Best Production Server to Use

I'm sure this question is very subjective, but I'm looking for input
and advice. I just purchased a shiny new dedicated server from
gate.com and I'm trying to decide what I should use to serve up my
rails app: Mongrel, Apache, LiteHttp, other?

The key points I'm concerned about are:

* Speed & Overall performance
* Reliability
* Ability to deal with high load
* Difficulty to configure (virtual hosts, memory allocation, etc)
* Maintenance

Please share your experience and opinions. Let me know of any
important differences you've seen between the servers.

Since I have a fresh server, I'm looking to start right -- instead of
getting ingrained in something I can't easily change later.

Thanks,
Jeremy

@Nathan

And I could (should?) do this on a single CPU? I've never done load
balancing or clusters before. On a single machine how does that give
better performance than one server process?

Thanks!

Sure, but the other main benefit is that your application will be
scaleable. When you're ready to buy more servers, the Mongrels could run
on a different cluster than nginx.

A mongrel can only handle one rails request at a time. Mean while nginx could very easily be serving static pages (stylesheets images etc...). Even just focussing on the mongrels, they're not going to utilise your server fully, some time is spent doing disk io, some is spent talking to the database etc...

Fred

I'm liking the idea of a mongrel cluster. So if a single mongrel
instance can only handle one request at a time, then when you cluster
3 - 4 under nginx does that mean it can only handle 3 - 4 requests at
a time, or does nginx take care of handling more?

Thanks.

Litespeed? Extremely easy setup, very fast, dynamic process
allocation. All the hassle just gone. No FCGI to mess up things, no
mongrels, and much much less deployment complexity.

  / Peter

17 mar 2008 kl. 20.13 skrev Mozmonkey:

Mozmonkey wrote:

I'm sure this question is very subjective, but I'm looking for input
and advice. I just purchased a shiny new dedicated server from
gate.com and I'm trying to decide what I should use to serve up my
rails app: Mongrel, Apache, LiteHttp, other?

I've read some good things (http://codemonkey.ravelry.com/2008/03/10/load-balancing/) about combining Nginx (static content server) with Thin (rails app server with Mongrel ancestry).

Nginx: http://wiki.codemongers.com/Main and http://www.nginx.net/

Thin: http://code.macournoyer.com/thin/

I must admit I haven't had the chance to try out this software combination myself, but the throughput on the Ravelry site is pretty impressive. As a side note, my wife is on Ravelry enough that I can confirm the performance really is solid - it's not just statistical hocus pocus.

Off topic diversion...
Speaking of statistical hocus pocus in a good way, in honor of the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament, this article by Bill James on Slate is an entertaining (and short) read.
http://www.slate.com/id/2185975/

  - Aaron

I can recommend Litespeed. It's trivial to setup - run a short install
script, configure through a web-based control panel. The standard
(free) version just screams compared to Apache (several times faster),
and Rails deployment is as painless as PHP. There's no proxying to app
servers like Mongrel, no "stack"... just Litespeed. Took about 15
minutes from downloading litespeed to having a rails app running.

Interesting comments about Litespeed. I currently run 3 mongrel processes on each of my servers, and use monit to restart them after they start to consume upwards of 120 megs of RAM. Under heavy load, they can restart as often as every 4 hours. Although sometimes they’ll run for a day without a restart. In any case, I’ve been curious about other solutions, since it’d be nice to not have to rely on my processes being restarted multiple times per day.

Anyone else had good experience with the free version of Litespeed?

Adam

Yes, I've had great success on LiteSpeed, with about a half dozen apps
deployed with it. Nice small footprint and great throughput.

Adam Cohen schrieb:

Interesting comments about Litespeed. I currently run 3 mongrel processes on each of my servers, and use monit to restart them after they start to consume upwards of 120 megs of RAM. Under heavy load, they can restart as often as every 4 hours. Although sometimes they'll run for a day without a restart. In any case, I've been curious about other solutions, since it'd be nice to not have to rely on my processes being restarted multiple times per day.

I'm just starting with RoR. But your mail let me doubt, if RoR would suit me fine. My apaches with php just run for months without any restart (manually or via a script).

Martin

Seems to vary. I never restart mine except for our fortnightly releases. I have herad that things like rmagick are a bit leaky.

Fred

Andy,
For what its worth I too use Litespeed and it works well. I hired
someone to install it for me. If you guys ever find a source that
explains to the 'newbie' how to install it, I'd be grateful. What's
funny is that people always write explanations to themselves. They
never imagine the person viewing their explanation has little in
common with their knowledge.
Thank you,
Kathleen

I haven’t needed to restart a single mongrel for months now (and the last restart was due to a power failure in the datacenter), before that mongrels were running for months already.

Best regards

Peter De Berdt

Don’t let my experiences dissuade you from RoR. There’s many people who run the full Rails server stack without issue. I just happen to be experiencing major memory leaks that I haven’t been able to resolve. I could end up having the exact same issue with Litespeed, but I think I’ll give it a try to see how it works out.

Adam

My experience is similar to Peter's. I have sites that run for months, only pausing for new features to be added or a periodic server reboot, which can be as infrequently as 11 months :slight_smile:

I'm using rmagick on one of the sites, but haven't seen memory leaks, although the graphics are a light part of the load.

I can concur with Peter as well. We used Image Science for our image
uploading and we didn't have a need for the more complex processing that
RMagick provides so we avoided it (based on memory leak heresay). We
have the setup I described in the previous post (running monit also to
be safe) and the fact is that the mongrels pretty much just don't really
"go down". I mean we might take them offline but we have been running
the site for years and never ran into problems (under an admittedly
moderate load). For the sake of argument, even if the mongrels do go
down, with the 10 minutes it takes to setup monit, they would be
automatically resarted (and notify me via email) within seconds.

There is another issue with Mongrel setups which rarely is mentioned,
and that is the fact that the number of Mongrels is static with
respect to each application. No matter the load, the Mongrels
dedicated to an application will take up memory space.

With Litespeed, the allocation of server processes is dynamic.
Meaning, it can fluctuate depending on load, available memory and
other factors. Litespeed can kill off or spawn new processes as
needed. And the spawning is very fast, too.

This means that it is possible to serve more applications from the
same box than with any solution where each app has a fixed number of
Mongrels allocated to it.

  / Peter

18 mar 2008 kl. 21.10 skrev Nathan Esquenazi:

Having mongrels in single machine or multiple machines? Which one is
best?

[...]

With Litespeed, the allocation of server processes is dynamic. Meaning, it can fluctuate depending on load, available memory and other factors. Litespeed can kill off or spawn new processes as needed. And the spawning is very fast, too.

[...]
So Litespeed works like apache and mod_php? No other server is needed? No load-balancing? I can run several application in one domain?
But I have to pay for it if it runs on a server with more than a single CPU?
Sorry for the questions, I'm a newbie to RoR and I try to understand how it acts compared to php I'm currently using.

Martin