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I am trying to spec out a server to purchase (physically, not rented from someone like softlayer.com) to run an intranet instace of Flash Media Server 3.5 Interactive. In general, the server will likely be fielding somewhere on the order of 400 connections at a time at the upper limit. Of course, should this increase, we don't want to be stuck. While the decision is not final, we will likely be running the server on Red Hat rather than Windows.

The server will be run on gigabit ethernet.

I have two related questions:
What sort of hardware would I need realistically to support this?
What advice can you offer for settings in tuning FMS/the OS to be performant to this level?

We are looking for a bare minimum that will run this effectively to save on costs. Realistically, the average number of connections will be fairly low (50-150) by comparison with that upper limit estimate. To reiterate: we just want to be cautious in not getting caught when we need more power, but we also need a low-cost solution (doesn't everyone?) and that may take priority.

Windows and RedHat are the two officially supported operating systems. Since FMS is stated to be 32-bit only, I'm sticking with a 32-bit OS. The hardware requirements listed by Adobe on their website are:

  • 3.2GHz Intel® Pentium® 4 processor (dual Intel Xeon® or faster recommended)
  • 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended)
  • 1Gb Ethernet card

So what realistically do I need for those sorts of connection numbers, and what can I due to tune things up to get more out of less hardware?

Thanks!

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2 Answers 2

We run FMS 3.5 on a Dual Dual-Core Xeon with 4gb of ram, and so far it hasn't missed a beat. We run about 50-150 concurrent connections. The main issue you will have, from experience, is memory. FMS loves to cache, especially when stremaing oft-requested content.

There is only one thing I will advise you to stear absolutally clear of - do not run FMS under a virtualised environment. We initially had it running inside a virtual machine and it was absolutally pathetic. Switching it to a 'real' server (even though the server is shared with other services) was a thousand times better.

Update: It turns out that the virtual server we were running FMS in had the wrong NIC drivers installed. It was a Xen guest. We've moved to VMWare since then, and we haven't re-tried running FMS under the new hosts as it's still happilly chugging along on its own box.

Another thing to note is that we run Windows, which is probably less efficient than the *nix variants.

With some QoS between the server and the clients to maximise throughput for things that you really need (like streaming video) and throttle things you don't so much (webcam chats), I can't imagine you would have too many problems if you ran a server with two cores and 4gb of ram.

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I don't think the hardware components would be an issue if you stick with the recommended requirements. I would be more concern about the bandwidth.

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