Survey: Favored Rails Production Environment


#1

We’re trying to set up a colocated server for deploying a Rails
application or three. Right now I’m undecided between a PC-based
server running FreeBSD and an Xserve running OS X. I’ve never
colocated before so I’m wondering if anyone has stories, tips, or
could say what their preferred OS is for running Rails.

I’m also wondering how performance of Ruby is with single/dual
processors. Is it worth getting a DP Xeon or G5? Is the processor
going to be the bottleneck or the bandwidth?

TIA for any feedback!


#2

On 30 Mar 2006, at 18:19, Raymond B. wrote:

We’re trying to set up a colocated server for deploying a Rails
application or three. Right now I’m undecided between a PC-based
server running FreeBSD and an Xserve running OS X. I’ve never
colocated before so I’m wondering if anyone has stories, tips, or
could say what their preferred OS is for running Rails.

I’m also wondering how performance of Ruby is with single/dual
processors. Is it worth getting a DP Xeon or G5? Is the processor
going to be the bottleneck or the bandwidth?

OS X Server has never been the fastest server, and I personally don’t
think it has anything to do with single or dual processor, but with
the nature of OS X itself. If you want to squeeze as much performance
as possible out of your server, I can garantee you a Linux server is
going to be better. On the other hand, OS X is easier to manage using
Apple Remote Desktop.

Website performance is always going to be the combination between
available bandwidth and the amount of requests your server can
handle, but most of the times, your server is going to be the culprit
when your website doesn’t perform.
As much as I love the Mac for my development and think OS X Server is
a good solution for basic serving (fileserving, dataserving,
webserving), I’d never use it in a production environment. When you
colocate a PC-based server, just make sure it’s good quality,
replacing parts can be quite expensive if you’re colocation your own
server.

HTH!

Best regards

Peter De Berdt


#3

On Thu, 2006-03-30 at 18:55 +0200, Peter De Berdt wrote:

going to be the bottleneck or the bandwidth?

OS X Server has never been the fastest server, and I personally don’t
think it has anything to do with single or dual processor, but with
the nature of OS X itself. If you want to squeeze as much performance
as possible out of your server, I can garantee you a Linux server is
going to be better. On the other hand, OS X is easier to manage using
Apple Remote Desktop.


freenx on Linux - ends that discussion

server.


I have read many articles on lack of threading that hampers db
performance on OS X

Craig


#4

On Mar 30, 2006, at 6:28 PM, Craig W. wrote:

processors. Is it worth getting a DP Xeon or G5? Is the processor


server.


I have read many articles on lack of threading that hampers db
performance on OS X

Funny that everyone is focusing on performance, as though that’s the
only (or at least most important) aspect of this decision.

Why did Ezra choose OS X? I don’t know, but I’d bet it might have
something to do with the fact that it’s never been remotely rooted.

Not saying it cannot, just that it has not.

The slowest Macintosh today is considerably faster than the fastest
PCs available when Amazon and Google were conceived and created…


– Tom M.


#5

Who offers OS X hosting? For those that colo, an OS X server’s cost is
probably in the neighborhood of a Xeon, but not Athlons, etc.

Performance and cost are very important to me. The fear of my getting
remotely rooted on Linux is really small. It can happen, but I hope my
keeping software up-to-date, using more secure passwords, and keeping
backups, can save me if it ever does (and it hasn’t in my about ten
years of having machines online, and my servers get lots of weird
“traffic”).

Joe


#6

Umm… Google may have had low-rent white boxes but they had
hundreds of them in a farm and they were running their own custom
linux kernel.

Without knowing pretty much any of your constraints (dollars, what the
applications are/do, is there going to be a database running on this
box, etc.) I’d stick with the tried-and-true: UNIX/Linux/*BSD + Apache
runs about 3/4s of the Web (see Netcraft data for actual numbers) and
there is tons of information and support for this combination.


#7

On Mar 30, 2006, at 7:42 PM, Joe wrote:

Who offers OS X hosting? For those that colo, an OS X server’s cost is
probably in the neighborhood of a Xeon, but not Athlons, etc.

http://www.xservhosting.com/

And many others…

http://tinyurl.com/fx6o7

Performance and cost are very important to me. The fear of my getting
remotely rooted on Linux is really small. It can happen, but I hope my
keeping software up-to-date, using more secure passwords, and keeping
backups, can save me if it ever does (and it hasn’t in my about ten
years of having machines online, and my servers get lots of weird
“traffic”).

I don’t disagree with anything you say here.


– Tom M.


#8

It’s not a matter of low rent white boxes, or having hundreds of
them.

http://tinyurl.com/4chye

  1. 40GB storage.

We have a fantastic surplus of computing power these days.

Ezra has discussed the Yakima Times Herald’s website. A dual
processor XServe serves all app requests (not DB) and is
around 15% busy.

http://tinyurl.com/rz5jf

So, YES, no question, Macs are NOT the most cost effective
solution in terms of $/hit. But that simply doesn’t disqualify
them for many people, as there are many other factors in
making a server decision.


– Tom M.


#9

I currently maintain an xserve with 8 virtually host rails apps, some
blogs(typo) some custom. I used Darwin Ports to install everything,
except MySQL which I just got straight.

Here is the thing with OSX Server. It’s good for everything not custom.
The server tools are clean and nice. Everything works well, until, you
want to do something not in the norm. It can be done, but then you end
up in Terminal.app more than Server Admin.app. No big deal, just know
this.

We are 100% Apple (desktop & server) that has benefits too.

