• Status: Solved
  • Priority: Medium
  • Security: Public
  • Views: 226
  • Last Modified:

How Much Juice Do I Need?

I'll explain my needs, and hopefully someone can tell me what kind of configuration I will need.

I am designing a web page in PHP (LAMP configuration) that will allow 12 separate retailers to store their entire inventories online.  Each retailer will use the site to check out customers at each transaction.  These are hobby stores, and I estimate that each inventory will have about 300-500 items.  In addition, each retailer will do about 10-20 transactions (like checking out a customer) per hour.  Sometimes, though, a retailer might want to browse/sort his entire inventory and to do reports on the entire inventory.

One VERY important note:  Every single transaction is done over SSL.

I know that this is a difficult question to answer, but could someone give me a vague idea of how much computing power I will need?   Right now I do not have a dedicated server.  Instead, I am running in a virtual server environment provided by olm.net.  Please go to www.olm.net and look at their lowest-priced VPS plan.  That's what I have.

One more question:  Now let's change the assumptions and assume that I am going to have 50 retailers instead of 12.  Now what kind of configuration will I need?

I know that it's difficult to be specific.  Really I'm just looking for general ideas at this point.  I'm assigning 500 points to this question because it is quite urgent in timeframe.

Thanks in advance for the advice!
0
michaeltk26
Asked:
michaeltk26
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • +1
3 Solutions
 
crackyCommented:
The e-vpsvalue looks like it would handle the traffic you speak of comfortably. I would not expect huge traffic initially. The beauty of these plans is that it's really easy to add resources in an instant. They simply allocate you more RAM as needed.

Obviously, 50 retailers would need more resources.

Remember that it's not really the number of sites / databases that affect your server performance, but the amount of traffic ... and that's nearly impossible to estimate.

I say go with the cheapest VPS plan as you already have and simply upgrade as needed. Just make sure you bill your clients for usage and explain that if they use more resources, they will need to pay more. If they are getting huge traffic, this will usually equate to more sales, so they won't mind.
0
 
tcibrianCommented:
Hello,

Well.... your question speaks to 'Server Capacity Planning' and depending upon how you approach this subject, this could be a very complex, detailed and resource intensive task. ( Some mid-sized companies that I have consulted for have created complete development environments with real servers with varrying hardware configs, to test simulated transactions and measured loads, so that the data and performance of these varrying configs can be evaluated to select the proper hardware for the required conditions.)

However, you could also use some capacity planning and simulation software from vendors such as Microsoft and use virtual simulators to generate some test data or you could do some review of published white papers concerning server capacity planning that shows the results of sometimes very exhaustive reseacrh efforts of companies that have set out to solve a problem or design a solution to a current server need.

In a recent deployment of a MS server 2003 Terminal server environment with remoter users spread accross multiple states, we were very concerned about capacity planning, initial hardware configs and scability of the server config that we were going to build for our customer. Instead of relenting to the time intensive requirements of setting up a demo and test environment, researched several published white papers and documentation, white papers and case studies from Microsoft and other MFG's that gave us solid information to proceed with a now very successful TS deployment that was within budget and gave us head room for futuer scalability.

Your environment is a simple webservices front end driving a data source for querried inputs. You should determine what DB you are going to use and then study the published white papers such as this one for capacity planning of a MS SQL server. http://www.embarcadero.com/resources/tech_papers/A_Case_for_Capacity_Planning.pdf

Typically, an SQL server performs best with a RAID 5 array for the data, you can find very inexpensive, enterprise class Xeon based servers all over the place, (like this one on Ebay... we have now deployed 6 of these servers in production SQL server farms and they perform very reliably..http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=56103&item=5772033569&rd=1 )

You need to have a very reliable server to provide adequate SLA's (service level agreements) to your customer base and a high performance internet connection. My suggestion is to buy 1 or 2 of this type of xeon servers colocate them in a facillity close by and you are off to the races to profits....

