lokalisten blog for the Sun Fire T2000

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Introduction and background information to www.lokalisten.de

Prior to the technical details behind our social community platform www.lokalisten.de, I would like to introduce the platform and it's history:

www.lokalisten.de emerged from the idea of the 5 founders, who wanted to develop a platform for their own circle of friends. The platform was launched in May 2005 and we began to invite our friends. We started with a typical low cost configuration (Apache, Tomcat, MySQL) on a single processor Intel Xeon machine for the first time.

Within less than 1 month, the community had more than 1.000 members and increased exponential. Due to the exponential growth (which still exists), after only 3 month, we had to expand the hardware architecture and bought another server, which was an AMD Dual Opteron machine. But the problems just began!

Though the Dual Opteron machine had enough calculating capacity, the IO performance of the Intel and the AMD machine was not sufficent to meet the increased requirements.
The solution brought an old Sun E420R with only 4 MB as the webserver (with Apache).
This machine had the desired IO performance to fulfill the http-requests and to deliver the content in time.

The lokalisten community platform (www.lokalisten.de) is one of the fastest growing community platforms in germany (if not the fastest one), with a daily growth of more than 1% of all members. Today, more than 35.000 members are using the platform every day with a peak amount of about 4.500 users concurrently. The members are really heavy users with more than 35 page views per session (see the Alexa ranking diagrams for more details). The current throughput is about 2 TB of dynamic content every month. Here is the growth of page views:

As traffic and usage grew, the Xeon and the Opteron server were not sufficent any more. We were looking for a more scalable (and even more reliable) platform. The Xeon server began to overheat, which once even caused a shutdown by the server itself.
Looking at the alternatives, we only had 2 options:

  1. installing 1 Sun Fire T2000 server
  2. installing another 2-3 dual Opteron servers

The decision was pretty clear: The Sun Fire T2000 Server (8 cores, 16 GB)
also the reasons herefore:

  • 2 HEs of the Sun T2000 instead of 8 HEs for the 4 Opteron machines in the 19" rack
  • scalability of the Sun T1 processor (constant response time with growing load)
  • reliable hardware with very good IO performance (our experience from the webserver)

So we ordered the Sun Fire T2000 (8 cores, 16 GB) through Sun's 60-day try & buy program!