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  1. #1

    Server Question

    Can someone tell me an estimated seerver specification that could handle peaks of around 50,000 concurrent connections and troughs of around 20,000. This would be a sustained load.

    What sort of processor, memory would be necessary. Oh, and the machine would need to be running Windows 2003 .NET.

  2. #2
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    You might get more in-depth answers if you talk directly with reps from Dell, Sun, or other hardware vendors.

  3. #3

    Surely

    Surely some host must have customers that have such a requirement?

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    You would most likely need multiple servers to spread out the tasks. Definately dual servers as well, if not quad.
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    What sort of application requires this demand? Web? FTP? IRC?

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    What type of connections, HTTP. Is there scripting? DB backend?
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  7. #7

    Dual Xeons

    So I would need minimum of Dual Xeon's maybe, 2 GB memory. Anywhere up to 4 machines, you reckon?

  8. #8

    More info

    Looking at an installed app, connecting via http delivering 3d graphic course plotting. The backend would be a MS SQL server, I think I will need a separate machine for this. Presumably, fail-over and load balancing.??

  9. #9
    Are you using asp, coldfusion, php, or a custom app for your web application?

    What you should look at now, is how big of a box do you have now, how much load is on it now, Then you'll be able to see if you need seperate machines or even two web servers.
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  10. #10
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    Well, as an MCSD.NET and MCAD.NET (along with MCSD/MCAD), I would never trust my 2003 server with 50,000 concurrent connections. In fact, you're pushing the physical limit of TCP/IP -- especially if you are going to double up with a SQL server over a LAN. You can easily topple the stack doing that.

    You can give it a whirl, though. I would suggest to make sure the troops are heavily fortified -- 2 GB of RAM, durable hard drives, and probably a GigE NIC inside. That said, it's wise to distribute the application load across many machines, but any sort of 3D plotting work is going to be CPU and resource (in general) intensive no matter how you stack it. Logically separate the steps of the application, and break them into separate machines only if you know there will be a significant performance increase.

    If you will only gain a "little" increase, don't spend the money on extra machines -- spend it on extra RAM and CPU speed.
    Last edited by Asynja; 04-19-2004 at 03:50 PM.

  11. #11
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    Yep, I would not try that graphic app on one server. I would probably look at 4 servers that are pretty built. Depending on how the SQL is used, you may need to break it up.
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  12. #12
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    The more I ponder it, the more it sounds like a job for co-location. If you're going to have many machines involved in the process, it's almost cheaper (long term) to just get some co-location space.

    With such an elaborate setup, something is bound to go wrong at some point. I'm not sure I want my provider digging around proprietary applications and trying to fix them. I'd rather go to the servers and do it myself.

    Just a thought...good rack mount servers are not expensive, and decent co-location will allow you to absorb the hardware cost in a year or two.

  13. #13

    Either way!

    Either way, whether is is a colocated solution or a dedicated solution, I am just trying to establish what machine will be required. From the sounds of it, it is not something that someone here has done before.

    I though that with all the hosts here some host would have had a customer that had a site running huge number of connections like this. Obviously not as common as I thought.

    Thanks for all the feedback. I will take the first post recommendation and go to the manufacturers and see what they say.

    Thanks again.

  14. #14
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    I've done similar applications. But never on the scale you're hinting at.

    The best thing to do is separate the functions of the application logically. In other words, you don't want the web server also doing the SQL work.

    Aside from that, we can't really give you definitive specs for what each server should be. Even if we could, you'd have a hard time matching that up bit-for-bit with every provider.

    Bottom line, RAM, more RAM, high performance hard drives, GigE NIC's, and probably some Xeon processors. Don't skimp on the web server and SQL server.

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    Even with Microsoft certifications in hand, I would say this is a job for RedHat or FreeBSD. Plain and simple, PHP and MySQL will outperform ASP and MSSQL when you start to really push it.

    I also think Apache would hold up better than IIS.

