After almost 7 years of operation as of next month on the big bad Internet and well over 100 million visitors, TweakTown has transformed into a large online computer magazine from its humble beginnings as a personal website with a couple of tweaking guides.
As we become larger, the amount of visitors to our website increases and the server hardware eventually needs to be upgraded or new hardware added into the array. For the longest time, we survived quite well on an old Pentium 4 server box running at 2.8GHz with just 2GB DDR memory and a couple PATA drives in RAID 1. This box would probably last another year or so if we continued generating the same amount of hits. With expansion plans in the works, we had to do something to ensure our information is always quickly accessible no matter how much traffic we have coming to our website.
Yesterday our fabulous and reliable hosts over at Cheeta Web implemented a second web server box which serves as our database server. TweakTown is based on a MySQL and PHP front and back-end and the most intensive part of our website by far is the databases. Our new U2 rack mount server is a customized Dell PowerEdge 2850 with 2 x Intel Xeon 3.2GHz single core processors, 6GB DDR-2 memory and 4 x 146GB 10K RPM Ultra 320 SCSI drives in RAID 10 - Yes, it's a beast! Our old server was able to transfer data at a maximum of around 44MB/s and the new box is capable of a little over 138MB/s.
While it may be considered over-kill, at heart we are enthusiasts and love faster computers - so why not have a web server which reflects the type of PC we like to run. The old Pentium 4 box is still dishing out all of our static data including HTML files, images and advertisements. The page generation time has been cut down a lot; you should notice some loading time improvements. However, the most important factor in this server upgrade is the fact that we'll be able to handle more hits while ensuring our content is always available to be viewed at a fast speed.
We'll likely be adding more servers in Asia and Europe soon to help facilitate our plans of a real global presence. For now, we are rocking along very smoothly on our two servers in North America.