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View Full Version : What kind of server specs do we need?


Eagle Creek
24 Oct 2006, 11:19
Howdy!

I need some advice. We want to have a new dedicated server, that's capable of serving our website without problems.. I'll give some details/wishes:

The current (vb 3.6) forum has:
Threads: 31,790
Posts: 1,584,195
Members: 6,868

Because of the changes we are planning to make we are expecting a rapidly growth the coming 6 months / 12 months.
The forum has some hacks enabled, but not that much (so that won't cause the forum too slow down).
The major hacks we will be using are vBookie (to make bets on (for example) soccer games), top 7 stats at the forums homepage and some little things..
At this moment we have about 200 forums. We expect at the end of the year (I don't mean 31-12-2006 but something about 01-12-2007, the year from the day we go online) have about <500 forums. Also we expect to have about 15.000 members.

But: The forum isn't the only thing. There will be a new website. The website and the forums will be integrated together. The website will give the ability to watch video's, view news, post replies, etc. etc..

Technical, here are some requirements:
Windows server (2003 Web Edition)
MSSQL server
MYSQL server
(PHP)

Functions:
Normal forum + website
Video uploading / streaming
E-mail server
FTP-server

The current server we are using is:
1x Intel Xeon 3.00 Ghz
1.00 GB of RAM
80 GB SCSI, no RAID.

We are having problems on a regular basis when we have lot users online. The server is taking up many amounts of RAM and the CPU is bouncing like a drunken bird.

What would you people advices us to do? At this time we only want to have one server that's up to the job..

woodysfj40
24 Oct 2006, 15:26
IMO, a single server is a inadequate choice for what you have....

My situation is similar...and I run on two servers now.

my next purchase will be:

web: dual Opteron 275's, 4gig memory, four 250GB SATA drives in Raid 10
db: dual Opteron 285's, 4gig memory, four 72GB 15k SCSI drives in Raid 10

Figgering $9k or so for both...my site is 1.5m posts, 16k users, etc....similar to yours...3000ish posts a day

Eagle Creek
24 Oct 2006, 15:53
Thans for your reply.. I'm confused.

Increase the RAM on the existing server to at least 2Gb, 4Gb if you can. RAM is the key, the rest of your server should be well up for the task.

The reason I said "new dedicated server" is because we may switch webhosts :).
So a server with about the same specs with more RAM (also my idea, RAM is the key :D) will be enough?
At busy times (and I'm talking about 400 people online at the same time) the CPU doesn't go below 60%.
In the past we had (other server, not ours) >1000 people online. Do u think the CPU is capable of handling this?

Ah, right, well remember that 400 people online at the same time isn't necessarily 400 people, depending on your vB cookie timeout it may be around half of that.

60% of CPU means there's 40% still free for future expansion! A Xeon 3Ghz should be well up to the task and of course if you start with that spec of hardware and are taking a dedicated server from your hosting company then you can always pay them more and upgrade processor later.

Of course, I've said this before and will say it again, there becomes a "break point" where it makes more economic sense to buy your own hardware up-front and then co-locate and use the money saved on hosting to eventually upgrade the hardware, that's what I'm planning on doing.

Ah, right, well remember that 400 people online at the same time isn't necessarily 400 people, depending on your vB cookie timeout it may be around half of that.
At that time I had a timeout of 30 seconds, so yes, it was almost 400 people :).
(at this moment it's 15 minutes, the 30 seconds where set by accident).


60% of CPU means there's 40% still free for future expansion! A Xeon 3Ghz should be well up to the task and of course if you start with that spec of hardware and are taking a dedicated server from your hosting company then you can always pay them more and upgrade processor later.
Roger..
I made a Terminal Server for a company before, that had 2x Dual Xeon (64 BIT) and 4 GB of RAM. The server was very powerful :-).
But I have to ask if the mainboard has the possibility of a second CPU I guess.

Of course, I've said this before and will say it again, there becomes a "break point" where it makes more economic sense to buy your own hardware up-front and then co-locate and use the money saved on hosting to eventually upgrade the hardware, that's what I'm planning on doing.
Of course :). And maybe multiple servers in the future.
But at this point, the things are only based on calculations and expectations. Although they are made with serious thinking, you never know what the future will bring to you :).

