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  Building a High-Performance Web Server 
  Oct 18, 2002, 07:30am EDT 

Motherboard, Integrated Solution

By: Sander Sassen

Next we needed a motherboard that offered both dual Tualatin support as well as a chipset that has proven to be reliable. Furthermore it needed to have everything integrated as a 2U-rack case doesn’t allow for using full height/length PCI or AGP cards. We again consulted Tyan about a suitable motherboard and they were quick to send us their Thunder LE-T. The Thunder LE-T uses the ServerWorks ServerSet III LE3 chipset and has dual onboard Intel 82559 based 10/100MB LAN, built in Promise FastTrak 100TX2 ATA-100 IDE-RAID and supports registered PC-133 memory. Our primary concern with a motherboard was that its chipset and other onboard components were compatible with the operating system we’ll be using, which is RedHat Linux. Fortunately both the chipset and the other onboard components were on the hardware compatibility list for RedHat.

Tyan Thunder LE-T Motherboard

Fig 6. The Tyan Thunder LE-T motherboard featuring the ServerWorks LE3 chipset.

Naturally a server needs memory, and lots of it, but too much would just not make sense so we had to determine how much we needed exactly and then add a little extra for reserve. Our old web server got by with 256MB of PC-133 SDRAM and only really ran into problems when we got heavy traffic. Our new server needed to have at least 512MB but we naturally had to test this prior to deciding whether we’d stop at 512MB or upgrade to 1GB. After having run some tests with the RedHat Linux OS we quickly found that the sweet spot was around 700MB. We could load a larger number of executable files into main memory which resulted in a substantial performance boost so 1GB was definitely worth it. We consulted Crucial about our memory needs and they were more than happy to provide us with 1GB of Registered PC-133.

Crucial Registered SDRAM

Fig 7. A total of 1GB Crucial Registered PC-133 SDRAM

We then proceeded to test the web server configuration with the four WD1200JB harddisks in RAID0+1, 1GB of Registered PC-133 SDRAM memory and the two 1.26GHz Tualatins for a period of two weeks and didn’t run into any issues or problems. The RAID0+1 array proved to be just as fast as previously tested and fault tolerant too when unplugging harddisks while under load. And the server as a whole was able to offer up to 2.5Mbit of outgoing bandwidth, at what point we saturated the Apache web server with too many requests handled, the hardware however never budged or was near 100% load, we just pushed the software to its limits.

1. Introduction
2. Storage, Requirements
3. Storage, IDE-RAID
4. Processors, Intel or AMD
5. Motherboard, Integrated Solution
6. Enclosure, 2U-rack case
7. Software, Linux and Apache
8. Hosting, Nxs Internet
9. Summary

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