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One big server or several smaller ones?

Which is better for busy ASP website?

   
10:26 pm on Oct 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Hi Guys,

I have a busy ASP based website that is outgrowing the windows 2003 dedicated server that it's currently on.

I'm looking to upgrade my server with my current hosting company but generally speaking, would I be better going for a single big server (specs below) or several smaller servers and using round robin dns to share the load between them?

"Big Server" Option:

Dual 2.8GHz Xeon Processors
273GB SCSI RAID 5 Hard Drive
2GB RAM (+2 gigs free RAM)
1,250GB Bandwidth

$499/mo per server

"Smaller Servers" Option (I'd have 3 or 4 of these):

3.06GHz P4 HT Processor
120GB IDE Hard Drive
1GB RAM (+ 1 gig free RAM)
500GB Bandwidth

$169/mo per server

Any opinions on whether I'd be better using a single more powerful machine or several smaller ones?

The current problems I'm running into are things like the amount of RAM the website consumes when things get real busy, and Windows apparent inability to make use of more than X amount of RAM per application pool. I currently have to keep recycling the applications pools every 60 minutes or so and I thought using several servers and distributing the load between them could be a way around this.

2:12 am on Oct 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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



Having several smaller servers is more robust. It's also a lot more work. Round robin dns as you noted, syncing, backups, bleh. Lots of work. If you're able to handle the technology, clearly smaller servers is a better solution. But that's a big 'if'.
11:24 am on Oct 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



The tech part isn't a problem and if several smaller servers is the better solution, I think I'll seriously consider this.

[edited by: JuDDer at 11:24 am (utc) on Oct. 25, 2007]

12:28 pm on Oct 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



id probaly go for multiple servers as there isnt a single point of faliure.

clasicly a lot of pople say that have a group of webservers and then put the back end database on redundant hardware or have a second group of higher spec database servers that replicate the daatabase.

It relay depends on how the database driving the site works and how robust you can makethe replication work.