Thanks.

@ BigBoardAdmin.com
=======================

As you can see, he thinks one server will be up to the job....

At this moment we have about 1500-2000 posts a day.

I heared a Windows Webserver is using more recourses then a Linux server is at the same situation.
Because we need to use MSSQL, a Windows server is a requirement. But vB needs MYSQL.
Therefore we need this combination.

At this moment the plan is:
Xeon 3.00 Ghz, but with room to extend to a 2nd one in the future.
Minimum of 3 GB of RAM.
(And because of the video's I think some kind of RAID combination, larger disks? )

ALanJay
24 Oct 2006, 18:58
From the various comments on this forum and elsewhere the general view seems to be that once you get to a certain size splitting the system between mySQL server and web server seems to be a good policy.

Also there seems to be a view that Unix (FreeBSD/Linux etc) provides a very stable high performace platform for vBulletin.

At some point you are going to have to make that move if you belive the site will grow quickly then you probably want to ensure that your hardware will be usable in the future.

We have a very big site (8 front end HTML servers against a mySQL cluster) with our images offloaded to a separate server (well pair of them), but what we have learnt is that memory and disk performance is important.

The last batch of HTML servers we got were dual Opteron / 8Gb RAM with SCSI 320 / 15k hard disks.

This might be more than you need but the big problem you will have is that the first split between the front end HTML and the back end mySQL is easy as is spliting off the images. When you move to multipl front ends things will get more complicated so you want to put off that day until the last minute.

Today you can get quite reasonably priced high preformance servers so if you can afford go for a reasonable compromise. One thing to check is that the operating system you are using can actually use all the memory that the machine might have. Nothing more annoying that ending up with a machine and realising that the OS only can access part of the physical memory :)

Good luck.

Eagle Creek
24 Oct 2006, 22:20
Thanks for you reply.

First of all: It's maybe whise to use a MYSQL/MSSQL server (Windows) and a sepereated HTML ("") server (linux).
The problem at this moment is that the W3AP (IIS server proces) is taking up that huges amounts of memory every time, the system runs out of it (the swap file is about >2 GB).

I don't know if I can get permission at this moment to order two servers (guess not), so at this moment one powerfull one is the solution I guess.

And in real numbers? I don't have a real picture.. I mean: what's the load that the MYSQL has on the server and what's the load IIS (or Apache) will have?

At this moment: when I look at my task manager, it's both IIS and MYSQL that are taking up the memory and CPU time.

ALanJay
25 Oct 2006, 07:35
It sounds like you might be best served with a front end Unix server for HTML and mySQL - vBulletin etc and the current windows machine for the MS SQL application. Then when the new machine becomes a problem you can move off the mySQL aplication to a new new machine in 6 months time.

Eagle Creek
25 Oct 2006, 09:57
I think I'm only allowed to get one server at this moment, so it has to be a Windows server I guess..

Anyway: thanks for the input all.

Eagle Creek
05 Nov 2006, 23:20
Ok...... Plans changed a little bit in the meanwhile. Because of the costs of a dedicated server, with the selected specs (about €300 - 400€ /each/ month) we decided to look at other options.

At this moment the plan is to buy a server (2U), and with the use of VMware run a front end Unix server for HTML and mySQL - vBulletin etc and also a Windows machine for the MS SQL application.

The server selected at this moment is:
2X Intel Woodcrest Xeon 5310 2.0 Ghz 4MB 1333FSB CPU
6x Apacher 1 GB DDR2 667 FB-DIMM ECC Memory
4X Seagate 146GB 10.000 RPM SCSI SCA
RAID5

Paul M
05 Nov 2006, 23:54
We have (temporarily) been running on windows 2003 for the last 10 weeks - my experience of this indicates that Apache seems to use more resources and be slightly less stable than it is on Linux, however, MySQL runs just fine and seems to be just as stable as on linux.

Eagle Creek
06 Nov 2006, 22:07
Thanks for the input Paul.

If we have to run an Windows front end server, it would be running IIS. But like I've said, we're looking at other options now.