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Basic comparison between Python async and sync function

Async operation will really speed up your code for blocking I/O operations or networks requests. But it requires to work carefully with "event loop" and code might get complicated.

Synchronous/Blocking IO: Sequential execution:

In synchronous operations everything is simple, you have a code that working step by step on each operation your resources are blocked till that operation will not return control to the program.

Asynchronous execution:

All Python code executes in the main request thread, but the main advantage of the asynchronous operation is that I/O does not block it, and multiple I/O or other async tasks can execute concurrently. Usually, 90% of the time program spends on I/O, database, network operations.

The reordering of different task instructions in this way allows you to hide I/O latency. So while one task is currently sitting at an I/O instruction (e.g., waiting for data), another task's instruction, with hopefully less latency, can execute in the meantime.

Test results:

sync: python 2.7.10 + requests library; async: python 3.6 + iohttp with asyncio; loop script: python test.

1 request:


sync$ time python > /dev/null0.107u 0.051s 0:00.64 23.4% 0+0k 0+0io 0pf+0w


async$ time python > /dev/null0.195u 0.049s 0:00.68 30.8% 0+0k 0+0io 0pf+0w

For 1 request we won't see any big difference and sometimes async operation can take even more time to execute, but let's check in 10 iterations.

10 requests:


sync$ time python 10 > /dev/null0.451u 0.065s 0:05.50 9.2%  0+0k 0+0io 0pf+0w


async$ time python 10 > /dev/null0.218u 0.031s 0:01.77 13.5% 0+0k 0+0io 0pf+0w

Here we can see that async execution finished in 2 sec versus a traditional method that finished in 6 sec.

1000 requests:


sync$ time python 1000 > /dev/null37.998u 1.166s 9:31.52 6.8% 0+0k 0+0io 277pf+0w


async$ time python 1000 > /dev/null2.221u 0.231s 2:03.71 1.9%  0+0k 49+0io 695pf+0w

Almost 10 min vs 2 min.
Now, let's say we have a real application with millions of requests per day. The payoff is obvious.