    Not saying it can't be done on 2003, I just wouldn't do it personally.

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    How much total bandwidth are you going to need on that server per month? Because I'm sure you'll be able to find someone with powerful enough servers - but the necessary bandwidth is going to cost you.
    Thanks,

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  17. #17
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    Originally posted by Asynja
    Even with Microsoft certifications in hand, I would say this is a job for RedHat or FreeBSD. Plain and simple, PHP and MySQL will outperform ASP and MSSQL when you start to really push it.
    I would agree with you, but depending on the application, it might not be a solution for him.

    It can be done, but you really are looking at a distributed environment. I've managed a website before that had 10 quad processor front end IIS web servers with an ISAPI application hitting 3 quad processor MSSQL databases in the back, with 2 separate dualies serving static images. The primary function of the ISAPI was to execute searches on the DB data. This handled several million hits a day, something like 2+ million unique visitors a month (if I remember correctly). The application arguably was only moderately well written. How that would translate into simultaneous, I still think it's a bit short of 50,000 (I'm not in the mindset to do the math right now, and this was a few years ago ... which also means the hardware wasn't as powerful.) This all had hardware load balancers in front as well.

    The big question is where is most of your processing going to be happening? That is what you need to distribute the most over various servers assuming you have some way of handling all the session management that would probably be required. Also, what's your availability requirement?

  18. #18
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    From the sounds of it, it is not something that someone here has done before.
    It is done all the time. The problem is there is not enough information to give you a good answer. There are way to many variables.

    Again, your best to do this in a distributed environment.
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  19. #19
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    Originally posted by Asynja
    Not saying it can't be done on 2003, I just wouldn't do it personally.
    Ditto. Server 2003 could do it but you would get better performance out of Linux/FreeBSD boxes.
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    Originally posted by BigGorilla
    I would agree with you, but depending on the application, it might not be a solution for him.

    It can be done, but you really are looking at a distributed environment. I've managed a website before that had 10 quad processor front end IIS web servers with an ISAPI application hitting 3 quad processor MSSQL databases in the back, with 2 separate dualies serving static images. The primary function of the ISAPI was to execute searches on the DB data. This handled several million hits a day, something like 2+ million unique visitors a month (if I remember correctly). The application arguably was only moderately well written. How that would translate into simultaneous, I still think it's a bit short of 50,000 (I'm not in the mindset to do the math right now, and this was a few years ago ... which also means the hardware wasn't as powerful.) This all had hardware load balancers in front as well.

    The big question is where is most of your processing going to be happening? That is what you need to distribute the most over various servers assuming you have some way of handling all the session management that would probably be required. Also, what's your availability requirement?
    I do not agree with you. This is for Sun Clusters or IBM Mainframe or something like that it sounds to me.

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    50K connections at the same time? Then you're not talking about a server, you're talking server farm, multiple web servers, multiple sql servers, load balancing, and other really cool yet expensive stuff A web site I helped setup the hardware for handled as much as 1200 simultaneous connections and did it on a four pack of dual P3 dell boxes with a single server supplying NFS for the other 3 and a dual P3 linux box in front doing load balancing, worked very very well actually and had room to grow with the 4 web servers. It could have probably gone to 2000 connections without more hardware. Not that this in any way applies to your situation you could need way more or way less for your application depending on how it's done.
    Gary Harris - the artist formerly known as Dixiesys
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    Check out http://www.voxel.net. They offer services like this. They're also an exceptional company from what I hear.
    Good luck!

    [Edit] It's under Hosting --> Managed Clusters
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  23. #23
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    Originally posted by Mfjp
    I do not agree with you. This is for Sun Clusters or IBM Mainframe or something like that it sounds to me.
    Generally you don't really need a cluster or a centralized system like a mainframe unless the application is highly transactional.

  24. #24
    Originally posted by Mfjp
    I do not agree with you. This is for Sun Clusters or IBM Mainframe or something like that it sounds to me.
    Exactly right - Call IBM/SUN/HP and they would recommend a multi-processor box (2 for high availability)

    That many simultaneous sessions - IBM/SUN/HP - 16-32 Processor main frame - Loads of RAM, etc...

