[buug] Low end web server
rick at linuxmafia.com
Fri Nov 30 11:37:35 PST 2001
Bill Honeycutt wrote:
> This is going to be a web server running Apache and little else. We need to
> publish some server-side reports to about 100 people in the field, but I
> don't think we'll get more than 100-200 hits / day on the server, so this is
> a very low volume machine.
> Hardware-wise how low should we go, in your opinion?
If you go under a 486 with 64MB RAM and a 2.1 GB hard drive, you'll
probably regret it. But maybe not.
That's what ran my medium-traffic Web / ftp / mailing-list / ssh-shell
server for most of the 1990s.
It eventually got replaced by a K6/233 with 64 MB RAM a pair of 4 GB or
so, nice, fast IBM SCSI drives -- which is temporarily out of service
until I swap in replacements for the drives, its place being filled by
an aged PII/450 with 128 MB RAM and a pair of 9 GB Quantum SCSI drives.
Neither of the latter machines breaks out a sweat under any load, though
the K6 really should get its RAM quadrupled or more, since it's so
I assume that puts your hardware picture in a bit better perspective?
People new to Linux -- especially servers -- usually make the mistake of
vastly overestimating the need for CPU power, while slightly
shortchanging I/O and in particular the disk subsystem. But that
usually doesn't matter, because even a low-end bow with a single,
shlocky IDE hard drive can reliably saturate a T1 line.
> So long as it is rack mounted, I have no other physical qualifications
> in mind. We probably will mirror the drives so that recovery would be
Better have a backup strategy. Using software RAID-1 (mirroring) will
make you feel clever right up until you realise that something's gone
from _both_ drives. Start here:
And it'd be nice if there were a nice, safe choice in reliable,
well-supported PCI ethernet chipsets. It's difficult to say what's your
safe bet, these days. Intel is playing variation-du-jour with its
EthernetExpressPro 100 chipset, and the glory days of the DEC
1040/21041/21140 "Tulip" chipset ended shortly after Intel bought and
discontinued the production line. Someone might be able to recommend a
reliable Tulip clone used by somebody. (NetGear? Samsung? LinkSys?
ADMtek? ASIX? LiteOn? MXIC? STmicro? Kingston? D-Link?)
You see, the other mistake newcomers to hardware for Linux keep making
is to assume that newer is better. Older, standard components are
likely to have mature, well-tested drivers. If you stick to quality
parts, you can do very well indeed. (This is why a lot of people
stocked up on $24 NetGear cards that had genuine DEC Tulip chips on
them, before supply ran out. They're still good.)
> So here's the question:
> What brand?
> What model?
> How much memory?
My favourite brand is "built it myself so I can control component
selection", so I can't help you there. RAM is so cheap, why not just
get 1/2 a gig? But 64 MB will probably be enough.
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