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This might be an obvious thing to seasoned Ops but, please, bear with me on this one (I'm a dev with the side effect of having to manage our servers too).

At the moment, one of several servers (load balanced), in addition to running the usual customer-facing web server also runs a number of labour intensive daemons (they interact with the caching server, db server, and several 3rd party web services). The work done by these daemons increases with the number of current site visitors (visitors across all web servers).

My question is, would you say it's better to move these daemons to their own server that isn't sharing resources with having to also function as a regular web server? Alternatively, would moving this one server that runs them into a new one with more run time memory available to it be beneficial at all?


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marked as duplicate by Tim Brigham, Jenny D, Falcon Momot, TheCleaner, mdpc Mar 4 '14 at 5:38

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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In this case. The first and most important matter is to find out if these servers are actually struggling. You need to run some latency tests at peak load times and find out if transactions are of unsatisfactory speed.

Usually labour intensive daemons are a good match to run on a web server as web servers rarely use much CPU time. This means you are not wasting resources. If the daemons high CPU usage is indeed causing issues with the server's reaponsiveness it is likely better to first try fiddling with their priorities and niceness to prioritise the web server.

If this is not enough I would as you say next try to run a more powerful server before separating the daemons off, this could help but splitting them off to their own server is very unlikely to help as most daemons as before use different resources to a web server and will not contend them.

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You are the person most-capable of determining the requirements of your applications. It is up to you to determine if additional servers will improve the user experience. If the unusual daemons do not need to run in real-time (i.e. they do not service users) then it would likely be a good idea to put the somewhere else. If users rely on them, web servers might be the best place for them and maybe you just need more webservers (and daemon servers).

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As a best practice, yes, you should segregate the roles of your servers.

It's generally a bad idea to pile every type of server application onto one box. However if you have budget constraints that you can't avoid, it's not like you have a choice.

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In this case virtualization can help keep everything segregated. – Michael Hampton Feb 28 '14 at 22:25

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