    50k simultaneous sessions? - sustained load? I wouldnt even think of running that on Intel

  25. #25
    50k simultaneous sessions? - sustained load? I wouldnt even think of running that on Intel
    Why do you think that this is impossible? Multi group of servers with devoted functions I think will help...

  26. #26
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    Exactly right - Call IBM/SUN/HP and they would recommend a multi-processor box (2 for high availability)
    I would much rather have 20 "Intel" servers
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  27. #27
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    Even with Microsoft certifications in hand, I would say this is a job for RedHat or FreeBSD. Plain and simple, PHP and MySQL will outperform ASP and MSSQL when you start to really push it.

    I also think Apache would hold up better than IIS.

    Not saying it can't be done on 2003, I just wouldn't do it personally.
    I wouldn't even trust windows to route my ADSL connection, let alone something like this...Linux for sure

  28. #28
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    Originally posted by HQHost
    Why do you think that this is impossible? Multi group of servers with devoted functions I think will help...
    It's not impossible. But Sun/HP/IBM have devoted huge amount of resource into researching and developing solution for such situation. It's more like matching the problem with the best tool. I'm sure Windows on Intel would do it, what I'm saying is that Sun/HP/IBM would probabaly do it even better given their expertise and products. This would translate to higher scalability, redudancy and usability.

    And of course, the limitation is always on the budget. If budget was not a concern, my personal email would be hosted on a IBM Mainframe...

  29. #29
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    I wouldn't even trust windows to route my ADSL connection, let alone something like this...
    Why?
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  30. #30
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    I was going to say a dual xeon 2gb running rhel AS can handle like 28k from my personal bench marking on my local area network, and i only got up to 42 thousandish connections, on the 4way xeon with 4gb of ram. I'm not sure how accurate these are, but Its just my testing.
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  31. #31
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    I think apple's xserve G5 would be an interesting option to look into. (provided going colo)

    It has the horse power of some of the lower to midrange IBM servers. Has media streaming server. Clustering. It relatively cheap. FreeBSD/NextStep under the hood. i don't know if this would pan out, not having run one myself, but I think its an interesting option.

  32. #32

    That's interesting

    Originally posted by benoitb
    I was going to say a dual xeon 2gb running rhel AS can handle like 28k from my personal bench marking on my local area network, and i only got up to 42 thousandish connections, on the 4way xeon with 4gb of ram. I'm not sure how accurate these are, but Its just my testing.
    Orginally I was thinking that two times Dual Xeons would suffice. What software you using for the test. [he says feeling somewhat more optimistic about things]

  33. #33
    I was wondering when someone was finally going to pipe in and tell him that this is a job for Apache. I wouldn't dare put IIS up to this. And I'd go with FreeBSD if it's possible.

    Also, the AMD64 CPUs are outperforming hyperthreading Xeons, even for 32-bit applications due to the additional registers. For the type of CPU-intensive work you're talking about, I'd look at 64-bit Opterons rather than Xeons.

  34. #34
    Originally posted by ambirex
    I think apple's xserve G5 would be an interesting option to look into. (provided going colo)

    It has the horse power of some of the lower to midrange IBM servers. Has media streaming server. Clustering. It relatively cheap. FreeBSD/NextStep under the hood. i don't know if this would pan out, not having run one myself, but I think its an interesting option.
    Oops! Why didn't I think of this? The Xserve could be the ideal solution, especially if a cluster is required.

    You'd get the fastest bus performance of any 1U server currently available (two separate, duplex 1 GHz busses), absolutely amazing FPU performance, pricing to easily beat Dell, HP, and IBM, and you'd be running Apache on top of the rock-solid Mach kernel. And you could cluster them to your heart's content.

    Great advice, ambirex. The poster definitely needs to look into this.

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