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I am currently running one box with the regular firewall, antivirus, webserver, mysql plus ffmpeg for media conversion. Due to increasing server load, I am planning on expanding to more boxes. It appears that the first step is to stick mysql in its own box. Are there any rules of thumb about keeping a firewall in its own box for security purposes, or which services go particularly well together? Thanks for the help.

-Storm

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Do you know the relative load that each of those services is putting on the machine? Based on those numbers, re-balance the load over your two servers.

From a security perspective, it is recommended to have a dedicated firewall. It clearly defines the security perimeter of your network, and becomes the single point of entry where you can focus your efforts on hardening and penetration testing. The complexities of running other services on the same machine often translate into mistakes, bugs, and thus security weaknesses.

I highly recommend single-purposed servers for all services. Of course, this gets expensive, so you can use virtualization to put multiple virtual servers on one real server. This also allows you to migrate whole virtual servers from one real server to another as you purchase more and better hardware.

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+1 for suggesting virtualisation. –  sybreon Sep 24 '09 at 9:21

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