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I am under the impression that configuring a server to serve 350 simultaneous users with pages that are plain HTML (plus an image or two, no AJAX or similar) with some simple database connectivity (maybe five tables or so, no especially complex queries, and no more than a few MB of data) should:

  1. Not be a particularly difficult task

  2. Should not require an especially powerful server

  3. Should be fairly trivial to test in advance

I don't require any specifics, but confirmation that I'm correct (or not) would be useful.

Thanks,

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2 Answers

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One thing that will help you is one of the foundations of client-server computing, your users will not be simultaneous. They will be concurrent within a window, but not simultaneous in their activity. Human users are chaotic instruments, arriving and departing at different intervals and making use of system resources at different intervals as well. If you have 350 credentialed users, then my gross estimate is that you will have 8-15% concurrent in actions within a 1 minute window, for around 28 to 53 on the system at any given time. You can confirm these stats by looking at the web user logs.

If you want to reduce your load quite well on the server, then be sure and mark your static pages|images as cacheable to the client for an extended period, say a couple of days to a couple of weeks, so the next time your user visits you will have almost zero load except for the dynamic pieces that come back out of the database.

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The system under discussion is for a very specific purpose whereby all 350 users will be hitting it within probably ten seconds, and viewing a page every few seconds for the subsequent minute or two. Fortunately I'm not tasked with designing such a system but have had the recent displeasure of using it (where it failed catastrophically) and am trying to confirm that this situation was as preventable as I believe it to be! –  Dan Sep 14 '11 at 16:24
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Yes, it is preventable. The number of handshakes back and forth for different elements combined with the sizes will impact severely your network performance in such a case. Minimize the number of file content elements, make them as small as possible, even enabling compression on the server. Likewise with the graphics, pick a network friendly format and optimize the color pallete to eliminate extra weight. If SSL is involved, only use it where Personally identifiable information is present, otherwise it adds overhead to the site. Expand the server cache so it hits disk less. ... –  James Pulley Sep 14 '11 at 16:37
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Yes, sounds easy enough, especially if the database activity is made of mostly read operations.

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Mostly reading, with a small number of (transactional) insert operations. Thanks for the response! –  Dan Sep 14 '11 at 12:37
    
You should also mention the operating system etc you plan to run this on, although regardless of the platform your case should not be a problematic one. –  Janne Pikkarainen Sep 14 '11 at 12:41
    
I'm not looking for anything too specific at the moment, so "not problematic" is more than enough! Thanks again. –  Dan Sep 14 '11 at 12:54
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