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  1. #1

    how to figure out downloads per server?

    Hey all, I'm looking at running a 2-U, dual AMD Athlon 2400 with 2GB RAM and serving up streaming mp3 files on IIS 6 on Windows 2003. Problem is, I don't know how to figure out how many simultaneous stream (128Kb) the server itself can handle. I've been basing my model on number of uses against bandwidth, but if I can scale the bandwidth up, I want to be able to figure how many concurrent users a server can handle.

  2. #2
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    I don't have a lot to contribute regarding the number of streams you'll be able to serve using IIS on that hardware, but I can tell you that you will probably be happier with brand name hardware if you wish to run Windows 2003. I am guessing your Athlon configuration is off-the-shelf.

    For a workstation environment, it doesn't matter if you have a BSOD once in a while; but the fact is Windows is substantially more stable on COMPAQ/IBM/HP/etc hardware, as the vendors at all stages of integration work with Microsoft on driver compatibility. You don't have to believe me. Buy one generic box with a cheap mainboard and purchase another box from COMPAQ. The latter will cost three times as much, but it will perform better (even though it ought to be the same w/same hardware) and will not BSOD for no evident reason.
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  3. #3
    Thanks for the heads up about the equipment. We're looking to have lots of large disks in there, possble SATA disks, and the prices offered by the big guys is just really high. Or like Dell, they just won't offer a good config with non-scsi drives, which are too small.

    Really, I'm just curious how many concurrent downloads a piece of hardware could handle. On linux or windows, when will the hardware actually pose a limitation and start bottlenecking.

  4. #4
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    It's really a question of the software package you are using, rather than the OS and hardware. Linux+Apache can do several hundred Mb/s of static content quite easily; and I've seen lighter-weight HTTP servers push 1Gb/s sustained from a single, commodity box.

    I think you should contact your software vendor and see what kind of session load they expect with various hardware configurations. Give yourself some room, as you certainly know already, the words minimum system requrements on a video game box don't mean it's going to look pretty or be playable!

    Bandwidth is certainly more expensive than streaming server hardware these days, though; and indeed if you are buying a commercial streaming product, you will probably find that you spend an amount comperable to your hardware budget on licensing.

    Oh, as far as Dell + SATA goes, you can probably get away with buying a nice Dell server and adding a 3ware SATA host adapter and disks. I don't know that the driver is any good on Windows, but with Dell shipping the mainboard in high-end servers, you can bet the chances of unfortunate interactions with chipset flaws and so on will be smaller than with an off-the-shelf VIA mainboard.
    Jeff at Innovative Network Concepts / 212-981-0607 x8579 / AIM: jeffsw6
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    95th Percentile Explained Rate-Limiting on Cisco IOS switches

  5. #5
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    Re: how to figure out downloads per server?

    Originally posted by stephenzr
    serving up streaming mp3 files on IIS 6
    IIS 6 supports streaming, not downloading, mp3 files?

  6. #6
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    Re: Re: how to figure out downloads per server?

    Originally posted by energy
    IIS 6 supports streaming, not downloading, mp3 files?
    It sure does, you can stream MP3 and/or WMA files using the Windows Media Services included with Windows 2003/IIS 6.

  7. #7
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    Here is my personal experience on Linux with the shoutcast server.
    CPU: P III 1000 MHz
    RAM: 512 MB
    OS: RedHat 9

    Using less than 10% CPU and a small amount of memory I'm streaming 40 Mbps. This is a live stream, not streaming on demand.

    Your server might be overkill, then again, you are using Windows

  8. #8
    Originally posted by energy
    Here is my personal experience on Linux with the shoutcast server.
    CPU: P III 1000 MHz
    RAM: 512 MB
    OS: RedHat 9

    Using less than 10% CPU and a small amount of memory I'm streaming 40 Mbps. This is a live stream, not streaming on demand.

    Your server might be overkill, then again, you are using Windows

    What are your stream rates? I'd be very curious. Currently we are looking at using straight m3u/mp3 file streaming to clients like winamp and musicmatch.

  9. #9
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    Originally posted by stephenzr
    What are your stream rates?
    200 listeners at about 200 kbps (this is a video stream)

  10. #10
    Originally posted by energy
    200 listeners at about 200 kbps (this is a video stream)
    Nice. I didn't know Shoutcast could serve video. Would on demand suck more system resources?

  11. #11
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    Being a non-expert on streaming, I don't know what the complications are of live streaming; but I can tell you that on-demand streaming from a large content library will cause you to spend more time on disk I/O than a live stream.

    If you've got 200 clients receiving the same stream on one hand, and 200 clients receiving 200 different streams all being read from disk as-needed ... it's not hard to imagine why you'll need a good I/O subsystem to keep up, even when you're a streaming novice like myself.
    Jeff at Innovative Network Concepts / 212-981-0607 x8579 / AIM: jeffsw6
    Expert IP network consultation and operation at affordable rates
    95th Percentile Explained Rate-Limiting on Cisco IOS switches

  12. #12
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    Originally posted by jsw6
    I don't have a lot to contribute regarding the number of streams you'll be able to serve using IIS on that hardware, but I can tell you that you will probably be happier with brand name hardware if you wish to run Windows 2003. I am guessing your Athlon configuration is off-the-shelf.

    For a workstation environment, it doesn't matter if you have a BSOD once in a while; but the fact is Windows is substantially more stable on COMPAQ/IBM/HP/etc hardware, as the vendors at all stages of integration work with Microsoft on driver compatibility. You don't have to believe me. Buy one generic box with a cheap mainboard and purchase another box from COMPAQ. The latter will cost three times as much, but it will perform better (even though it ought to be the same w/same hardware) and will not BSOD for no evident reason.
    This sounds like a lot of FUD to me. I'm not sure what you consider brand name, but we run all SuperMicro gear, and before that we ran generic boxes with high quality components and Windows would never BSOD on us "for no evident reason". As long as your hardware is quality, then you won't have any issues. You don't have to pay for the name of Dell / HP / IBM to build a quality server.
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  13. #13
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    Streaming really pushes no CPU. With that kind of hardware, if you were on linux with Gigabit ethernet cards, you'll probably be able to push 100-200mbps thru it.

  14. #14
    Yeah, i was doubting that streaming would push much CPU. Thank you for confirming that. I'm also going to try caching top 150 mp3's in memory before streaming out through script.
    Now I guess its a matter of finding out if straight streaming using m3u files will be efficient enough compared with using Windows Media services or the like with their fancy streaming protocols. I've been experimentiing, and I like streaming servers, but they don't allow me to do the real time song tracking i need.

    Anyone done this.

    Thanks again for the info.

    -stephen

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