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Hardware for 4000+ user website

Im building a website for 4000 users, and expect each user to access the site 10x per day. Thats around 40,000 visits, each visit lasting about 10 minutes for 4 or 5 different pages each time as users update records on the system.

At the moment the client has nothing, no DMZ, no database server, no webservers. Therefore it's a clean-slate, so-to-speak.

What is the best way to layout the servers, how many will we need, and what sort of hardware you would recommend? Im thinking about using a three-tier approach with Webserver > Application Server > Database server and having the Webserver in the DMZ only.

It's an ASPX site with SQL Server, any recommendations greatly appreciated!
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craigdev
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craigdev
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2 Solutions
 
dportasCommented:
There are many more factors to consider than the ones you have mentioned. Such as what SLAs you require for availability and recovery, how you plan to scale, budgets, etc. Perhaps you need more help than you can expect in this forum. Have you considered hiring someone to assist with this?
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craigdevAuthor Commented:
Ive considered it, trying to keep costs down for them as it's a charity ...
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craigdevAuthor Commented:
in regard to availability they want to host it themselves with a DMZ and I suppose that means failover servers. It's not the end of the world if the site is down for 2 or even 3 days as it's just data entry and can be recorded on paper then entered when the site comes back up. Budget is not huge and scaling up functionality is unlikely in the foreseeable future.


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maquesCommented:
dportas is right, you haven't specified more details, however, in general, 4000 users's daily access is not so much.
I take that the 10 minutes visit will be mostly idle, eg. the server process will do nothing but wait for the enduser to type data on the form and submit.

For comparsion, here is my server's apache statistics:
 Current Time: Saturday, 28-Jun-2008 16:57:08 CEST
 Restart Time: Friday, 06-Jun-2008 23:28:31 CEST
 Parent Server Generation: 10
 Server uptime: 21 days 17 hours 28 minutes 36 seconds
 Total accesses: 52635660 - Total Traffic: 2433.8 GB
 CPU Usage: u2832.37 s239.9 cu269.9 cs0 - .178% CPU load
 28 requests/sec - 1.3 MB/second - 48.5 kB/request
 54 requests currently being processed, 72 idle workers

So 40.000 access per day would give 840.000 access for 21 days, the 1/62th of my server's access.

This server is an approx. 2 years old P4 dual core something, the only thing it has more than the average is the memory, it has now 8GB.
It was fine with 2GB 1 year ago, but "peaks" cause swapping and then the system starts crawling.
This server hosts dns, www (mostly php with ~4000 mysql tables) and mails for approximately 1000 domains, so I guess for you anything current hardware with 1-2GB of ram would do it.
Do at least sofware mirroring [minimize downtime/avoid data loss] and continously monitor resource usages, especially RAM.
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