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Knowing your server saves you trouble

Knowing your server saves you trouble
Barrie Sosinsky

How often do you test your server's capacity? Do you know how many pages it can deliver simultaneously when it acts as a Web server? Do you know how it acts when you have a fast or a slow connection? How will you know when the site performance could do with a boost? Is it time to upgrade?

You can answer these questions by keeping in touch with your server's performance and documenting the results on a set, regular schedule. Trends in performance measures will soon begin to appear, letting you know the optimal time for an upgrade. There are a wide variety of performance criteria and many software programs and services available for performing them. Tests range from basic alerts that let you know when a server is down to software that tests performance and response time. You can get a baseline range of tangible information to help you when deciding whether an upgrade is warranted or not. Of course, you will want to test again after the upgrade is complete to see whether you have gotten the desired boost.

There are several free software add-ons that you can download. Try Keynote Perspective, which offers to perform complex measurements. AlertSite and Holistix Remote Monitor test performance and response time. You can also spend a nice chunk of money on new hardware or software to enhance the performance of your server. It is probably worth the effort of at least giving some of the free software a try.

No matter what is involved with the upgrade of your server, it should become routine to test and monitor performance on a regular basis. Once is not enough. Be sure to test your site whenever you make changes in the server or the applications. Even minor changes can have an impact on performance. Monitoring will let you know when the workload is too high or whether it crashes. Keeping a log file lets you know when your traffic is at peak, and how the server responds to those times. Monitoring should become a routine activity. The statistics you get will be well worth the effort it takes.


Barrie Sosinsky (barries@killerapps.com)is president of consulting company Sosinsky and Associates (Medfield MA). He has written extensively on a variety of computer topics. His company specializes in custom software (database and Web related), training and technical documentation.

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Related Book

Self-Similar Network Traffic and Performance Evaluation
Author : Kihong Park and Walter Willinger
Publisher : John Wiley & Sons
Published : Aug 2000
Summary :
The emergence of the Internet, Intranets and distributed computing in general has generated intense interest in the performance of these networks. Over the past five years, researchers have begun looking at the traffic patterns and bandwidth requirements for networks and discovered that a self-similar, or fractal pattern exists in the network traffic volume. This book is a collected work of the top researchers in the field, who cover all aspects of this topic.


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