Chapter 16. Server Hardware

In this chapter, we revisit computer hardware, this time from the server perspective.

Even though each client receives exactly as many bytes as the server sends, the server hardware needs to be more powerful than client hardware because the servers must be capable of handling many clients simultaneously, and usually capable of generating dynamic content as well.

On the other hand, it is common for small web sites to overestimate just how much server power they really need. If your server is handling only one client every several seconds, then you can probably make do with the same hardware that would make a good web client. For the majority of sites, the network connection is more likely than server hardware to be the limiting factor.

Server tuning is the subject of many entire books, and the subject is much larger than I can present in a single chapter. For in-depth detail, some good books on the subject are System Performance Tuning, by Mike Loukides (O’Reilly & Associates); Sun Performance and Tuning, 2nd Edition, by Adrian Cockcroft (Prentice Hall); Configuration and Capacity Planning for Solaris Servers, by Brian Wong (Prentice Hall); and Optimizing Windows NT, by Russ Blake (Microsoft Press).

Box on a Wire

A web server is essentially remote storage that copies data from its RAM or disk to the network connection upon request. It may not be a simple copy, since dynamic content or database access may be involved, but from the user’s point of view, ...

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