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  1. #1

    Website Infrastructure Recommendation

    Howdy all!

    I would appreciate recommendations from many of the experienced users on this forum to best fulfil my requirements.

    The following is being developed and I am unsure where to host this and what hosting I require. Please remember that scalability is imperative.

    Ths site is an auction/classifieds site (similar to Ebay), and has the following:

    Listings: Approximately 400,000 at any one time
    Storage: Approximately 500GB and up to 1000GB
    Bandwidth: 2000 - 4000GB/month
    Backup: Hourly/Daily backups
    Technology: LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP)
    Users: Approximately 100,000 active and registered users
    Traffic: Approximately 50,000 visits per day with 1,000,000 page views per day

    The site is very database intensive as classified listings are searched (like Ebay) all the time. The storage space is dependant on the number of images/media the users upload.

    The site must be online 24/7, with the most important time from 6am - 12pm everyday. Also, it must be ultra fast to load, retrieve, and display results (I am aware that inefficient coding can slow ths site down, but please assume that the site is highly optimized). MySpace is a good example of a mega site which is very fast.

    I am not sure if a single server can handle all of this or if I need to load balance the server with separate servers for the database, separate servers for images/media, etc.


    A budget of around USD1,000/month is what I am looking at, however, I am not sure if this is over or under a realistic price for what I require.


    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
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    is your website is already online? I would go with someone like Rack Space for sure.....
    You will need more than one server... I would start with one for sql and one for your files..... then upgrade as necessary.... $1000 would probably not be enough with the requirements you have.... you will need premium support, but if you really get what you expect, you probably would not care about the money at that point.
    I would meet with different vendors, I highly recommned Rack Space and NaviSite (as a second) as they have the resources.... possibly setup a conf. call and if you are dead serious meet with them.
    GS RichCopy 360 Enterprise - Voted #1 for data migration and replication in terms of performance and features. Replicate data across between servers in the same network, WAS, or even across the internet

  3. #3
    Hi ITAhmed,
    Thanks for the advice.

    The site isn't online at the moment, however, I want to be prepared and make it scalable for future and rapid expansion.


    I will talk with several providers and hopefully they can guide me.


    Can you point me to any valuable resources on the web which discuss optimal LAMP infrastructure designs and layouts to support scalability, speed, etc. (server and cluster configurations, etc. when to upgrade, etc.)?


    Thanks again.

  4. #4
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    Those are pretty high numbers, expect to be using clustered servers and paying some mighty big bucks for it.

  5. #5
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    Sounds like you know exactly what you want. Seems as if quality is a very big concern. Just remember you get what you pay for. With those type of requirements, a shared, reseller or VPS would NOT be the way to go. You most certainly need a dedicated server, and I would also suggest managed service to go along with it.
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  6. #6
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    Radic is right.

    Places like rackspace will be ready to counsel you on this matter. They might have special offers for such a volume.

  7. #7
    Thanks everyone for your helpful replies.

    I will contact RackSpace and see what they suggest and what they can offer.

  8. #8
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    Keep in mind that rackspace charges quite a bit for their bandwidth. You may be wise to shop around and check places such as softlayer and the like. Just be sure you don't jump on anybody's bandwagon without doing thorough investigation prior to doing so (as you have an ample budget to get started with at least).

    Also for $1,000 you may be looking at being over budget to do a proper setup (being clustered servers to handle the amount of storage space you require, that and multiple backend mysql doing replication).
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jschurawlow
    Keep in mind that rackspace charges quite a bit for their bandwidth. You may be wise to shop around and check places such as softlayer and the like. Just be sure you don't jump on anybody's bandwagon without doing thorough investigation prior to doing so (as you have an ample budget to get started with at least).

    Also for $1,000 you may be looking at being over budget to do a proper setup (being clustered servers to handle the amount of storage space you require, that and multiple backend mysql doing replication).
    If he needs relibility then Rack Space would be best and idea.... starting to look at savings from now would not be wise... what he is looking to do is very time sensitive. additionally $1000 may be avg to low end depending on how many servers he gets.... there will be setup fees for that for sure.
    GS RichCopy 360 Enterprise - Voted #1 for data migration and replication in terms of performance and features. Replicate data across between servers in the same network, WAS, or even across the internet

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jschurawlow
    Keep in mind that rackspace charges quite a bit for their bandwidth. You may be wise to shop around and check places such as softlayer and the like. Just be sure you don't jump on anybody's bandwagon without doing thorough investigation prior to doing so (as you have an ample budget to get started with at least).

