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Official Server Upgrade discussion

Discussion in 'Administrative' started by Clarity, Feb 1, 2005.

  1. Clarity

    Clarity Will Bryant Staff Member


    This thread is a combination of a few different threads that contained some discussion on the server upgrade. They're all merged here.

    -- Cleve


    The bandwidth isn't a problem. Believe it or not, we couldn't really be on a better connection, even if we were paying literally thousands a month to be on it. On that front, we're incredibly fortunate, because for the time being, we/I don't pay a dime for that. I have a friend and a friend-of-a-friend to thank for that arrangement.

    Our problems are query related. Which speaks to the database. Every time you load a page here, you alone are querying the database between 15 and 30 times on average. Just you, on every single page. So imagine for a moment, 300 viewers (registered or not) browsing a new page every 20 seconds. That's (very roughly) 20,250 database queries a minute. 1.2 million queries an hour. By blocking unregistered people, I'm not stopping their queries, only reducing them. So if you see an improvement in performance following that change I made today, it's because we might have (arbitrary numbers follow) gone from 1.2 million queries an hour, to 800k an hour. But you can appreciate how, as we continue to grow, these issues will compound. More queries means more processing.

    When I log directly into the server, I run a command called 'top', which tells me what the server load is, and how the system resources are being spent. To those here familar with such things, we average around 1.5, and spike as high as 4. Anytime there are around 250-300 people here, we're averaging around 3. Our CPU averages around 85% capacity used, but get up over 200 people on the site (registered and non-registered combined, so that's common) and it's fully strained. We have a gig of ram, and that's basically always being used to its maximum capacity these days. BP runs on FreeBSD, using PHP and mySQL. But the machine itself can only handle so much.

    The box itself has dual 1GHz procs, and 1 gig of ram. 3 years or so ago, this was fine for the purpose the machine was built for. I think it ran about $3k at the time for the company that purchased it. Today, we need a box with 4gb ram just to get by with our current traffic and features. 8gb ram if we're going to continue to grow, and add features like the stats engine.

    Anyway, I have to run, but that's the general concept. We have access to more bandwidth than 90% of the local ISPs around the country, but the machine is an issue.

    Please no one be offended if I don't respond to this any further. I just can't be around much right now. Not by choice. If you have any questions or comments, PM them to me and I will respond when I can. I just don't know when that will next be. If you have anything pressing, I recommend contacting any of the mods or admins.

    Apologies for the slow site, we've grown faster than anyone expected. Blocking unregistered people is going to help in the short term, but in the long it's just going to hasten our need for a new box as we're going to see a sharp spike now in new registrations and posters. It's a constant juggling act.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2005
  2. Clarity

    Clarity Will Bryant Staff Member

    I honestly didn't think anyone was bitching. Thump PM'd me earlier and even mentioned this thread, and I thought it was a funny/good idea for an over/under.

    I just want everyone to understand exactly what's causing the slowdown, what we can do about it (block guests), and what we can't.

    I've priced new machines, as have some others. A box with 4gb RAM is what we need at this moment, but it would not suffice, say, a year from now, if the site continues to grow at this same pace and we add the stats engine. A box like that might run around $4-5k. A box with 8gb RAM is what I'm told we would need to handle growth to about two or three times this size, and allow us to put the stats engine in place as well. This seems to run around $12-14k.

    We will run a few drives, and save up for a new machine. So no one needs to worry about the site just going away. That's not going to happen. But we have to tighten our belt a bit to get by in the meantime, by limiting features (I've quietly shut some down, and I don't expect just a ton of people to notice what's missing, if any), and by taking steps like blocking unregistered folks.

    So again, lol, I'm not feeling abused over complaints of site speed. No one should think that. If the site is slow, it's slow, I've done everything I can within my means to fix that. How we fix it from here is going to have to be a community effort I'm afraid, unless I win the lottery next week. But you have to play to win, so there goes that possibility. :wink:

    Now I'm really off. Have to go. Sorry all, be back when and as I can.
  3. BrutusMaximus

    BrutusMaximus I Heart Boobs

    Somethin like this would work. Could even go crazy and use 2 gig sticks of ram, max it out at 8 whenver.

    Last edited: Feb 1, 2005
  4. NorthShoreBuck

    NorthShoreBuck True Madness Requires Significant Intelligence

    I imagine the price Clarity quoted was for the box, operating system and DB but it still seems high.

