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I have posted this to ServerFault, but the Node.js community seems tiny there, so I'm hoping this bring more exposure.

I have a Node.js (0.4.9) application and am researching how to best deploy and maintain it. I want to run it in the cloud (EC2 or RackSpace) with high availability. The app should run on HTTPS. I'll worry about East/West/EU full-failover later.

I have done a lot of reading about keep-alive (Upstart, Forever), multi-core utilities (Fugue, multi-node, Cluster), and proxy/load balancers (node-http-proxy, nginx, Varnish, and Pound). However, I am unsure how to combine the various utilities available to me.

I have this setup in mind and need to iron out some questions and get feedback.

  1. Cluster is the most actively developed and seemingly popular multi-core utility for Node.js, so use that to run 1 node "cluster" per app server on non-privileged port (say 3000). Q1: Should Forever be used to keep the cluster alive or is that just redundant?
  2. Use 1 nginx per app server running on port 80, simply reverse proxying to node on port 3000. Q2: Would node-http-proxy be more suitable for this task even though it doesn't gzip or server static files quickly?
  3. Have minimum 2x servers as described above, with an independent server acting as a load balancer across these boxes. Use Pound listening 443 to terminate HTTPS and pass HTTP to Varnish which would round robin load balance across the IPs of servers above. Q3: Should nginx be used to do both instead? Q4: Should AWS or RackSpace load balancer be considered instead (the latter doesn't terminate HTTPS)

General Questions:

  1. Do you see a need for (2) above at all?
  2. Where is the best place to terminate HTTPS?
  3. If WebSockets are needed in the future, what nginx substitutions would you make?
  4. How do you deal with a single point of failure at the outer load balancer?

I'd really like to hear how people are setting up current production environments and which combination of tools they prefer. Much appreciated.

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