    Also for $1,000 you may be looking at being over budget to do a proper setup (being clustered servers to handle the amount of storage space you require, that and multiple backend mysql doing replication).
    I second that, SoftLayer has been great to us. Like I always say, they are a little pricy, but well worth the money.
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  11. #11
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    Guys when he is looking at 4TB of BW
    Users: Approximately 100,000 active and registered users
    Traffic: Approximately 50,000 visits per day with 1,000,000 page views per day

    Money should not be a factor at that point as this is all what his business would rely on.... slow performance, lack of high level support or anything like that can produce unwanted results..... SOft Layer is known to be good and reliable... Rack Space is known to be the TOP.
    IMHO
    GS RichCopy 360 Enterprise - Voted #1 for data migration and replication in terms of performance and features. Replicate data across between servers in the same network, WAS, or even across the internet

  12. #12
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    Well RackSpace certainly does have a solid rep for providing fast efficient solutions, but hey SoftLayer is not as much as a veteran company. I do agree with ITAhmed regarding the pricing. If you want a stable solution, that comes with a big price tag. Although, I stick to my guns, I think softlayer can handle anything you throw at them at this point.
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  13. #13
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    Hi,

    Apologies for being a bit late into this.

    I have had a LOT of bad experiences with web hosting companies. Mainly because their technical support has been absolutely appalling.

    I whole heartedly recommend Rackspace, I have just moved to them. Contact a chap called Karl Boehm karl.boehmATrackspace.youknowhat.... Tell him Ashley sent you (if you haven't contacted them already!!!!).

    However, that said, they ARE expensive, especially, as already pointed out, their bandwidth. But negotiate, that's the nature of business.

    As for your needs. Firstly, for somthing that critical, MySQL would not be the way I'd go. I'd definitely be looking to move it to something much more robust, such as Oracle. You get what you pay for, I wouldn't reply on free software for that type of business.

    Next, you are going to require some serious systems if you want 24 x 7 operations. I'd be looking to UNIX, one of the "not free" versions that can be clustered and have a clustered version of a database. TBH, for total reliability I'd use OpenVMS with Oracle RAC, but this will be way out of your price range to begin with. If you go for a cheap solution you should expect it to fall over and slow down on a regular basis. Remember what I said before, you only get what you pay for. As one of the industries top performance experts, I'd recommend you take a serious look at how the system will perform, and do LOTS of stress testing before you allow any member of the general public onto it.

    Poor performance killed Victorias Secrets, Cahoot and Nectar to name but a few. They only survived because they were (a) BIG, and (b) the only ones in their markets. If you are going to (as it would seem) try to compete with eBay (even if it is in a limited way), just ONE SINGLE bad day will ensure that your customers NEVER come back. They'll just go back to eBay, Amazon etc.

    Hope the above helps

    Regards

    skilla

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by giarnz
    Howdy all!
    Listings: Approximately 400,000 at any one time
    Storage: Approximately 500GB and up to 1000GB
    Bandwidth: 2000 - 4000GB/month
    Backup: Hourly/Daily backups
    Technology: LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP)
    Users: Approximately 100,000 active and registered users
    Traffic: Approximately 50,000 visits per day with 1,000,000 page views per day
    With such high stats I would use a daisy chain system where by you run your website on multiple servers in different locations. So if you have too many requests for page loading your server will automatically share the work load with other servers in the chain. The will reduce your potential downtown to roughly zero and will improve your customer's download speeds as they wont be contesting with thousands of other people for web page packets.

    I would seriously concider this option if I were you.

    Robin
    DB9 Design, Design and quality you can trust

  15. #15
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    Good point.

  16. #16
    ITAhmed,
    These are the projections we have for the site if it is successful. Initially, traffic and required resources will be lower; however, scalability is imperative as is reliability.

    I have contacted a few dedicated hosts including SoftLayer, and the biggest downfall with SoftLayer is their 4-hour hardware replacement policy which can not be improved. I spoke with a rep yesterday and the 4-hour is non-negotiable.

    I am yet to speak with RackSpace.


    Quote Originally Posted by ITAhmed
    Guys when he is looking at 4TB of BW
    Users: Approximately 100,000 active and registered users
    Traffic: Approximately 50,000 visits per day with 1,000,000 page views per day

    Money should not be a factor at that point as this is all what his business would rely on.... slow performance, lack of high level support or anything like that can produce unwanted results..... SOft Layer is known to be good and reliable... Rack Space is known to be the TOP.
    IMHO

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ITAhmed
    If he needs relibility then Rack Space would be best and idea.... starting to look at savings from now would not be wise... what he is looking to do is very time sensitive. additionally $1000 may be avg to low end depending on how many servers he gets.... there will be setup fees for that for sure.
    Rackspace's London 2 data center suffered 4 hours, 40 minutes downtime not too long ago. Reliable? Not really. Even worse, they continue to advertise "100%". If you don't believe me, I can paste the director of UK operations' official RFO.

