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Web server? Good specs or look elsewhere

Dell Poweredge 850

6:29 am on Jul 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'm about to purchase this server for our web site to run.

Right now we get about 500 unique hits a day and run a very intensive mysql site.

We are on a SC420 with a Celeron 2.4 gHz now and don't see much trouble but it does get sluggish at times.

The PowerEdge is configured as follows:

Penium 4 (64 bit) 3.2 Ghz
2 40 GB SATA Drives for mirroring
6 Channel Hardware Raid Card
Windows Server 2003 Web Edition

This is a lot more powerful then what we are on and I hope to achive at least 1000 unique visits a day thus a double of the load on there now.

How many would this type of box handle? I could go with a Xeon, but I like this one as configured for the price.

7:43 am on July 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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That should easily manage 1000 unique visitors a day, the old server I used was only a 1.4 celeron but it was easily managing over 20000 uniques a day and 3gb of downloads.

That was a linux machine though.

4:39 pm on July 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If you check Microsoft's page: [microsoft.com...]
which covers the different editions of Server 2003, you'll see right away that the web edition does NOT support 64 bit computing. You'll be spending money for no reason there.

Also, you are limited to 2Gig of RAM with web edition. If your site keeps growing and so does the number of database queries, you'll run into your RAM limitation.

Also, from the mySQL site regarding windows 2003 edition compatibility:

Windows XP (AMD64) LS
Windows XP (EM64T) LS
Windows 2000 (x86) CS
Windows XP (x86) FS
Windows 2003 (IA64) LS
Windows 2003 (AMD64) LS
Windows 2003 (x86) FS

FS = Full support
CS = Conditionally Supported
LS = Limited Support

Q. What is Limited Support (LS)?
A: These are specific operating system and hardware combinations for which mySQL provides only limited support. For this tier, mySQL does not have the target OS/hardware; and mySQL does not build binaries for these combinations; and mySQL does not test on these platforms. The mySQL Support Team will use commercially reasonable efforts to attempt to provide technical support for these platforms, but with the customer's acknowledgement that there may be scenarios that cannot be resolved due to the above limitations.

Note the fact that the 64 bit version of Server 2003 has limited support and mySQL might not function correctly in that environment. Also, the only certified binary they have for Windows is for the x86.

Guess its decision time or back to the drawing board.

Hope this helps.

[edited by: SEOMike at 4:50 pm (utc) on July 19, 2005]

4:47 pm on July 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It's going to be windows 32 bit version. I think the chip is also 32 bit but has Intel's 64 bit memory extension. I'm using Windows 2003 web edition sucessfully now, so I hope that it continues to work well. Thanks though for the great info!
4:52 pm on July 19, 2005 (gmt 0)


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Put more RAM in it. Anything I put in production nowadays has at least 4 GB of RAM.

My laptop has more RAM than your proposed server. ;-)

limited to 2Gig of RAM with web edition

Yup. Go with standard edition.


Why a Dell?

Let's do it this way - what's your budget?

5:08 pm on July 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I think you're probably oversubscribed.for 500-1000 visits a day. That's like 3 visits a minute.

You should consider two changes to that machine, just because you're putting your business on a lightweight machine. First, as noted, put in way more memory. 1 gig is probably fine, but still, it's a fast and cheap way to solve a lot of problems. Second, spend the money on scsi drives. Still faster and more reliable that sata drives - that's why once you leave the lower end Dell servers you'll only find scsi is the only option.

6:18 pm on July 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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SATA 7200 RPM Drives are about as fast as an average SCSI drive today as far as thoughput as far as I know. I added a 3rd drive to and ordered a hardware 6 channel SATA controller to set up RAID 5.

I'll probably start with just 1 GIG of RAM and add more as needed. I can track the page ins/outs to see when it's necessary.

Compared to what I'm on now, it's light years ahead.

For example

Pentium 4 3.2 (2MB L2) vs Celeron 2.4 (128K L2)
RAID 5 SATA vs Single 40G
Dual Ethernet vs Single Ethernet