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  1. #1
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    How Much Bandwidth Do I Need?

    Hello all, I run a popular Canadian site called CKA at www.canadaka.net
    I am trying to improve the performance of the site and I am looking at getter another server to offload many of the other smaller sites I also host on my main Dual Xeon rackserver. At the same time I am looking for a new Colocation host, because I feel im paying way too much at my current host.

    But something I am confused about is how much bandwidth I need. I am not talking about bandwidth in the data transfer sense, but in the connection speed.

    Many hosts have options/packages ranging from 1Mbps to 100Mbps. Many packages with 1,3,5,10Mbps are "unmetered" where are 100Mbps is usualy metered. I'm not sure what speed I need for my site so that there is no bottleneck at peak times. Because the price difference changes a lot between these options, so if a 10Mbps won't have any noticable difference over a 3Mbps, why pay more?

    I'm not really that imformed on all this, but i have MRTG setup on my server here: http://hosting.canadaka.net/mrtg/
    so someone more knoledable than me might be able to better acess what I need?

    As far as data transfer, the server uses between 300GB - 500GB a month.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
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    The best thing for you to do is simply get a more powerful server. If your site uses 300-500 GB bandwidth per monthm, then technically you don't need more then 2 Mbit, however that is 2 Mbit running at a constant speed. If you have a high traffic website, it's best to have your server put on a 100 Mbit PORT, and use metered services such as 1000-3000 GB. This allows you to burst your bandwidth, incase you get a bunch of users at once. If you get a bunch of users at once on a 2 Mbit, that 240 KB/s is going to fill up quite fast, and your users will notice slow speeds.

    Hope this helped.

    You can email mike at rackedhosting dot com if you have more questions.

  3. #3
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    thats what im concerned about, at peak times when there is 500+ people on just my 1 site. im pretty the bandwidth is high.

    I'm just investigating this for cost reasons. packages with a static bandwidth speed unmetered are much better value than unmetered 100Mbit
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  4. #4
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    Apr 2003
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    For your situation, metered bandwidth is much more cost effective. In most cases, you can easily hit 100 Mbit on a metered bandwidth server.

  5. #5
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    Also factor in what your burst costs are and how they are billed, most companies go at the 95th percentile, so you only get charged if you are bursting over your bandwidth agreement 5% of the time. You might want to look into colo companies than can cut you some slack on the bursts, at least for a bit, so you can see how much bandwidth you really utilize.

    So, in your situation, I think it is important to find a company that has a very helpful engineering team and isn't too big. One of the smaller guys with a great network should be able to work with you a lot more until you are established on your bandwidth rates.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2002
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    Looking at your MRTG charts - you don't need 2Mbps. You should be paying for 1Mbps (or even 1/2) with the ability to burst up to 10. I'm a little confused about your question though. Your bandwidth theoretically is not going to be faster if you have a 100 Mbps connection or even with a GB uplink. Looks like your max over 8 months is about 320k. Thus, you should even be fine with paying for a 512k pipe. (1/2 meg) Also, if you are billed on a 95th percentile, you should note your nightly backups are what will cost you the most. Your daily average seems to be 230k while your backups burst up to 1 Mbit.

    Simply, paying for 10 Mbps wont get you any "faster". It will allow you to grow and serve more pageviews. I would suspect if you are having speed issues at peak times that either it's your server, or the network you are on is not terribly great. If you pay for 1 Mbps - you should get that much without speed issues. You should also be allowed to burst over that (up to 10Mbps or 100) without significant performance issues.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Actually, the first question to ask is whether you are doing gzip compression on your HTML that you serve.

    Second, the key is that traffic is very "bursty" - with many people on cable modems or DSL, your site will appear slow if you are truly capped at your average rate. For that 10 seconds that the user is loading the page, you want to be sending the page as fast as you can.

    What I think would serve you best is paying a rate that includes say 500-750GB per month in the base rate, with each additional GB charged extra. In that case, your provider will want to put you on the fastest connection he can, so that you will use up more bandwidth.

