[DCN-TechOps] Base Specs for App Server]

Bill Broadley bill at math.ucdavis.edu
Fri Mar 12 18:34:36 PST 2004

On Fri, Mar 12, 2004 at 09:18:10AM -0800, Steve McMahon wrote:
> Great meeting last night! Here are my baseline specs for the app server.

ACK, I had the best of intensions for attending this one.  I've quite
a bit of experience with Zope at Math and CSE.

> Goal: platform for cpu/ram intensive apps like Zope.

I'd start with making sure that apache or similar is configured to act as
a cache for zope, it makes all the difference in the world performance
wise, and nicely integrates into Zope (i.e. timeout values under the
zope properties panel).  I've seen performance improvements over
a factor of 10.

> Processor: Performance roughly comparable to (or better than) 2GHz Intel

I'd recommend getting an Opteron from Sun, IBM, HP or one of the smaller
vendors.  Especially on dynamic content and database related work.

HP's dual opteron page has a web benchmark where a single opteron out
performs a dual P4.  Ars technia, among others have shown the opteron
to have significant advantages for this kind of thing.  The opteron is
rather unique in that often the dual cpu actually manages double
the throughput of a single cpu machine.

I can dig up URLs if needed.

> Storage: ~200 GB -- possibly configured as two drives in RAID1; At least 
> 7,200 RPM, (10,000 would be nice, but may be too expensive); Ultra DMA 
> or SCSI

In most cases I've seen performance for this kind of thing scales
much closer to the number of heads and hardly at all with RPM.  I'd
recommend 2-4 160 GB drives for $100 each or so.  Preferably SATA.

Ideally you have enough ram to minimize the disk intensive nature
of your workload.

> Tape Backup: I hope someone who knows these gadgets better can spec this 
> part. In any case, compatible with what's otherwise in use by DCN.

I can't comment without knowing what is in use by DCN, but am reasonably
familiar with the tape technologies available.  With more info I could
help make a suggestion.

The AMD has other benefits, it's more secure with hardware to help avoid
buffer overflows, it can directly address > 4GB ram, and is rather
inexpensive.  Appro sells duals with 4GB ram starting at $2,100, Sun
starts at $2,795, and HP starts at $1600.  Not sure if this fits the
budget or not.

Bill Broadley
Computational Science and Engineering
UC Davis

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