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we serve our Geographic data via our flagship application Dorset Explorer. This uses OpenLayers and GeoServer to serve our Geographic data, including OSM and OS Basemaps and a mass of other data such as Aerial Photography, Schools etc.

My question is, what sort of Server Specs should we be using for GeoServer. We will only have available to us one server for delivery of tiles via WMS (and perhaps in the future we may be using some WFS on it as well). We get between 100 and 200 users per day, but this will hopefully start rising as soon as we are confident that the servers will hold up! Is it just a matter of stick in the highest specs we can afford or are there some limits or theoretical maximums.

Any pointers would be much appreciated!

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Is there a budget for this or so you need general recommended specs? –  Mapperz Jun 15 '12 at 13:54
    
Just some general recommended specs really, whatever anyone thinks the best setup for GeoServer to run in this sort of environment would be. For example, would it be worth us spending out the max we can to give it really high specs or would that be a waste of money if GeoServer can't utilize it. –  Rob Quincey Jun 15 '12 at 14:08
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2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

100-200 users a day are (normally) nothing, a notebook can take that kind of load if the map is not complex.

General guidelines:

  • get enough memory (at least 8GB) but don't give it all to GeoServer
  • use Intel CPUs, not AMDs, as JAI native extensions work faster on Intel
  • try to get two servers and set them up in cluster for high availability (2 quad core should be enough), if the load goes up you just need to add more servers
  • make sure your data is properly configured for performance: http://demo.geo-solutions.it/share/foss4g2011/gs_steroids_sgiannec_foss4g2011.pdf
  • if you have enough disk space consider tile caching for the layers that do not change often
  • do some load testing to see how far you can get with some test hardware and scale up the servers according to the expected load.
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When you say 'Don't give all the memory to GeoServer', can you expand on why? I apologize for my slight 'noob-ness' in this field, I am not the person who really runs GeoServer, although I am heavily involved with it, I am just getting questions and advice through here! Oh and FYI, our mapping is pretty complex, over 700 layers and growing, a mix of raster, simple and complex vector, translucencies, custom fonts, you name it we've got to serve it :P –  Rob Quincey Jun 20 '12 at 8:00
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Because GeoServer won't use it, while the file system cache can leverage it to speed up service raster data and shapefiles. With that many layers it can indeed become a problem, at the same time no one in his right mind would put that many on the same map... just make sure the client does not allow users to setup too complex maps. And do some load testing with typical use cases –  Andrea Aime Jun 21 '12 at 9:09
    
'no one in his right mind would put that many [layers] on the same map'. You don't know our users... :) –  Rob Quincey Jun 28 '12 at 8:45
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Choosing the right server is always a hard thing to do because in a short time your service may become very popular, turning your thousand dollars hardware useless.

-Since every application (even if they use the same software stack) has it's own demand, my advice is to run some stress tests in a cloud based server, like amazon AWS. The costs to run those tests is insignificant.

-It's possible to make a relation between AWS (for example) hardware and commodity hardware so you can try different configurations for different number of users and requests to have an idea on how both the hardware and the software will perform in the future, examples: here and here.

-If it's an option for you, IMO stick to the cloud server you can scale it up and down whenever you want.

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Cloud is not an option sadly, but good answer with some interesting points. I'll hold off accepting it to see if anyone else adds anything :) –  Rob Quincey Jun 18 '12 at 7:42
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