    I'm also curious as to what experience you have with Rackspace?
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  18. #18
    jschurawlow,
    The cost of their bandwidth based on the prices other users have posted is the biggest downfall of RackSpace. As the initial budget is very low in order to control costs, shopping around will be a long and tedious process from the look of things.

    I'll contact RackSpace and see what they can offer.


    Quote Originally Posted by jschurawlow
    Keep in mind that rackspace charges quite a bit for their bandwidth. You may be wise to shop around and check places such as softlayer and the like. Just be sure you don't jump on anybody's bandwagon without doing thorough investigation prior to doing so (as you have an ample budget to get started with at least).

    Also for $1,000 you may be looking at being over budget to do a proper setup (being clustered servers to handle the amount of storage space you require, that and multiple backend mysql doing replication).

  19. #19
    HostFrog,
    The 4-hour hardware replacement policy is much too long. Besides that, they are super-helpful, super-friendly and super-competitive with their prices.


    Quote Originally Posted by HostFrog
    I second that, SoftLayer has been great to us. Like I always say, they are a little pricy, but well worth the money.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by giarnz
    HostFrog,
    The 4-hour hardware replacement policy is much too long. Besides that, they are super-helpful, super-friendly and super-competitive with their prices.
    How often are you thinking about replacing hardware? Also I think its 4 hours BEFORE they can have it completed not the time your server will be down during.
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  21. #21
    layer0,
    I have read this on the boards as well and it is certainly worrying, as the company does advertise 100% uptime.

    Everyone seems to rave about webnx.com as well, so I am going to give them a call and see what the can offer and suggest.

    I don't mind paying market prices (even on the high side) if the quality and value are there...


    Quote Originally Posted by layer0
    Rackspace's London 2 data center suffered 4 hours, 40 minutes downtime not too long ago. Reliable? Not really. Even worse, they continue to advertise "100%". If you don't believe me, I can paste the director of UK operations' official RFO.

    I'm also curious as to what experience you have with Rackspace?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by giarnz
    layer0,
    I have read this on the boards as well and it is certainly worrying, as the company does advertise 100% uptime.

    Everyone seems to rave about webnx.com as well, so I am going to give them a call and see what the can offer and suggest.

    I don't mind paying market prices (even on the high side) if the quality and value are there...
    WebNX would be an excellent choice, no complaints here - a little over a month so far...
    MediaLayer, LLC - www.medialayer.com Learn how we can make your website load faster, translating to better conversion rates for your business!
    The pioneers of optimized web hosting, featuring LiteSpeed Web Server & SSD Storage - Celebrating 10 Years in Business

  23. #23
    DB9 Design,
    This is load-balancing amongst mutiple web servers isn't it?


    Quote Originally Posted by DB9 Design
    With such high stats I would use a daisy chain system where by you run your website on multiple servers in different locations. So if you have too many requests for page loading your server will automatically share the work load with other servers in the chain. The will reduce your potential downtown to roughly zero and will improve your customer's download speeds as they wont be contesting with thousands of other people for web page packets.

    I would seriously concider this option if I were you.

    Robin

  24. #24
    HostFrog,
    From my understanding after speaking with the rep yesterday, this is applicable to hardware failures as well. While they do monitor the servers, they do not proactively replace hardware, etc. and have said that the Network Administrator (employed by the client) is responsible for this. They seem more reactive than proactive in that department.

    Please correct me if I am wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by HostFrog
    How often are you thinking about replacing hardware? Also I think its 4 hours BEFORE they can have it completed not the time your server will be down during.

  25. #25
    skilla,
    Thank you for the contact at RackSpace, that is really helpful!

    As you said, the cost of using commercial packages is too expensive at this stage, and I believe that free and open-source packages, if packaged correctly, can stand next to many commercial packages. If everything is done properly from the beginning, then the site should be scalable, reliable and have a sound framework.

    Whilst I agree about the examples you provided (Nectar, etc.), many large sites which receive millions of hits per day are running of MySQL, Ruby on Rails, PHP, etc. without downtime, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by skilla
    Hi,

    Apologies for being a bit late into this.

    I have had a LOT of bad experiences with web hosting companies. Mainly because their technical support has been absolutely appalling.

    I whole heartedly recommend Rackspace, I have just moved to them. Contact a chap called Karl Boehm karl.boehmATrackspace.youknowhat.... Tell him Ashley sent you (if you haven't contacted them already!!!!).

    However, that said, they ARE expensive, especially, as already pointed out, their bandwidth. But negotiate, that's the nature of business.

