[thelist] (Intel + Linux) vs (Sun + Solaris)

Daniel J. Cody djc at members.evolt.org
Sat Apr 13 16:18:00 CDT 2002

Just some random thoughts here Mo..

Your last point states your primary desire for the servers to have
reliablity and performance, and if thats what you're looking for, I'd
*totally* stay away from putting everything all on one box, no matter
what platform it is. Judah gave some good examples of how to split your
site over multiple machines in his message, so I won't regurgitate what
he said :)

First, I'm certified(not that it means much) as a Solaris SysAdmin &
Network Admin, and also feel equally confident with Linux. I've also had
a couple beers on a beautiful saturday afternoon. Now that *thats* out
of the way..

Sun hardware kicks the snot out of any x86 architecture out there,
period. Theres a reason Sun/Solaris is used by a serious majority of the
worlds largest companies to handle their 'mission-critical' computing,
and it's not the pretty colors the servers come in ;)
IA-64 might be there close in terms of CPU performance someday, but it's
not today. The arch. outside the CPU on Sun hardware(things like memory,
I/O bandwidth/speed, redundancy, etc) kicks ass as well, and is one
thing other unix vendors like SGI and HP-UX had in their favor too.

However, you pay up the nose for all that. And the fact is that most
people using even low level Sun servers aren't really utilizing all the
machine has to offer, and could probably get away with something less.

OOTH, 'Intel' based hardware is cheap, more or less 'open', and easier
to come by, fix, and maintain. It also supports *way* more software than
proprietary Unix machines can, and coupled with Linux, the
price/performance is really really *really* nice.

As a side note, I'd almost bet that the only reason your current machine
is starting to slow down is because of I/O probs. If you were to throw a
nice new dual channel SCSI card in there, I bet you'd see it runnin fast
in no time.. Those CPU's you have now seriously kick ass. Anyways :)

Sadly, and much to Sun's chagrin, Solaris is heading the way of to Dodo.
It's only lasted longer than Irix, AIX, and HP-UX(to name a few) against
linux because it had such a huge lead in market share against those folks.

To sum up this long winded post.. I'd use Sun Starfire 10k's all the
time if I could. But I can't, so I use Linux with cheap and powerful
AMD's. If I were in your position, I'd leave all the mail stuff on the
Sun boxes and pick up a couple nice dual AMD boxes with Linux - one for
your DB and one for CF - for the same amount it would cost to get a
decent low level Sun box.

Holler if you want more clarification or have other questions :)


Mo Martin wrote:
> We're running into capacity limits on our web hardware and my head
> technical guy is suggesting a switch from Solaris running on Sun
> hardware to Linux running on Intel processors. I trust him but want
> some additional opinions.
> It's a mid-sized corporate site serving about a million visitors a
> month. 4M pages a month about 50-75% of which are fed from the
> database. Steady, predictable growth but quite rapid -- more than
> doubling each year. The site serves pages and data sheets, no
> transactions or e-commerce.
> We run three Solaris machines (Sun CPUs) now but one does all the
> work. It runs Sybase 7 and Cold Fusion 4.5, and Apache. It's a
> three-year-old old machine with dual 330 MHz processors. The other
> machines are single-processor 300 MHz versions just serving HTML,
> mail, and PDFs. One also runs Lyris, a list server, at fairly low
> volume. All the machines are at a co-lo -- we own and run them, they
> house them and provide bandwidth.
> The choice is between buying a newer Sun server and RAID array; or
> going with a 2.2 GHz Pentium 4 with RAID array for around $4500.
> He also is suggesting we consolidate our processes. We have Cold
> Fusion and Sybase on one machine; and two separate machines sharing
> the HTML serving and mail functions. He wants to put it all on one
> box (and use the old boxes as spares/backups).
> Primary desire is for reliability and performance.

More information about the thelist mailing list