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

Software, Linux and Apache

By: Sander Sassen

Naturally we could’ve used Microsoft’s IIS web server or .NET framework, but really we feel that Microsoft’ place is on the desktop and not in the server market. If we were to use, for example, Microsoft Windows 2000 Pro, our server would need to be at least three times more powerful to be able to offer the same level of performance. And let’s not start talking about uptime shall we, with the server load we’ll be putting on our server we’d not get anywhere near the uptime we’ll be able to reach with Linux, or at least not without daily work on the server to make sure it keeps on running. With Linux however you can basically turn it on and walk away, provided you got a system administrator that knows what he’s doing and has set up everything correctly.

Finished Server CPUs

Fig 10. The two Tualatins in SMP configuration, fully supported by RedHat Linux.

So why did we pick RedHat? For several reasons actually; RedHat is one of the largest Linux distributions, has a very large established user base and offers very good and frequent updates, fixes and workarounds which can be automated also. We’ve been using RedHat for a number of previous projects, including the old Hardware Analysis web server and it has proven to be stable, flexible and easy to maintain. Furthermore it has all of the components pre-installed that make setting up a web server simple and effective. The new Hardware Analysis web server is running RedHat Linux 7.3 with SMP kernel, Apache 1.3.27, PHP 4.2.3 with Zend Optimizer 2.0.1 and MySQL 4.0.4.

Although the old Hardware Analysis web server is retired and no longer actively serving any of Hardware Analysis’ content we’re keeping it on standby if things indeed get really busy, during heavy traffic spikes. We will use it for serving static content utilizing Linux in-kernel web server called Tux. See TUX-2.2-Manual for more info, which will offload the main server and will enable us to push our output bandwidth to new heights.

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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