Linux server configuration help...

Okay... here's the deal.

I need to put together a machine to run as a web server and email server (linux). It should be a fairly light load... not more than maybe 100 users a day. Now, that being the case... how much memory should we need to support the efficent running of those two processes.

we don't have a gang of money to play with... about $2100...and we had configured through this one reseller a pretty nice AMD64 3400 machine with Raid and two 200GB Maxtor SATA 8MBcache drives. but we were stuck on memory... the mobo had 3DIMM slots and could only handle 3GB of ram. but we don't have 1GB stick money...

so would say 1.5GB of RAM handle the services that we need rendered... or should we look for something else?

any other insight into this matter is greatly appreciated...thanks in advance...

"so would say 1.5GB of RAM handle the services that we need rendered... or should we look for something else?"

I think that should more than do it and have room for expansion, unless you are running Java Server Pages or J2EE apps that suck massive amounts of memory.

are you talking 100 average concurrent users, or 100 users total?

if concurrent, what's the peak usage?

if it's 100 users total, how often do they use the website/e-mail on average, and how many of them will be concurrent at max peak?

will you have to impliment heavy Anti-Virus or Anti-Spam filtering? That shoots up CPU utilization, but a Athlon 64 should handle it all easily.

asdf should be able to give you a better rundown.

The only way of knowing your memory and CPU needs is to do your own benchmarks. This is direct out of the "Apache cookbook" (O'Reilly). That said, 1.5G is probably enough for a light load. I ran a website with Oracle backend, similar loads, dynamically generated webpages, all on a 2G machine 1400 Athlon. So I think it's OK. I am unfamiliar with the computing power of the AMD64 (I know the Opteron and Athlon, but do not know how the three compare).

What type of SATA controller is it? What driver will it use? For certain ones (like siimage) you will be forced to use the 2.6 kernel with the libata driver. This is fine, but you may not want to be so experimental.

Avoid the Maxtor 250G SATA drive at all costs. We have it here, and it has failed more often than any other drive, by a factor of 5x. We have a sample size of 200 machines (all drives total). I see you have the 200G drive; if it is as bad as the 250G drive, don't get it.

If you can fit it in your chassis, you may want to get a hot spare drive for your RAID.

That's all I can think of right now. TTT for other people who know.

wow... thanks for the heads up on that stuff... I'll have to address the questions in a day or two.. I need to confer with the other half of the decision making process about the first things that you guys brought up.

but, as far as the memory is concerned... a fairly light load is expected. so... I'm glad to hear that we can sneak by with a 1.5GB.

thanks again.. and I'll be back to answer those questions when I have a better idea what I'm talking about;)

okay... some answers...

100 users a day... not concurrent users. I can't really give you any accurate idea on how many users at one time since this is the first implementation of such a server on the college campus.

we're definately gonna be running Anti-virus software...and that's something I totally neglected to consider when I made the initial post. in addition, I also forgot about anti-spam software. so, both of those will be running while the mail server and apache are up and functional. so, with 4 major processes running, is 1.5GB gonna be enough to handle the load?

I'm still a bit lost on the SATA controller. since we haven't purchased anything as of yet, and are still trying to but together the machine on paper...we're open to whatever is going to deliver the most functionality and ease of operation.

I'm with you on the drive thing though. I'd be bullshit running a RAID 1 config and having the mirror shit the bed on us right when the active drive went south. I'm thinking seagate... who cares if its loud...its an f'n server ;) but, we do need the space. 200GB is looking pretty good.

any other ideas on this gentlemen?

thanks again for all the help on this..


My feeling is that you're still OK, powerwise, but don't quote me 100% on it.

I think most of the SATA controllers require the 2.6 kernel. Just keep that in mind. There are a few tricks
in 2.6 that you don't have in 2.4.

well... I spoke to the head of the comp dept at the college. he said that we should be able to run three times as many services on that machine without any hangups....Linux dumps memory when not in use, unlike windows... therefore, the service can be up and running, and not be a terrible strain on system resources...

therefore, I guess we're all set.

thanks again for all the assistance... I've found this part of the OG to be by far the most helpful...and free of bullshit....but I do contribute my fair share on the normal part of the OG...;) being a hippie and all:)