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I'm going to setup a open Mapserver w/ Openlayers, Geojango, Postgis using Postgresql. And I need some suggestions from people that have been shopping for what I need longer than I have.

What would be the best configuration for such a db server and from where?

Im a big mac fan and was thinking of a Xserve w/ 42g ram and two quad cores (2.66). What does postgresql like best as far as server software/hardware? Can it fully utilize multi cores?

Im on somewhat of a tight budget so price is a big factor. But what would be the dream machine and its cheaper inequivalent?

sockets; i'd probably have 20 to 30 ppl at the lease almost 100 at most, maybe more. Serving up more than 100 layers with some common canned geoprocessing type stuff going on.

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This is a time sensitive question. In two or three years the answers will no longer be as relevant. Please add something indicating the time period. For example, Monster spatial database server recommendations (2011) and in body "In 2011 what would be the best configuration..." –  matt wilkie Dec 14 '10 at 21:06
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"tight budget" together with "monster" is an oxymoron. Better to indicate what the budget is and ask "what's the absolute best I can do with..." –  matt wilkie Dec 14 '10 at 21:09
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For any server environment, there is little to no justification for using Apple hardware or OSX. You're going to get significantly better bang for your buck on a well-specced x64 machine using commodity parts (think Dell and friends) on a properly configured Linux or FreeBSD setup, not to mention how much easier it is to set up thanks to Apt/Yum/Ports versus the hoops of getting the stack built on OSX Server. –  Jason Scheirer Dec 14 '10 at 21:22
    
Will be bought within the next three months 02/2011. Im aware of the oxymoron but I also put "But what would be the dream machine". Budget is close to 10k. –  Zap Rowsdower Dec 14 '10 at 22:33
    
FreeBSD vs Linux? pretty much the same animal huh? I have quite abit *nix experience (since slack 3.6!). Installed OpenBSD and free to, but really didnt use it (must have been the lack of console colors lol). –  Zap Rowsdower Dec 14 '10 at 22:40

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Postgresql is quite good handling multi-cores, especially since every connection gets spawned to a new process and thereby gets handled by the OS process scheduler.

I've run large postgresql databases on both windows and linux (ubuntu server) and they both perform very well.

However, most likely your performance will be heavily dependent on how well your disks perform. My experience is that SAS or SCSI 15000RPM disks in RAID-5, RAID-6 or RAID-10 are necessary to get great performance on large databases (40GB+)

When using Postgresql on Linux you can configure your Shared Buffers to be quite big and thereby reducing the disk-usage on frequently requested data.. I've used Shared Buffers with size of about 1GB on a server with 8GB RAM with very good results.

If you're running on Windows you should not set your Shared Buffer high since this will more likely give you worse performance since the OS-disk-cache often is more efficient.

How much data are you going to have? (number of tables and estimated rows in each table).

If your data is pretty static you should consider having some kind of caching-service in front (GeoWebCache, squid or similar).

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