUT and DELETE requests to /account_name/container_name. Number is in requests per second.
container_ratelimit_size ‘’ When set with container_ratelimit_x = r: for containers of size x, limit requests per second to r. Will limit PUT, DELETE, and POST requests to /a/c/o.
container_listing_ratelimit_size ‘’ When set with container_listing_ratelimit_x = r: for containers of size x, limit listing requests per second to r. Will limit GET requests to /a/c.

The container rate limits are linearly interpolated from the values given. A sample container rate limiting could be:

container_ratelimit_100 = 100

container_ratelimit_200 = 50

container_ratelimit_500 = 20

This would result in

Container Size Rate Limit
0-99 No limiting
100 100
150 75
500 20
1000 20

Account Specific Ratelimiting

The above ratelimiting is to prevent the “many writes to a single container” bottleneck from causing a problem. There could also be a problem where a single account is just using too much of the cluster’s resources. In this case, the container ratelimits may not help because the customer could be doing thousands of reqs/sec to distributed containers each getting a small fraction of the total so those limits would never trigger. If a system administrator notices this, he/she can set the X-Account-Sysmeta-Global-Write-Ratelimit on an account and that will limit the total number of write requests (PUT, POST, DELETE, COPY) that account can do for the whole account. This limit will be in addition to the applicable account/container limits from above. This header will be hidden from the user, because of the gatekeeper middleware, and can only be set using a direct client to the account nodes. It accepts a float value and will only limit requests if the value is > 0.


To blacklist or whitelist an account set:

X-Account-Sysmeta-Global-Write-Ratelimit: BLACKLIST


X-Account-Sysmeta-Global-Write-Ratelimit: WHITELIST

in the account headers.

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