I am in the process of building a server setup with a DB server and some web servers for the web tier. We have a DB server. One option is to get a good web server, Xeon processor, 24GB of memory, RAID1. It costs around $2500. We'd need probably another one for backup, but can be cheaper. Another option is to buy 4 cheaper desktops that have very fast procesors, 4-8 G of RAM, no RAID, but find some little device that can route traffic to them, so if one fails the other 3 are still up and running.
Suppose rack space is NOT an issue, any thoughts about which setup is better? May be easier to maintain just the 1 web server, and also I don't know if such "little device" for routing traffic exists (I know I can build this myself using Click or something like that, but that's more complexity).