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1:57 am on Aug 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Seeking some recommendations from experienced users on setting up a web based business. Initially the plan would involve two servers, one with Apache, and the other with a DB (Postgresql or MySql). From my limited networking understanding, these two boxes can then be cabled together for backend communication.

Where my knowledge runs shallow: I would like to place these two machines behind a Firewall, then Port Forward the HTTPD port 80 to the Apache server.

Is this sort of scenario possible? Are their potential bottlenecks if the servers get busy?

I have found tidbits of information here and their but it mostly focuses on one topic, have not found anything which draws it all-together.

Thanks for the comments, suggestions or recommendations, any questions to elaborate on and I will post a follow-up.

7:00 pm on Aug 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'm sure it's possible. The right way? Not sure.

I believe it's the general case that linux webservers don't sit behind a firewall. You firewall and secure the box itself; linux is built ready for this stuff.

For example,you'll tell the linux kernel to drop all traffic not on port 80 (though you'll probably need more than port 80 - you need a port open to logon at least, and maybe one for DNS. And port 443 if you're doing SSL, and so on, but yeah, lock everything not being used).

More importantly, when you set up a new server get a list of all active and running processes. Review each one and if it's not required, turn it off.

The only time I've had my webserver behind a firewall, it was a pain, not a help.

I don't think this is a bottleneck either. Again, linux has this firewalling built right into the kernel. It's built for this.

I'd also question the need for a second DB server. Yes, folks do this,but do it only after you have the volume to require it. I don't think the setup is hard, you tell the database server and software to accept external queries in the config file, then open up a backend port on the apache server to talk to the database server. Personally, I would at least consider at that point going to some sort of VM solution where two computers run in parallel, then splitting the tasks (i.e. two identical computers running at once each handling half th eload, rather than two computers running seperate services).

In any regard, I would first ask the question if any of this is absolutely necessary. If it's not, you're in for an awful pile more work than just setting up a regular old webserver with a database running right on it. And I think you'll be surprised at the load that an apache/mysql webserver will handle. Hundreds of hits a second sustained I bet, if I had to guess.


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