Performance, Cost, blah, Hardware will be slightly higher with Apple.
Support has been wonderful. Especially when I totally f’d up email going
to 10.4. :slight_smile: Performance, oh come on, who doesn’t want an entire rack of
XServers. Plus with XSan, oh the hotness.


#10

Tom M. wrote:

cost effective solution in terms of $/hit.

Heh, for some reason, I can see that metric term catching on.

Joe


#11

That is funny.

When I wrote it, I didn’t notice, but now… :slight_smile:


– Tom M.


#12

OS X Server has never been the fastest server, and I personally don’t
think it has anything to do with single or dual processor, but with
the nature of OS X itself. If you want to squeeze as much performance
as possible out of your server, I can garantee you a Linux server is
going to be better. On the other hand, OS X is easier to manage using
Apple Remote Desktop.


freenx on Linux - ends that discussion

Sure, and it outperfoms both Apple Remote Desktop and Terminal
Services, but… X11 on your Mac at home (which you’ll probably use
to manage the server) is a memory hog :slight_smile: But FreeNX rulez, no doubt
about that…

server.


I have read many articles on lack of threading that hampers db
performance on OS X

Yep, that’s what I thought too, but I didn’t dare say it out loud…

Best regards

Peter De Berdt


#13

Thanks everyone for the info. I’m leaning toward a Xeon running
FreeBSD, which seems like it might be the overall favored deployment
setup for Rails, so far. But I should give just a bit of background.

I don’t expect a ton of traffic, perhaps 500 users a day for what is
basically a non-public CMS with emphasis on image handling and FTP
stuff. The main problem I’m having on our shared host is running out
of memory with ImageMagick routines, and while I plan on rewriting the
app to use MiniMagick, I’m sure lots of memory would help. I also
expect that a Xeon would be ideal, but on some of the TextDrive
forums, I hear that 64-bit processors tend to use several times the
memory that 32-bit processors do on ImageMagick type routines. Is this
true?? Or is it possible ImageMagick is just sloppy or has been
misconfigured, or in need of more frequent garbage collection?

Finally, I am planning on running MySQL on the same server. Is this
a complete crime? From what I gather here and in the list archives,
one really wants to have it on a separate server, but the database
won’t likely be taxed nearly as much as the processor or network, I’m
thinking. I’ll only have 20 or 30 tables and plan to optimize a bit
once I see some real-world usage. Is this realistic?


#14

Raymond B. wrote:

Thanks everyone for the info. I’m leaning toward a Xeon running
FreeBSD, which seems like it might be the overall favored deployment
setup for Rails, so far. But I should give just a bit of background.

I don’t expect a ton of traffic, perhaps 500 users a day for what is
basically a non-public CMS with emphasis on image handling and FTP
stuff. The main problem I’m having on our shared host is running out
of memory with ImageMagick routines, and while I plan on rewriting the
app to use MiniMagick, I’m sure lots of memory would help. I also
expect that a Xeon would be ideal, but on some of the TextDrive
forums, I hear that 64-bit processors tend to use several times the
memory that 32-bit processors do on ImageMagick type routines. Is this
true?? Or is it possible ImageMagick is just sloppy or has been
misconfigured, or in need of more frequent garbage collection?

Finally, I am planning on running MySQL on the same server. Is this
a complete crime? From what I gather here and in the list archives,
one really wants to have it on a separate server, but the database
won’t likely be taxed nearly as much as the processor or network, I’m
thinking. I’ll only have 20 or 30 tables and plan to optimize a bit
once I see some real-world usage. Is this realistic?

I have a lot more traffic than 500 users a day, and an Athlon box (w/ 1
GB RAM) handles it fine. The database server (PostgreSQL) is also on the
same machine. Imagemagick operations can hit the CPU hard though.

Joe


#15

On 31 Mar 2006, at 17:09, Raymond B. wrote:

forums, I hear that 64-bit processors tend to use several times the
memory that 32-bit processors do on ImageMagick type routines. Is this
true?? Or is it possible ImageMagick is just sloppy or has been
misconfigured, or in need of more frequent garbage collection?

Finally, I am planning on running MySQL on the same server. Is this
a complete crime? From what I gather here and in the list archives,
one really wants to have it on a separate server, but the database
won’t likely be taxed nearly as much as the processor or network, I’m
thinking. I’ll only have 20 or 30 tables and plan to optimize a bit
once I see some real-world usage. Is this realistic?

I’d say: deploy first, scale later. Scaling is pretty easy and
doesn’t take a lot of time, buying an extra server does cost a lot,
hate it to be a waste of money. Your FTP stuff won’t put a big strain
on the server itself, ImageMagick probably will, but you could
optimize your application to cache as much as possible (if possible
of course). 500 users isn’t really heavy use either.

Best regards

Peter De Berdt


#16

On Fri, 2006-03-31 at 07:09 -0800, Raymond B. wrote:

forums, I hear that 64-bit processors tend to use several times the
memory that 32-bit processors do on ImageMagick type routines. Is this
true?? Or is it possible ImageMagick is just sloppy or has been
misconfigured, or in need of more frequent garbage collection?

Finally, I am planning on running MySQL on the same server. Is this
a complete crime? From what I gather here and in the list archives,
one really wants to have it on a separate server, but the database
won’t likely be taxed nearly as much as the processor or network, I’m
thinking. I’ll only have 20 or 30 tables and plan to optimize a bit
once I see some real-world usage. Is this realistic?


I would think so but you always have the option of moving the database
to another system if it becomes a bottleneck and that should be rather
simple.

Craig