    Also, a lot of providers don't know what they are doing when they set up per-mbps rate caps, and set them up in a way that really affects performance (such as not allowing a burst margin).

    Hope this helps, eh? (I grew up in Ontario )

  8. #8
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    Jan 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canadaka
    I'm not really that imformed on all this, but i have MRTG setup on my server here: http://hosting.canadaka.net/mrtg/
    so someone more knoledable than me might be able to better acess what I need?

    As far as data transfer, the server uses between 300GB - 500GB a month.
    I just wanted to note that the MRTG and your estimate of 300-500GB or contradicting each other. The MRTG is showing no more than 60GB of usage. Based on that MRTG you'd be fine for a good while with a 1 Mbit/sec commitment. With most colocation places you should be able to get a 100 Mbit/sec port with a 1 Mbit/sec commitment, and that should be more than adequate.
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  9. #9
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    Aug 2001
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike_Clory
    If your site uses 300-500 GB bandwidth per monthm, then technically you don't need more then 2 Mbit, however that is 2 Mbit running at a constant speed.
    Ignore this. The total data you transfer in a month has absolutely nothing to do with what your maximum throughput rate needs to be at any given time.

    Next - who's telling you you're transferring 300GB-500GB per month? Based on the graph you linked above there's just NO WAY you're even close to that, backups or no backups.

    Are you currently billed on a 95th percentile basis, or per GB? What are you paying? You can get service to fit your needs from a number of very good colo providers for $100/month or so (and that will leave you plenty of room to grow).

    What you need is a 10mbps connection with a low commit - 512kbps or so will do for now, although your commit will ramp up over time. The 'faster' port (technically an incorrect term) will allow you to handle more peak traffic without degrading the experience of your users.

  10. #10
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    Karl it looks like you type faster than I do w/r/t the 300-500GB

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbtrussell
    Karl it looks like you type faster than I do w/r/t the 300-500GB
    People mock me for my typing style, but it seems fast enough. :-)

    You covered a couple things I didn't though. I definitely agree, you should be able to find what you need now, 512k/sec on a 10 Mbit/sec port, etc. for around $100, unless location is very important to you.
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  12. #12
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    I think you should think of the peak hours and also how much traffic you would expect in the coming, say, half a year of time.
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
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    Stick with metered services.... there is NO REASON to get an unmetered connection in your situation.


    Also, 1 Mbit = 330 GB... 2 Mbit = 660 GB CONSTANT.

    Figure it out.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike_Clory
    Also, 1 Mbit = 330 GB... 2 Mbit = 660 GB CONSTANT.
    Figure it out.
    Are you guys ever gonna figure out this has no relevance whatsoever to anything? Seriously, no offense but you might as well tattoo 'clueless' on your forehead every time you post this.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    32

    * Is it my math or........

    Quote Originally Posted by KarlZimmer
    I just wanted to note that the MRTG and your estimate of 300-500GB or contradicting each other. The MRTG is showing no more than 60GB of usage.
    Ok maybe I'm missing something but ~160kB/s = ~1.25MBits/s = ~ 400GB/month doesn't it? And that put his calculation pretty much in line with the mrtg graphs..... his graphs are in bytes and not bits....is that the confusion here?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbtrussell
    Ignore this. The total data you transfer in a month has absolutely nothing to do with what your maximum throughput rate needs to be at any given time.

    Next - who's telling you you're transferring 300GB-500GB per month? Based on the graph you linked above there's just NO WAY you're even close to that, backups or no backups.

    Are you currently billed on a 95th percentile basis, or per GB? What are you paying? You can get service to fit your needs from a number of very good colo providers for $100/month or so (and that will leave you plenty of room to grow).

    What you need is a 10mbps connection with a low commit - 512kbps or so will do for now, although your commit will ramp up over time. The 'faster' port (technically an incorrect term) will allow you to handle more peak traffic without degrading the experience of your users.
    whoa lots of replies! thanks. for some reason i was not getting the notification emails.

