Your suggestions about this Dell configuration?

Frank Shute frank at
Thu May 22 02:01:28 UTC 2008

On Wed, May 21, 2008 at 08:49:51AM +0200, VeeJay wrote:
> Hello friends,
> My employer is buying this Dell server and I would like to have your opinion
> about the configuration.
> Requirements are:
> 2 Websites with 3-4 million hits per month with video ads.

If it's "3-4 million hits per month" as you've stated twice now, then
your hardware is complete overkill.

So I'll assume you mean 3-4 million hits a day for each site.

> Operating System:
> *FreeBSD AMD64    7-STABBLE*

I'd use 7.0-RELEASE.

> Database:
> *PHP+MySQL with Apache*

No problem. You should use Apache 2.*.

> Server Configuration:
> *PowerEdge? 6850 SCSI*
> Dual Core Intel(R) Xeon(R) Processor 7130M, 3.2GHz, 8MB L3 Cache, 800Mhz FSB
> 1x Additional Dual Core Intel(R) Xeon(R) Processor 7130M, 3.2GHz, 8MB L3 Cache,
> 800MHz FSB

Slow FSB. I suppose they hope you hit the cache. Shouldn't matter
because your server is more likely to be disk bound rather than bus

>   16GB 400MHz Dual Rank DDR2 Memory (8X2GB)

Slow memory, to match the slow FSB :) But you've got >250MB per hit.
So use the excess to cache frequently accessed content.

>  C5 Drives attached to embedded PERC4ei, RAID 10
>   PERC 4/DC RAID controller (128MB cache) (1 intern and 1 extern Channel)
> (Should I use controller with Both Internal or Both External Channel? What
> they do?)

Supported according to a quick Google search.

> 5 x 146GB SCSI Ultra320 (15000rpm) 1'' 80 pin harddrives

"No name" or a brand?

> Chassis with support for 3.5'' SCSI Hard Drives
> Dell Remote Access Card 4 SERVER MANAGEMENT CARD

Don't know if this will work. Most guys use a serial console/ssh for

> (I will have hot swappable drives & chassis)
> Thank you in advance.

The performance of this hardware will depend on what *sort* of hits
you get. Are a lot of them just for the homepage? Then just cache it.

Is it static content? 

If you're getting lots of ad-hoc database queries and fetches/writes
from/to disk, then your disks could get a thrashing.

How big's your database? Being read from more than written to? How
precious is the data?

How many of these hits are reading video ads? All of them? How many
KBs are these awful ads?

What bandwidth do you have to these servers?

How you are going to get the best out of your hardware depends on
questions like these, so you have to analyse your Apache logs and tune

Tuning Apache, mysql and PHP are all subjects in their own right.

For FreeBSD, read tuning(7).

Are you running FreeBSD ATM? Then some numbers from iostat, top etc.
would be useful in analysing how your new server is going to cope and
how much spare capacity you'll have, but the numbers are dependent on
how you've tuned it (if at all).

Hope I've given you something to think about.




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