    I can sell you an entry level iSeries or pSeries for that amount and those machines run banks.

    We went the route that Max suggested awhile back and built a tank of a box for around $5,000. This thing has distributors dumping data and manufacturers viewing rendered graphs and spreadsheets all the time.

    Dual processor, a couple of gigs of RAM and 4 swappable SATA drives did the job. It also had a tape back-up. You are backing up aren't you? I know SCSI is faster but it is expensive and a pain.

    Once tomorrow has come and gone post a fundraiser.
  5. MililaniBuckeye

    MililaniBuckeye The satanic soulless freight train that is Ohio St Staff Member Tech Admin

    To do what C-Dog wants to do, you're going to need way more than "a couple of gigs of RAM", and that's where the huge increase in cost comes. Plus, you'd want a top-of-the-line motherboard and processors (800Mhz-1Ghz front end bus), and the dual processor should be Pentium 4 Xeons or better running at 3Ghz+. You'll also want the fastest hard drives you can reasonably get, and you'll want it in a RAID-5 configuration (minimum 4 36GB drives, but 8 is best) for data safety. Put all that together and you're looking at around $10K, especially if you get good shit, like Dell.
  6. MililaniBuckeye

    MililaniBuckeye The satanic soulless freight train that is Ohio St Staff Member Tech Admin

    Here's an example of a system that will handle anything we can currently throw at it and handle it easily:

    Dual Intel® Xeon™ processor at 3.0GHz/1MB Cache, 800MHz FSB
    8GB DDR2 400MHz (4 X 2GB), Dual Ranked DIMMs
    Embedded PERC4ei, RAID 5 array (8 X 36GB 15K RPM Ultra 320 SCSI Hard Drives)

    This runs $9,619, and that's even without a mouse, monitor, keyboard, and operating system (assuming C-Dog can use the current mouse, monitor, and keyboard he has and obtain an OS for nothing).

    So, you can see what kind of financial obstacle this can be.
  7. LloydSev

    LloydSev DreamWeaver

    Bandwidth isn't close to being all you need to run a server... databases get quite cpu intensive.. requiring large amounts of RAM for the operations..
  8. NorthShoreBuck

    NorthShoreBuck True Madness Requires Significant Intelligence

    Database speed factors are based on the RAM, disks then CPU from the hardware standpoint. Database tuning is out of my knowledge range. I know there are some gurus who can make a system that runs like a three legged dog run like a dog with all four :) but I am not sure what magic they use.

    My little server handles 24 distributors reporting sales of 10,000 items to 5,000 customers each. Sales volume exceeds $1 Billion. 30 manufacturers can get a daily sales report down to the item level at a single store presented graphically with no hesitation. We can easily handle twice the volume. We are going to host a digital dashboard for all our customers using the same server.

    I sell software that drags hardware. I tell my customers to buy the system for expandibility but only buy what they need now. What you will need in a year will be half the cost it is today.

    Mysql could benefit from dual 64 bit AMD processors. I have not read enough about the Xeons with the 64 bit extensions.The 2GB RAM is the cost killer so if you need 4GB today buy 4-1GB and wait until you need more, it will be cheaper then. You will get 8 slots so fill 4 with the 1GB and then fill the other 4 with 2GB later.

    There is a performance hit but a huge cost saving by going from SCSI to SATA. The more drives the better, the CPUs=the mind will always be faster than the drives=the hands. The WD 10K SATA Raptors give a big performance bang for the buck.

    The only thing I see about Mili's config is the integrated controller. I would opt for dual add in controllers which limits the single source of failure. SATA of course since we are on a budget. Mirroring the system drives adds speed and protection.

    Drives fail first, they are mechanical, then power sources and in my unlucky case those frickin integrated controllers. RAID, redundant power and controllers helps there without too much of a price hit.

    I am not sure how much room Clarity has, or how patient Mrs Clarity is, but the future of this type of application is using a grid which way beyond the scope of this discussion. Just think of a rack with a lot of pizza box servers all working together. Need more juice, slide in another box. These boxes can be had for $1000. I imagine he has a tower somewhere and towers will do the job for the foreseeable future if you buy one with the idea of adding additional drives and memory in the future. I just read about about a 1TB consumer NAS that sells for $1000.