    I found out that with my current host I have a 1Mbps burstable to 100... So maybe thats why the values on the MRTG don't go over 1Mbps often, there being caped because the bursting doens't work so well? I guess I could find a host with both metered and unmetered plans that would allow me to switch. So I could try out a metered 100Mbit connection and see what the highest value on the MRTG gets to during peak times, so i know the lowest unmetered connection I could go with. But I guess unmetered is for sites that use tons of bandwidth, where as im more concerned with speed, so unmetered is better for me?

    I am getting the total GB data transfer value from the hosts web control panel that shows these values. Also if I were to add up the values in the web log files from my main sites they equal something in that ballpark.

    Currently I am only getting 400GB a month on that 1Mbps burstable to 100. and I pay $375 CAD (inc tax) for that and 2U rackspace. Which I think is way too much, even for Canada. Colocation and bandwidth seems to be a fair bit more than in the US, but I have found much cheaper rates than my current host recently. www.canadawebhosting.ca is where I am now, they have a good network I think, on Peer1. But I always kinda thought i had a 100Mbit metered connection.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by wishnet
    Ok maybe I'm missing something but ~160kB/s = ~1.25MBits/s = ~ 400GB/month doesn't it? And that put his calculation pretty much in line with the mrtg graphs..... his graphs are in bytes and not bits....is that the confusion here?
    Yep, you're correct, that is the confusion, as I'm not used to seeing MRTG's in Kilobytes/sec as well, no one measures bandwidth in bytes... That definitely changes everything and makes the original findings pretty accurate.

    As a note, why is anyone measuring data transfer in bytes? That just makes it more confusing for the user when they're paying for bandwidth in bits...
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  18. #18
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    Having a server capped at 1Mbps is definately not something you want when looking for a provider that bills you per GB, they should want to bill you MORE unless you explicitly ask for it.

    You're definately going over 1Mbps though
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  19. #19
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    Sounds like your provider is either capping you at 1mbps with a burst margin, or does not have enough bandwidth to serve you and his other clients. Are you sure he isn't giving you 1mbps with a burst margin, then connecting you via 100mbps to his switch? I would look over the exact wording of what you have been offered.

  20. #20
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    Sep 2002
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    BC, Canada
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    here is the response i got when I asked what my bandwidth speed was.

    Please note that with your package you have 1 MBPS, burstable to 100 MBPS. Therefore 1 MBPS link is given to the server however in cases of peak loads that can burst up to 100 MBPS

    If you want more than 1 MBPS guaranteed, then you would need to go for 95% percentile. In that, the total transfer is not monitored, but we just set X MBPS as the limit. Please note however that for this option we would charge you on per MBPS basis, rather than the per GB basis in the GB data transfer model. Should you wish to pursue this option please update this ticket and I will refer you to a Business Account Manager (BAM) who will be able to assist you with this.
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  21. #21
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    MRTG graphs should not be trusted for realtime maximum values, as they are based on samples which are each averaged over a period of time. For instance, if the samples are based on 5 minute averages (which is the norm), you could be hitting 10Mbps for one minute, do absolutely no traffic for 4 minutes and end up having a sample that shows 2Mbps.

    What it sounds like in your last post, is that you have 1Mbps of dedicated bandwidth, while the rest is shared (most likely implemented through QoS). Since you appear to be doing closer to 1.5Mbps, you probably need more bandwidth allocated to you.

    Since your traffic is pretty constant, it might not be a bad idea to go 95th percentile. 95th percentile also tends to be cheaper for the same amount of traffic, so it wouldn't hurt to check with your current provider to see what type of pricing they can offer you. Just keep an eye on your traffic to make sure there aren't any spikes for more than 36 hours of the month. You can also have your provider rate limit you to a level you feel comfortable paying in a worst case scenario. IMHO, it's actually a good thing that they will limit you to a rate of your choosing as some providers will charge for this feature.
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  22. #22
    i think thats about the best description i've seen on this thread, good job HHW!

    n

  23. #23
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    Yes I agree, thank you very much HHW.
    Would the program DU Meter be any better at reading realtime maximum values?
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