New server hardware/performance

Posted on 2007-03-29
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Hi experts.

In the next few months Ill be starting up an IT related business, and require some guidance as the following issues:

 * What server to purchase
    * Need to know: Specifications (Processing power, RAM), price
    * Must be: Rack mountable.
 * Will the server be reliable/able to handle the load?

At this point we are thinking of one sole sever that will act as a web server, database server, flash media server. Multiple servers would be nice, but our pockets are not endless.

The server will be running the following software:

 * Windows 2003 Small Business Sever
 * Microsoft ISA (firewall)
 * IIS web server running an site
 * Flash Media Sever 2
 * Microsoft SQL Server 2000.

Majority of web requests will utilise use an page to retrieve information in database, and stream media back to the client. How many of these simultaneous requests will our server be able to handle? 200 - 1000 simultaneous requests are what we currently need.

Please feel free to give any comments on my setup. If there are any limitations/tips/tricks which will affect my servers reliability/performance please comment.

Potential issues:
For 2 years Ive been working with a server of the above software specifications (Except Flash Media Server 2), and Ive found that SQL Server really chews up memory, and Ive heard rumours ASP.NET sites may do the same. Sometimes we have difficulty connecting via VPN/remote desktop, though a reboot of IIS/MS SQL fixes this. Is this common? Is there any way to prevent such issues?

Maximum uptime and reliability are of highest priority. The server will be housed remotely, I require VPN/Remote desktop to be solidly reliable.

Looking forward to all comments.

Question by:undyshelts
LVL 63

Accepted Solution

SysExpert earned 64 total points
Comment Utility
I would put SQL all by itself, since it is a resource hog.

All the other stuff should be OK on a sngle server.

Also, depending on web load, you might need to think about things like failover to a secondary server or clustering.

I would look at the DL380 G5 from compaq or one of the bigger models that can handle 4 CPUs

Dell will have similar servers also.

RAID 5 with a hot spare in the machine is a requirement as is dual power supplies hooked up to differnt UPS's

Try to eliminate any single point of failure !

I hope this helps !

Author Comment

Comment Utility
Put SQL server by itself, I saw that one coming! From what Ive read MySQL isnt a memory hog, would it be recommended to install this on the same server as the other services?

From what I can see the DL380GS G5 takes up 2 rack slots, we may have to pay for two rack slots costing us double. What do you think of the Dell PowerEdge 1950? Alternatively, any recommended single rack servers?

How many simultaneous web requests  do you estimate a DL380GS G5 to handle?

I see what you mean about the single point of failure. Early days well just have 1 server, then in the future purchase another server and cluster IIS, and maybe FMS 2.

Assisted Solution

Gatelodge earned 62 total points
Comment Utility
I am involved (at my present contract) with installing lots of the 1950's and 2950's. Both are good servers. As with most servers the more memory and CPU's you can cram in the better. You may already know this, but you would be better with the 2950 as you can use two small disks on Raid 1 for the operating system and the other four disk slots for Raid 5 ( Use 2 to start with then add the other 2 later). If one of the Raid 1 disks fails you won't have any down time waiting for the replacment to arrive.

If your pocket would streach t0 3 server that would be better. 1 x 1950 for your SQL and IIS and the other for the rest.

I don't know about HP/Compaq servers as I have not been involved with them for a while.

Hope this helps
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LVL 55

Assisted Solution

andyalder earned 62 total points
Comment Utility
If you're limited to 1U then DL360 G5 instead of DL380 G5. 6 disk slots available and SQL likes disks as much as it likes RAM. Similar CPUs available as the 380, a bit noisier but you won't care about that if it's in a hosting centre.

The integrated iLO2 is a boon in a hosting centre as long as you buy the advanced pack, then you can switch it on again if you accidentally shut it down and you can even make it boot from the CD in your remote workstation to install Windows or whatever remotely. Damn site better than relying on remote desktop.

Assisted Solution

AndrewCink earned 62 total points
Comment Utility
As far as price goes, I do not think anyone can beat Dell's pricing and availability. I've always been pleased. The 2950 is a good 2u server, I'd recommend outfitting it with as much redundancy as possible (dual power supplies, RAID 1 hard drives for reliability if money is a concern, RAID 5 if you can afford it is much better...) SCSI hard drives are better performance and reliability if you will be doing a lot of data access, but they cost more. SATA drives in a RAID 5 are super affordable though.

I just looked up, and as Gate said, it'd be nice to run a RAID 1 for OS and RAID 5 for data if you can swing it. The OS can run on SATA, and the data can be SATA or SAS (Serial attached SCSI, which is a fancy way of saying it's SCSI but uses a simpler SATA connector on the wires) SCSI is definitely better performance and reliability, but you pay for it.

Author Comment

Comment Utility
andyalder, you've got me very interested in this iLO2, the less time in the hosting center the better. Can I use this technology as a remote desktop replacement (can I access the windows GUI through it).


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