    You can buy a system off ebay or from a national whitebox manufacturer for a lot less than IBM, DELL or HP. You get limited warranty and service and that is the risk you take for lower cost. We are an IBM business partner and we had a whitebox dealer build ours. He spanked them on price and matched the three year warranty.
  9. BrutusMaximus

    BrutusMaximus I Heart Boobs

    My Bandwidth comment was in reply to another post.

    Mili, no way you have to spent 10K on a server. Once again I go back to the point that "Dell" is not good shit :)

    When I get to work today, I will price up a kick ass setup, and post it here. Also I dont agree with the Xeon idea. The Opterons are kicking the shit out of the Xeons right now, and cost about half as much. I also agree with Bucknola about the Serial drives. If you go with the Western Digital Raptors, they are 10,000 RPM, and you'll spend about a 3rd of what you would on SCSI's.

    Like I said though, gonna price some stuff up and post it here, see what you guys think.

    Funny, just skimmin over prices of shit, I really wonder if Intel will always have their thumb up their ass. They can have a line of processors out for 10 years, and they will never drop in price. Retards.
  10. BrutusMaximus

    BrutusMaximus I Heart Boobs

    Antec Silent series w/ 350 PS (or whatever) - $66
    SuperMicro X6DAL-XG-O Board - $319
    Dual Xeon 3.0 EMT64 800 mhz 1 meg cache (2) - $690
    6 Gig Registered ECC PC3200 DDR - $1223.94
    LSI SATA Raid Controller - $213.50
    Western Digital Raptor SATA (4) - $704
    Windows 2003 Small Business Server - $469.95

    Total $3686

    Beat that :)
  11. ScarletInMyVeins

    ScarletInMyVeins Tanned Fat Looks Better

    Start here. There may be people who didn't see this the first time that would like to chime in but in the mean time it's as good of place as any to start.
  12. LloydSev

    LloydSev DreamWeaver

    Machine Specs Needed:

    Dual P4 3GHz ~~

    6GB RAM

    4 100GB RAID-10 configuration
    This link explains why RAID-10 would be good

    Gigabit LAN

    Plenty of CASE fans, as servers tend to run hot

    Dual Power Supplies would be good, as it provides fault tolerance

    Windows 2003 Server Enterprise Edition

    Here is the big money buster. Over $3k for the OS, because any of the lower level Win2003 Servers only support a max of 4GB RAM, and some only 2GB.

    The vid card can be built on, and there is no requirement for a sound device.

    Now, as you can see, RAID 10 probobaly isn't the most likely thing we will be able to get, so RAID 1 will be best as it is much cheaper.

    Above is a quoted system I just built on the Dell Website, customized from a base Rack Mountable PowerEdge system (that I work with everyday)

    If anyone wants to talk further about this with me ... I'll gladly set time aside to discuss the server for the site.
  13. MililaniBuckeye

    MililaniBuckeye The satanic soulless freight train that is Ohio St Staff Member Tech Admin

    LloydSev: Are you sure that's a 4-drive RAID? Looks like a 2-drive setup to me.
  14. LloydSev

    LloydSev DreamWeaver

    For those of you who who want to make up the 5% that PayPal takes away, or just want to give more without expecting anything in return...

    Remember that there is a PayPal Donation Button on the front page of BuckeyePlanet.

    Right above the quote I mentioned that it would not be cost effective to run a RAID-10 system, even though it would provide higher fault tolerance (not quite in those words)..

    So I posted a RAID-1 Configuration setup. A system that supports RAID-10 would be a lot more expensive.

    (a lot more expensive meaning $1000 for the two other hard drives, plus about $1000 for the higher end RAID controller)

    The entire reason I only configured with 6GB of RAM is because to make it 8GB would have added an additional $1700 to the price. And we need to be reasonable.
  15. MililaniBuckeye

    MililaniBuckeye The satanic soulless freight train that is Ohio St Staff Member Tech Admin

    Lloyd, I suggest we shoot for a $10-12K system, with a minimum of a 5-drive RAID and 8-12GB RAM. We'll need the RAID for data redundancy/survival and the RAM for performance...actually the larger RAID array will help in performance, too.

    With over 3600 members, even if only one-sixth of them (600) donate $20, that gives us $12K, not counting T-shirt sales, to work with.

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