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Just how much can an apache server handle with only direct requests (no php/mysql etc)?

I want to separate out our user photo storage to a dedicated server (or servers).  This new server will only run linux/apache 2 and host all jpg files.  The question I have is where will the bottleneck come first?  The disk drives, processing power, or bandwidth?  The files are stored in a hashed directory scheme so they can be spread out over multiple servers easily using DNS (and also to keep the number of files in a directory small).

I was thinking of the following possible scenarios:
Poweredge 2850 with Dual 2.8GHz Xeon, 6 x 73G 15K SCSI U320 drives in RAID 5 configuration for about 289G total storage

Poweredge 1850 with Dual 2.8GHz Xeon, with direct attached SCSI PowerVault NAS, 14x36G 15K SCSI U320 drives in RAID 5 configuration for a total for 332G storage

Four Poweredge 1650s Dual 1.4GHz with 3x36 10K U160 in Raid 5 for a total of 285GB storage (with all 4 servers combined)

It will need to serve up about 16 million jpg files ranging in size from 8K to 70K at the rate of about 1600 per secound.

So just how much storage can I can get on a server under this kind of load without overloading the seek rate/throughput on the disk drives?
Thanks.
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burnsj2
Asked:
burnsj2
1 Solution
 
enfzCommented:
This depends on the PCI bus being used, will you be using 32bit/64bit/33MHz/66MHz?? Having so many drives will probably saturate the bus, depending on which one you have. Also the RAID controller, make sure you can add memory to improve the caching. Another important factor is the stripe/cluster size of your RAID setup, as since they are images..you have to optimise the size to best match up with the image sizes.

eg. PCI 32bit 33MHz Bushas the bandwidth of around 133MB/sec, while most modern drives can have a sustained speed of around 40 - 50MB/sec. So take that into consideration as well.
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burnsj2Author Commented:
These servers would use a Perc 4I/Di Raid card 256MB cache, using a 64bit PCI slot
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monkeyjrCommented:
In this case the bottleneck will appear in bandwidth, disk drivers or RAM size.

In most cases the bottleneck will fall on storage devices. Check is your RAID card using PCI X or not. (This is the fastest PCI bus as I know)

Also for serving web services, RAM size should also consider, as the web server will serve one connection by one instant, means more connections to the server, more web instant copies create on your server.

For most corrective answer, you'd better to run system analysis tools to analysis which device is the slowest part for your server.
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hardwaredCommented:
I find Dell & Linux sometimes just dont mix , especially allot of the Raid Adapters ...

Make sure that if your are getting bundled Raid Soloution(s) in your Server(s) from Dell
 
Ensure you check Google and Manufactures Website about Stable / Mature Driver Support ...

(unlike Dell PowerEdge 2650's /w Adaptec AACRaid  ---> http://lkml.org/lkml/2005/1/6/76 )


Good Fast Ram is a Must ... try get really high quality low latecny ecc memory  e.g.   Corsair  

But in your case that may not work with a Dell Manufactured Mainboard.  Either way get plenty of it.

Depending on how much Space you actually need  Vs  Cost , something like a Apple XServRaid or

something equivilent with SCSI 360 15K RPM Drives and  FibreChannel Connectivity that is external.


AMD Opteron's Are Certainly Very Powerfull and may even give you overall better Performace with there

HyperTransport and Defently Highspeed Interconnect Architechture. Very Low Latency Memory Controller  =)

And not to mention you can most likley would get a better deal with another brand rather than Dell in that case.

Maybee even Design & Build your own using SuperMicro or Tyan Mainboards /w AMD Opteron Dual Core CPU's  


Either way i would like to see how you go ...  


Cyas
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burnsj2Author Commented:
Turns out that its quite a bit.  The disk drives will be the limitation.  

Poweredge 2850 with Dual 2.8GHz Xeon, 6 x 73G 15K SCSI U320 drives in RAID 5 configuration for about 289G total storage will be enough.

When using a server that only needs to serve simple requests thttpd has a signifcant performance boost over apache so we are going to try that as well.
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