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CPU Load: 8-core Xeon still not enough? (164k+ users, 1000 online)

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  • CPU Load: 8-core Xeon still not enough? (164k+ users, 1000 online)

    Hi all!

    I am trying to find out what I can do to help our bustling forums run better for us. We have a site with well over 164,000 users registered and average about 500-1500 active users online with spikes up into the 2000 range.

    We had been running our forum off of older hardware for many years, but with the recent influx of users, I talked our CEO into spending some money on new hardware for us. After getting things up and running, I am finding out that even an 8-core Xeon system can't keep up with the CPU load!

    The specs:
    • vBulletin 3.6.4
    • PHP 5.2.0
    • Apache 2.2.3 (Win32 on a Windows 2003 Server OS)
    • Dual Quad-Core Xeon 3.00Ghz Dell PowerEdge 2950 (8 total cores)
    • 4 gigs of memory
    • Hardware RAID5
    After all of that goodness, I am sitting here watching all 8 processors sit at near 100% utilization most of the time. Right now both MySQL and Apache live on the same box (as an experiment). I originally had the web server on one dual core host and left the beefy server as a dedicated MySQL box, but seeing that CPU is our bottleneck and that MySQL was barely using the resources of that high end box, I wanted to see how it would do handling both. Because of the RAID5 and lots of memory, MySQL seems pretty happy and rarely spikes the CPU.

    I've searched these forums quite heavily and found many other posts with similar problems. I've used the recommended php.ini and my.ini settings from those posts and still not much improvement. At this time I still haven't tried a PHP accelerator, but since I am running 5.2.0, the choices are very few.

    Also, I've optimized vBulletin as much as I can:
    • No instant updating of thread info when new posts are made
    • No who's online features anywhere
    • No "Who is browsing this forum/thread/etc" features
    • No similar threads
    • No viewing of the member list (with 150k+ users, the query is rather nasty)
    What else can I do to make this work? I will post whatever info you need to diagnose, but as I mentioned, I've already done all I can based on the other CPU-related threads here I've read.

  • #2
    I recommend you post a new thread in the Server Configuration forum about this. Post the info requested in this thread and they will be able to make recommendations.

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    • #3
      It's having them on the same box, there is a limit to how far you can go with that no matter how beefy your hardware is. I am running 2 servers, less powerful than yours with a 1000 users more online and it's ok ... not great but ok
      Webmaster in charge of technical stuff and taking out the trash. www.disboards.com, www.wdwinfo.com
      www.dreamsunlimitedtravel.com and a few others I am forgetting!

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