Designing and building a web server is something you generally don’t do over the weekend, it takes time to properly pick the right components and make the web server scalable and powerful enough to last for at least the next year or so. In our case we’ve designed a whole new server from the ground up and have taken the time to think through every design choice we made and every component we’ve picked. In the past few pages you’ll have noticed that we did take a different approach than most by using IDE-RAID instead of SCSI for our storage sub system, a choice that has saved us a lot of money and proved to be a much faster solution overall.
Fig 12. The finished web server with the top cover removed.
We’ve been evaluating our server for more than 100-days since we brought it online, running performance and stability tests and naturally tweaking the OS, Apache and our html, PhP and MySQL code. One thing became immediately apparent when making real world comparisons to out-of-the-box web server solutions from Dell, Compaq, Sun and others and that’s the fact that we’re much faster and able to offer substantially higher output bandwidth than comparable offerings from these OEMs. This not only brings home our point that a web server needs to be tailored to fit the application, but also that home-built solutions can easily compete with readily bought solutions. All that it takes is a little time and effort and good grasp of what the web server is set out to do.
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