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  1. #1

    Arrow Why should I need a new server?

    Hi all.

    I have been offered a great deal on a server but cannot justify buying it just for the sake of it and hoped someone could clear up my queries.

    At the moment, I have a Intel P4 3.0Ghz with 1GB RAM on which I am running a very big vBulletin Forum together with two smaller sites. The sites load quite fast and I have no downtime with the server. Although a little expensive than most offering the same kit, I am pleased with the server. However, my swap and memory usage is always very high (around 75% virtually all the time for memory usage). Also, I am using around 90gigs of hardrive space and eating 800gigs of bandwidth per month.

    Now I have been offered a Dual Xeon 2.8Ghz with 2Gb RAM with enough space and bandwidth to see me over for a little more than I am paying for the server above. Obviously, the server is a lot more powerful but why should I get this server?

    I am asking as my broadband connection means I get quick page loads but surely having a faster machine wouldn't mean the pages load any faster would it as it is all to do with my broadband connection? What is the benefit in terms of performance of my website being faster would a Dual Xeon give me?

    TIA - Dav
    Gotta check out this superb site...
    http://www.thecelebritydatabase.com/forum/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    419
    Hi,

    Having such a swap usage generally means that the server will run much slower than it is intended to, this is because it is using hard drive as RAM, but the hard drive runs substantially slower than that of RAM. When this starts to happen and an admin cannot optimise the system enough to get this down then it is time to start looking at different solutions to your situation. If it is indeed the vB forum that is consuming so much of your resources (saying this so i can cover myself if there is something else wrong with the server haha), then you need a higher amount of RAM (so that the server won't use your paging file). The solution of a new server with a higher amount of ram can work, or you can upgrade your current server with more ram. Its up to you to evaluate pricing options.

    The second part of your qn: Having a fast broadband connection does mean you get a faster page response, also being closer to the server means you get a faster page response. But more of the problem here is how your server is reacting to requests. You will have a higher performance because of the more memory rather than the processing power. Processing power is used (mainly) when you have intensive PHP applications on your server.

    Hope this answered a few of your questions, and that it makes sense haha

    Matt

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    38
    Gotta go with Matt. Upgrading the RAM is probably the cheapest solution and probably all you need to hold you over until you're really outpacing the capacity of the rest of your hardware.

    OTOH, I just ordered a dual Woodcrest server with 8 GB of RAM for a site that hasn't even launched yet... wishful thinking. :-)

  4. #4
    For a little more I'd take it. It gives you more to use, but as you said, you don't need it yet. But also, when you do need it, it might be too late, and you might miss out on customers, or loose customers because you didn't make the switch earlier.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    136
    Are you sure your swap usage is high? It could be that unused RAM was just intelligently paged out into swap. Usually, if a server's swap starts being hit, the server will have a performance hit as disk is MUCH slower than RAM.

    You might want to post the top 10 lines or so from the output of 'top'. This will show how your CPUs/RAM/SWAP are being affected.

    The dual Xeon may be overkill, but it sounds like you may be needing the 2GB of RAM and if the cost per month isn't much higher, the Xeons would have other benefits. The Xeons are hyper-threaded which would help for incoming http requests and the dual processors would help for MySQL.
    Matt Bloom
    AngryHosting - Load balanced/redundant shared hosting solutions

  6. #6
    Thanks so much for replying and, although I needed to read the replies a few times, I gave the general gist of what was said.

    If I have read it right then, could I get away with downgrading my server from the Intel Pentium 4 3.0Ghz(HT) to say a 2.4 Celeron but packing it with say 6GB RAM. Would this mean my vBulletin forum will run efficiently without the swap/memory being hit hard?

    TIA - Dav
    Gotta check out this superb site...
    http://www.thecelebritydatabase.com/forum/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    NJ, USA
    Posts
    258
    Quote Originally Posted by dav
    Thanks so much for replying and, although I needed to read the replies a few times, I gave the general gist of what was said.

    If I have read it right then, could I get away with downgrading my server from the Intel Pentium 4 3.0Ghz(HT) to say a 2.4 Celeron but packing it with say 6GB RAM. Would this mean my vBulletin forum will run efficiently without the swap/memory being hit hard?

    TIA - Dav
    What is the average load on the p4 3.0ghz w/ ht?


  8. #8
    Sorry if this isn't what you were after, but I have simply posted this from what WHM is telling me right now about my server performance.

    Server Load - 2.64 (2 cpus)
    Memory Used - 76.8%
    Swap Used - 50.12%

    The server is running rather quickly at the moment although when logging into cpanel, it takes around 20 seconds for the page to begin loading.

    TIA - Dav
    Gotta check out this superb site...
    http://www.thecelebritydatabase.com/forum/

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