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A new "Low-Ping" server or "15k SA-SCSI"? Which one is better?

6:04 pm on Aug 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:June 27, 2004
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Hi there,

Hosted on a US dedicated server, I have a website with:

10k visitors/day
2 Million hits/day
A total of 40,000 files
- 15,000 html files in one folder
- 25,000 images in one folder (this directory structure will stay the same)
..also huge web server logs due to those high number of hits..

Planning to move on to a new server, and I'm wondering which one will be a better choice if you take the future growth of the website into consideration.. A much faster, 15k SA-SCSI harddisk, or a server with low ping times?
Most of my visitors are from European countries and moving to a UK server will reduce ping times at least 50%-60%.

I noticed at the website of UK dedicated server company that their website really looks fast as the ping time between my home and the server in the UK is low. But that was their website and unfortunately I'm not sure if my website will be that fast if I move on to their servers.

On the other hand there is one other dadicated server plan, again in US (as my server now) so the ping times will stay the same, will not be shortened but this company has 15k SA-SCSI's that fit my budget.

Which one would you choose?
I believe my harddisk is spinning like crazy both for trying to deliver the images (30 thumbs at a page) and writing log files at the same time...
..or... a UK server with a lower ping (with 7200RPM SerialATA HDD)

both servers will have 2Gigs of ram, etc.. all other specs will be the same (100Mbit port, etc)

9:31 pm on Aug 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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joined:Apr 30, 2005
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Personally, I'd try to get a server nearer where your visitors are from. If your pages are not too dynamic, have you considered a caching proxy like squid for example? That might help.

Going forward, I'd consider trying to implement a more efficient directory structure if possible.

[edited by: FalseDawn at 9:33 pm (utc) on Aug. 19, 2006]

9:56 pm on Aug 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jtara is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:Nov 26, 2005
votes: 0

Go with the one located near your users.

If you feel you are challenging your hard drive, the easy fix is to use multiple hard drives. This will probably do a bit better than an upgrade to a 15K drive.

On the other hand, SCSI drives today are marketed exclusively for the server market, so you can be sure of getting a rugged drive engineered for continuous use. SATA drives are sold to multiple markets, and they certainly aren't all "server quality". Hopefully, your host knows the difference.

11:11 pm on Aug 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Oct 16, 2003
votes: 0

I believe my harddisk is spinning like crazy

If that's really true (quite possibly, it isn't), then the solution is not a faster drive. Whether Apache or IIS, lots of things go to hell rapidly when your working set no longer fits comfortably in RAM.

Since you're image intensive, one simple fix is to just offload some or all your graphics onto one or more separate servers (e.g., "graphics.mydomain.com"). These can have relatively cheapo hard disks and relatively cheapo CPUs -- they just have to have a big chunk of memory (2GB for sure, 4GB if you can).

You also probably don't need the log info that tells you every time /foo.html is loaded, each of the 16 thumbnail URLS it refers to are loaded as well, so you might consider not logging fetches to those URLs.

If your graphics change relatively infrequently, then you can also probably get a noticeable (but not large) improvement by making sure your server transmits headers that tells clients they are free to cache those images for a reasonable period of time (e.g., days, weeks, months, whatever you can allow).


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