Good Luck!
Brian
0
 
michaeltk26Author Commented:
Okay, I appreciate the information about how it is very difficult to estimate server needs.  But let me ask you this: if you were running a webserver application like I described in my initial post, would you choose a VPS plan to get started, or would you start out on a virtual server?
0
Free Tool: Subnet Calculator

The subnet calculator helps you design networks by taking an IP address and network mask and returning information such as network, broadcast address, and host range.

One of a set of tools we're offering as a way of saying thank you for being a part of the community.

 
michaeltk26Author Commented:
Sorry, my last question should have read " . . . or would you start out on a *dedicated* server."

0
 
humeniukCommented:
Personally, I would go with a dedicated server without hesitation.  These days, dedicated servers aren't much more expensive than good VPS solutions.  In general, the price difference is more than justified by the difference in what you get.  And since performance and workload is a concern in this case, you're better risking having too much than not enough.

If you are going to go with a VPS solution, one of the main concerns (as with shared hosting) is being on an overloaded server.  If the hosting company tries to squeeze too many VPS's onto a single server, performance can decline rapidly.  Some hosting companies will provide a guarantee that your VPS will be one of (at most) a certain number.  That's something to consider in terms of making a choice.

If significant growth is possible, it's a good idea to select a hosting company that offers server clusters.  That way, you can add additional load-balanced servers as your site grows and keep up with demand (without having to change hosting companies).  If you're interested, there's a thread on this in the Web Hosting TA that may be of interest: www.experts-exchange.com/Q_21399507.html.
0
 
crackyCommented:
I would have to disagree with this one. By the sounds of your system requirements, a VPS would be perfectly adequate. It is much easier and faster to upgrade a VPS than a dedicated system. Also, support for a dedicated system is generally more expensive, since it's only your system on the machine, whereas a VPS can be upgraded or maintained globally.

If each system would have on average 12-15 visits per hour, even 50 outlets would present a small load. I have run VPS solutions with much higher load with no problems. Why overspend from the onset. I would say the opposite is true. Why waste your money when you can upgrade in an instant if needed. Most VPS servers are burstable, which means if there are resources above your requirements available, then they will be freed for your use.
0
 
tcibrianCommented:
IMHO, If you are using this system for a business purpose that you are going to be issuing SLA' to your customer... then go with a dedicated server.... typically the SLA for your dedicated server that the provider will give you will be better than a APS, true in the long run you may pay more for a dedicated server, but if you are in this for the long run then you want to have the entire capacity of the server to yourself... (by the way one of the answers above states that it is easier to upgrade a VPS solution, well... think about it if you are on a shared system with 10 other VPS nodes, sure you can probably increase your disk space, your bandwith allocation, RAM allocation etc... but you are still sharing the resources on a single server, where as on a dedicated solution, you are the only user of the server and you have a tremendous overhead to grow into or if you need more RAM or faster processors, if you chose your platform carefully, you can easily upgrade your components at any time.

You simply gain much more control and flexiability on a dedicated box. In fact why dont yo consider a lease from Dell or purchase a used box from Ebay and just colocate the server yourself?

Remember the MOST important issue in your case is your SLA to your customer and the SLA from your vendors. You have to be sure that you are able to deliver what you are promissing to your customers.

And if you have a dedicated solution.... the amount of traffic that you are considering is nearly trivial..... almost anything will be more that able to exceed your performance requirements.

Good Luck
Brian
0
 
michaeltk26Author Commented:
Thank you to all for contributing.  I guess there is no clearly right or wrong answer here.  I conclude that I will stick with my VPS plan for now, but that I will be prepared to upgrade to a dedicated server at a moment's notice.  I think I could make the upgrade in 24 hours if I needed to do so.

Thank you again.  I do appreciate your advice.
0
 
crackyCommented:
You're welcome Michael, good luck with your project :)
0
 
humeniukCommented:
Good luck michaeltk26 and thanks for the A.
0

Featured Post

Free Tool: Site Down Detector

Helpful to verify reports of your own downtime, or to double check a downed website you are trying to access.

One of a set of tools we are providing to everyone as a way of saying thank you for being a part of the community.

  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • +1
Tackle projects and never again get stuck behind a technical roadblock.
Join Now