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  1. #1

    Starting a Web Host: Hardware Setup

    Hello there.

    I am planning to start a small web hosting business soon. The server will be build around a 2P motherboard with 2 Dual Core 2Ghz processors (4 cores total) from either Intel Xeon Woodcrest 5100 or AMD Opteron 2000 series with 4Gb of DDR2-677 ECC RAM in a 1U chasis. The server will start operating with 2 CS game servers, a couple of IRC servers and provide shared web hosting to a few clients.

    Now there are a few choises to be made.

    First, with the current situation on the processors market, both Intel and AMD deliver similar performace-cost solutions with the only differences being:

    - more cache on Intels (4mb vs 2mb on AMD)
    - higher latency memomry on Intel (FB-DIMMs now oficially dropped from 90% of server solutions in 2007).

    So, the basic question is: What is more important for multithread web and game hosting - more cache or lower latency RAM?

    Second. I am a little confused as to how much HD space and speed a typicial web hosting server would require. Curretnly looking at 2 x 250GB 7200 8mb cache Caviar RE vs 2 x 150 10000 16mb cache Raptor from Western Digital on SATAII and RAID1.

    Third. How much load do you think a server with this configuration can carry without jeopradizing any of its processes? In terms of simultaneous web client connections to apache and game servers running.

    Fourth. How much traffic (inbound and outbound) should I expect from 2 game servers, 2 IRC chats and a 5-10 lightweight business web sites?

    Fifth. In regards to a backup service, do RAID1 in conjunction with weekly remote access backups stored at my dedicated home computer provide sufficient security for a small web hosting business?

    Sixth. Are there any PCI (or any other interface) cards in existence with an independant CPU and memory card that I can put inside the server machine to host a custom firewall without the need to use and external one?

    Best regards, any response is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    New York, NY
    Quote Originally Posted by Sakh
    Sixth. Are there any PCI (or any other interface) cards in existence with an independant CPU and memory card that I can put inside the server machine to host a custom firewall without the need to use and external one?
    There is no need to have an external firewall or a dedicated processor. You can run firewall software right on the server (iptables, ipf, ipfw, etc.)
    Scott Burns, President
    BQ Internet Corporation
    Remote Rsync and FTP backup solutions
    *** ***

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005


    I think he's worried about load on the CPU thats suposed to be running these game server and not spending good CPU time on a firewall rule set..

    But the load from a basic firewall is trivial at most. A basic allow on port 27000 DROP on all others takes very little time to do the math for. The IP stack is already doing a lot of math just the check that packets have the correct checksum, checking that they're on an allowed port number isn't much more work.

    You're not going to need much more than that for a games server.

  4. #4
    Thank you, that exactly why I wanted it this way.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Zurich, Switzerland
    1) The more cache on Intel CPUs is sorely needed to balance out the slow and outdated FSB technology, the missing direct connection paths and the missing on-die memory controller, so I wouldn't worry about it being bigger on Intel than AMD CPUs. On the other hand, FB-DIMMs are hideously expensive compared to standard DDR and DDR2 ECC memory.

    2) Depends on how much space you want to sell for how much.

    3) Any server should be able to handle loads below the number of CPU cores. Any good server with two CPU cores should be able to handle a load of 2-3.

    5) Only if you move the backups at your home to a removable media and store it in a safe place AND have a fast upload channel to your server (several mbits at least).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Support Ticket Near You!
    Are you running just a gaming web host?

    I'd have to say, webhosting + gaming on the one server isn't the best thing to do.

    I can understand if you're starting off and the costs of the server are covered from the gaming? Otherwise you're jepardizing a bit there.

    I'd go for the 15,000RPM Raptors, you'll need fast seek times for what you're doing, running games + hosting. It'd be a different story if you were just concentrating on 1 thing.

    I'm not too sure about any NICs in existence that will do that. I can't see how it can logically work either? I have read about NICs with control chips (like ECC Registered RAM), but they aren't common. I can't seem to remember specifically where though.

    You'll have one NIC doing the firewall and the other for? It would need two ports.

    I realise you're trying to relieve as much pressure as you can on your server, but your resources might not be quite enough. You could possibly source a cheap box to do the firewall stuff.

    Actually, just went over what you read, that is a pretty beefy server and should handle it. I'd go with the Opterons though, you'll benefit from low latency, that and the RAM is less likely to be the bottleneck.

    That's just my 2c. - VPS Control Panel
    Automating and monitoring your hosting business.

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