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New Server Required, any advise?

Server required.

8:01 am on Jun 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

I currently have the following server running:

Manufacturer Type
Intel 2.8 GHz
Seagate 80GB:IDE:7200RPM Barracuda
Generic 512 MB
Generic 512 MB
Generic 512 MB
Generic 512 MB
Unknown Onboard
Dell Dell 400SC

Type Vendor Name Version
Unknown Urchin Urchin 5
Unknown <hosting co.> DiskSync 5.0
Os Redhat Enterprise Linux - OS ES 3.0
ControlPanel SWsoft Plesk - Linux - 100 Domain 7.5

PHP 4.3.2
GD bundled (2.0.12 compatible)
MySQL server 3.23.58
MySQL client 3.23.58
Web server Apache/2.0.46 (Red Hat)

I run an eccommerce website, on the x-cart platform, which is obviously database driven, and am experiencing issues with timeouts, freezing and crashing. I'm sure i'm loosing a lot of custom too this, and the website is running far too slow. The components on the server are too old to easily upgrade, so I think it will be better to move to a new server. It's a dedicated server but I've had it for a number of years now.

Can I please have some advise over what server to run? Thanks in advance for your time with this. It's a great forum for those that have a little knowledge but not enough!


[edited by: bill at 12:57 am (utc) on Jun 17, 2010]
[edit reason] Removed hosting company name [/edit]

11:40 pm on Jun 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lammert is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Hi Paul, first of all Welcome to WebmasterWorld!

Your decision which server to upgrade to depends on the problems you have with your current server. A slow response can have several reasons. If your sites use a lot of database interaction, your disk could be too slow. The disk may also be running out of space which causes fragmentation of new files and a lot of seek actions to read in information from the disk.

With a script heavy site, it may be the processor which is slowing down the response. In that case the move to a multiple core server will help.

Another bottleneck can be your RAM. 2GB may be not enough to contain all your currently running processes. If the server runs out of RAM it will start to swap portions of temporarily unused memory to disk, which causes increased disk traffic and delays when those memory blocks are needed in RAM again.

To check which problem is currently slowing down your server you need shell access to the server to run some diagnostic utilities. Do you have SSH access to this server?
1:08 pm on Jun 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the advise, yes I do have shell access, what doyou suggest?
1:24 pm on Jun 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lammert is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

First of all the command free -m This will display the current memory usage. If you see a significant amount of memory used as swap, then RAM size could be your problem.

The next command is uptime. This gives three load average values. If these values are high (anything above twice the amount of CPU cores is suspicious), it is an indication that many processes are waiting in the run queue to be started. This doesn't necessarily mean that your CPU is overloaded. It can also indicate that processes are waiting in the queue because of an hard disk or network I/O activity which must be completed.

These two commands should be typically be used when the server is at normal load and hasn't been restarted for a while. Some other commands which give more detailed information are top and iostat, but the need for them depends on the outcome of free and uptime.
12:48 pm on Jun 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the advise,

I am considering the following two options, which would you say is best?

Option 1:
Dual Xeon 5520 - SATA
Monthly Price$329
x6 Drive Capacity
10000 GB Bandwidth
5 IPs
100 Mbps Uplink
<hosting co.> Storage Cloud
Second Intel Xeon 5520 2.26 GHz Quad Core Processor
2x Intel Xeon 5520 2.26 GHz Quad Core Processors
Red Hat Enterprise Linux - 5.x - 32 bit
Parallels Small Business Panel - Single User
Symantec Endpoint Protection for Windows - Antivirus for Linux
RAID 1 (2 drive min.)

A similar price but 12gb of ram and only 2000GB band width?

[edited by: bill at 12:56 am (utc) on Jun 17, 2010]
[edit reason] Removed hosting company name [/edit]

3:05 pm on Jun 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lammert is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Without knowing your current bottleneck and bandwidth usage it is difficult to advice. Running the tools mentioned in my previous message could provide some insights which investment would have the best result.
7:12 pm on Jun 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

As lammert says, without a more detailed analysis of your system, making a recommendation about a new server is very difficult.

I use a program called sysstat to collect various disk, network, memory and cpu metrics. Based on this data, you can see if you have a hardware limitation or not.

In some cases, the issue may not be your hardware but system configuration problems, corrupted database tables, or a poorly optimized system. In this case, moving to new hardware may not yield the results you desire.

As it looks like you have a growing business, you may want to find a server management company to help you out. There are many 3rd party server management firms that can help you with performance issues, service sizing and the migration itself.
7:02 am on Jun 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Sometimes it is not the hardware, but the software that is slowing down the system.
When you first installed your webserver and cart software, probably everything was running fine. Now over time as you got more and more customers and things slow down. Find out if there is a possibility to tune the software, clean up the database, get rid of abandoned shopping carts etc.
If nothing of the above helps, only then consider hardware alternatives

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