Servers are too fast!

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We got a couple of new servers at Solfo recently which showed me one of the reasons virtualization is so popular now: Servers are too fast!

The "standard issue" CPU is now a quad-2.5GHz CPU, so in each server we have 20 GHZ CPU and 32GB ram (at less than $50 per gigabyte it's too cheap to not just fill it up and be done upgrading). Just a few years ago the CPUs we were getting were "only" dual 2GHz, for ~8GHz CPU per box. That's a big increase!

In each "tier" of the application (app servers, db servers, search servers) our main reason for having more than one or two servers is redundancy / high availability - never lack of CPU and rarely because we need more memory.

Here's from one of our webservers (virtualized with Xen with 6 of the 8 CPUs on the "real" hardware).


The big exception is the MySQL servers where we get constrained by I/O so we need a single chassis with lots of disks (the $$ version would be to get external enclosures or SAN boxes with disks) and of course in the MySQL servers we can easily use all 32GB ram.

Anyway, the conclusion: Please give us cheaper, lower power CPUs. More memory, sure - we'll figure out to use it. More disk I/O: yes, please! More more more! Faster CPUs makes sense at scale, of course, but for a smaller website with just a handful of million visitors a month we just can't make a dent in the available CPU. Maybe if we used Ruby instead of Perl. ;-) (just kidding).

(I realize that AMD and Intel makes plenty "slow" CPUs, but they don't come in server boxes with fast I/O and all that).

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Thanks to Xen and the other VMs; Here in the server room, we only screem for more memory, Memory , MEMory !!
(maybe our DB servers are no too busy

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This page contains a single entry by Ask Bjørn Hansen published on March 4, 2008 3:44 PM.

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