    As for your needs. Firstly, for somthing that critical, MySQL would not be the way I'd go. I'd definitely be looking to move it to something much more robust, such as Oracle. You get what you pay for, I wouldn't reply on free software for that type of business.

    Next, you are going to require some serious systems if you want 24 x 7 operations. I'd be looking to UNIX, one of the "not free" versions that can be clustered and have a clustered version of a database. TBH, for total reliability I'd use OpenVMS with Oracle RAC, but this will be way out of your price range to begin with. If you go for a cheap solution you should expect it to fall over and slow down on a regular basis. Remember what I said before, you only get what you pay for. As one of the industries top performance experts, I'd recommend you take a serious look at how the system will perform, and do LOTS of stress testing before you allow any member of the general public onto it.

    Poor performance killed Victorias Secrets, Cahoot and Nectar to name but a few. They only survived because they were (a) BIG, and (b) the only ones in their markets. If you are going to (as it would seem) try to compete with eBay (even if it is in a limited way), just ONE SINGLE bad day will ensure that your customers NEVER come back. They'll just go back to eBay, Amazon etc.

    Hope the above helps

    Regards

    skilla

  26. #26
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    Well,

    Rackspace did have an outage, but then, so do many others.

    I was most impressed by their responsiveness to my enquiries and the technical awareness they showed.

    Their hardware replacement times are 1 hour.

    Well, cheap/free packages are always OK to a point. I will say that. But there does come a point where scalability stops, and worse, where are the resources when you break the product? Can you afford 2-3 days downtime whilst someone fixes a bug which brought down your database? That's my main concern really.

    I guess what I was trying to say was that if you are going down the low-cost route now, make sure that as part of your strategic planning, build in now some of the things needed in order to make the move to a more robust platform later in necessary.

    Also, the one thing I cannot stress enough, is that you REALLY REALLY test this first. Don't test it yourself, or get the developers to. Get a few "nutters" to do everything in their power to break it, and also find a way of loading it up with the expected number of concurrent sessions.

    Good Luck!

  27. #27
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    Rackspace did have an outage, but then, so do many others.
    Sure, but I don't know of any other companies who state 100% and can't back it up. Now that is the main concern here and it truly accentuates just how shady Rackspace's operation is.

    I was most impressed by their responsiveness to my enquiries and the technical awareness they showed.
    Who cares, 4 hours and 40 minutes due to lack of redundancy in the network design is horrible. They should have multiple fiber providers, not just multiple transit providers.

    Their hardware replacement times are 1 hour.
    But it's also well documented that they take very long to restore a hard disk from their extremely inefficient backups.

    Well, cheap/free packages are always OK to a point. I will say that. But there does come a point where scalability stops, and worse, where are the resources when you break the product?
    I can assure that Rackspace won't have them. Especially if you wish to run a custom configuration...heck they don't even support Apache updates if you run mod_security - which IMHO is very useful on a production server (and also very popular).

    Can you afford 2-3 days downtime whilst someone fixes a bug which brought down your database? That's my main concern really.
    Can you afford 2-3 day downtime when Rackspace restores your failed hard disk from backup?

    Low-cost doesn't mean low-quality, and high-cost doesn't mean high-quality. In the case of Rackspace, I think they charge way too much for the service (or lack thereof) they offer.
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  28. #28
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    LOL Layer0,

    I've only been with them a short time. And I can assure you, I've found loads and loads who are just so bad, I wanted to burn their datacentres down But so far they've been very good.

    I haven't used their backup service, but if you've got mirrored disks, restores should not be necessary that often.

    I'm only putting forward my experiences to date. And so far, Rackspace have shown to be the best. With 30 years in IT, I've seen a lot of crap companies, and a handful of good ones.

    These are just my experiences,

  29. #29
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    I've only been with them a short time. And I can assure you, I've found loads and loads who are just so bad, I wanted to burn their datacentres down
    Sure, there are many companies that are worse than Rackspace. But there are also plenty who are better

    But so far they've been very good.
    Glad to hear.

    I haven't used their backup service, but if you've got mirrored disks, restores should not be necessary that often.
    Yes, but RAID cards do fail, and there will be other times when you need a backup restored (e.g. you accidentally screwed something up).

    I'm only putting forward my experiences to date. And so far, Rackspace have shown to be the best. With 30 years in IT, I've seen a lot of crap companies, and a handful of good ones.
    Well, I'm glad to hear, but I've personally experienced many better companies than Rackspace, and others on the forum share this experience.
    MediaLayer, LLC - www.medialayer.com Learn how we can make your website load faster, translating to better conversion rates for your business!
    The pioneers of optimized web hosting, featuring LiteSpeed Web Server & SSD Storage - Celebrating 10 Years in Business

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