I have had a very bad experience that I would like to learn from:
I built a CentOS 5 server running apache, mysql, and drupal for an election application for use at a convention that had about 300 voters. I built it on a moderately strong PC and attached it to a gigabit switch. Users connected to the server via a couple of Cisco access points that I put on both sides of a large room.
The users were able to attach to the wireless networks without issue. The machine acted as a DHCP server without issue also. Once they tried to log into the drupal system, the server stopped responding to any and all network requests including my attempts to SSH into the machine.
Basically I am sure that the system was far from able to handle the requests from all those users at once. I am looking for theories on where I went wrong.
Did I grossly underestimate the computer hardware?
Did I blunder by putting all of the services on a single machine?
Was a vanilla install of Apache, Mysql and Drupal in need of major tuning?
How can I stress test such a system to know what it is capable of?
I appreciate your input. It was a very bad day.