setting up a LAMP web server

Posted on 2009-07-13
Last Modified: 2013-12-24
I've decided to host my own web server.  Qwest , in my area, offers upload speeds of 896 kbps.  Is that good enough?  What does that mean in terms of a user requesting a web page.  I try to keep my pages to about 100k max and most are less than 20k each in size. Some of my biggest sites that I will be hosting get about 1000 hits per day.

I was thinking of a Dell PowerEdge T105 server (about $500).  It has:

Quad Core AMD® Opteron" 1352; 2.1GHz,4X512K Cache
   PowerEdge T105

Primary Hard Drive:
250GB3 7.2K RPM SATA 3Gbps 3.5-in Cabled Hard Drive

Hard Drive Controllers:
Onboard SATA, 1-2 Drives connected to onboard SATA controller - No RAID
   Hard Drive Controllers

8GB, DDR2, 800MHz, 4x2GB,Dual Ranked DIMMs

It doesn't have an OS.  Red Hat seemed expensive.  Ubuntu, FreeBSD or CentOS seemed intriguing..and FREE.

What are your thoughts on the above machine including the OS.  I want my pages to run fast so I figure Linux is the choice.  Also, I'm a Coldfusion developer so I would place either coldfusion (for linux) 8 or Railo (for linux) on the machine as well as mySQL, php, Apache
Question by:COwebmaster
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Expert Comment

ID: 24843851
Assuming that 100k per page view includes the images, then you'll be fine. If you start increasing traffic a lot, or if a very large % of your traffic comes in spikes, you may have some slowdown, but it wouldn't be bad.

The only thing I'd be concerned with on the hardware for the server is the lack of raid. Be sure you have good backup plan in place, because you are reliant on a single hard drive, so if that goes down, you are down until the drive is replaced, and if you don't have a current backup, you may be SOL on your data. I'd suggest spending the extra cash to get a second drive and have it doen in raid 1.

Ubuntu server edition is nice if you are just starting with unix clones, and has a large web based community to get support from. CentOS and FreeBSD are also very nice and valid choices, but for sheer ease I'd go with Ubuntu. There are plenty of good tutorials on getting a complete LAMP stack running, I searched a few and skimmed them and this one seems very nice and complete:
LVL 36

Expert Comment

ID: 24844138
also suggest you check the TOS ... some ISP's don't allow home servers, plus check on bandwidth caps, throttling etc..

Author Comment

ID: 24844179
yea, come to think of it, those are the raw file size with out the image.  Probably closer to 100 k in size for each page.  Is there a tool I can use to determine how large a page is with all the images on it?

Will RAID 1 provide a back up of the mysql db as well?  I guess if I run a back up each night of the db, it should be fine, right?

Also, what if I partitioned it into 2 OS (one linux, the other windows).  Does that place a strain on web requests?

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Author Comment

ID: 24844215
I can upgrade and get the RAID 1 for an extra $200 for this:

SAS6iR (SATA/SAS Controller) supports 2 Hard Drives-RAID 1

Also, out of the following, which would you choose?

On-Board Single Gigabit Network Adapter [Included in Price]
   Intel PRO 1000PT 1GbE Single Port NIC, PCIe-1 [add $139]
   Intel PRO 1000PT 1GbE Dual Port NIC, PCIe-4 [add $199] .. Dell Recommended  
   Broadcom 5722 1GbE Single Port NIC, PCIe-1 [add $59]

Author Comment

ID: 24844237
yea, I checked with Qwest and they it was fine.  Comcast says no.

Accepted Solution

sadburger earned 500 total points
ID: 24844283
RAID 1 doesn't provide a backup, it gives you drive redudancy, specifically in this case (RAID 1), drive mirroring. What this means is that all the data is written twice, to separates drives. In the case of a physical drive failure, the system will keep working in a "degraded RAID" state. This will allow you to replace the bad hard drive and rebuild the raid without losing your data or having much (or any, depending on the raid controller) downtime.

It's not a backup though in the sense that if someone accidently deletes a bunch of data from your MYSQL database, you can't go back and get that from your raid... the deletion would happen on both disks simulatenously. So you'd still want a backup. The backup is to protect your data integrity, the raid is to protect from physical failure.

For the NICs, you'd probably be fine with just the standard one that is builtin, but if you wanted to upgrade get the dell recommeded dual port NIC. That will give you redundancy in your NIC card as well.

Partitioning into two OSes will undoubtably consume more resources. What you are doing with the other portion of the server, and how much strain you already have will depend how much it effects your web server.

Author Comment

ID: 24846088
Thanks for the advice.  With regard to the NIC card, why would it be important to have redundancy on it?  In case it fails?  What other hardware could fail that in your opinion would require redundancy?

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31603016

Expert Comment

ID: 24918346
Sorry for slow response on this, I didn't get the alert that you had commented.

Any hardware could fail. How much redundancy you want depends on how much you want to spend. Practically speaking, the most likely places of failure (and consequently the most likely place for redundancy) are the Hard drive, the NIC card, and the Power supply, roughly in that order. I'd feel comfortable just having the RAID for the hard drive, but if you can spare the money the NIC would be a nice piece as well.

Author Comment

ID: 24918564
ok, thanks sadburger.  Also, do you think RAID 1 is sufficient enough or is RAID 1+0 better.  Also, what does it mean to have RAID 0?

Expert Comment

ID: 24918885
Raid 0 isn't really Raid at all, in terms of redundancy. Raid 0 takes your data and stripes it across multiple discs, for performance increases. If one disc fails however, you lose ALL the data!

Raid 1+0 is good in terms of redundancy AND performance, but it has a high cost in terms of disc. You lose 1/2 of all your discs for the mirroring, and you are still suseptible to data loss if you lose drives on both sides of the mirror set.

Take a look at the Wikpedia article on RAID:

It lists all the various raid levels, what type of redundancy they have, and what the problems with each is.

Author Comment

ID: 24918978
ok, thanks sadburger for the tips.

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