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Re: hardware/optimizations for a download-webserver

On Jul 16, 2004, at 8:28 PM, Russell Coker wrote:
Installing a single machine and hoping for the best often gives better

I agree in most cases.

One possible better solution that is one step short of creating a cluster is installing a single machine, and making sure that rock-solid bare-metal backups happen regularly and that an identical "offline" machine is available on a few minutes notice if the site is manned 24/7, and available on a PRE-agreed-to timeframe (including downtime) at a dark site.

The hard part about the above is people try to skip the step of buying the IDENTICAL hardware for the standby machine and then scramble to reconfigure or fight with other hardware issues when they swing to the machine manually.

Other good ways to do this include a shared RAID'ed network filesystem on a central box and two front-end boxes that are load-balanced with a hardware load-balancer. That gets into the "must be up 24/7" realm, or close to it. I worked on an environment that did this with a hardware NFS server (NetApp) and the front-ends could be up or down, it just didn't matter... as long as enough of them were up to handle the current load.

But I have a feeling judging by the original poster's file sizes and traffic load, that his machine is probably not a required 24/7 uptime type system.

It's fun to design systems like that, though. Quite a good mental exercise thinking of all the possible points of failure and communicating them to those who have to make the money/redundancy-level decisions.

Nate Duehr, nate@natetech.com

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