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Subject Server Testing
Date Sun, 05 May 1996 18:57:01 GMT
Thought this might interest people here.  

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I am not much of a Windows NT fan, but I decided to install the latest
FastTrack Server to see how it would measure up to various Unix-based
servers.  My configuration: Windows NT Workstation 3.51 SP3 on a P90
with 32 megs of RAM and a WD8003 ethernet card on a small 2-machine LAN.
I noticed a couple of things:

The installation is quite slick, albeit a tad cumbersome when you know
exactly which setting you want to change and have to hunt through all
the various menus.  Still, great for inexperienced web masters.

Whenever I tried to enable the LiveWire support and hit the "Save and Apply"
button, an error message would appear and the server would not restart.
Is this a known problem?

Second, and much more serious.  My test consisted of launching 10 client
processes which fetched the same page as many times each as it could in a
minute.  The client processes were written in Perl using the LWP module and
simply did a GET on a specific file.  I ran these 10 clients on first a
long 145K file, then a shorter 7K file and finally a 110 byte file.  These
client processes ran on a Linux 1.3.98/5.3.12 system with the same WD8003
ethernet card on an isolated network.  I counted the number of pages the
clients were able to get in total during the one minute span.  The first
time I ran the test right after booting the NT box, I fetched 839 pages
(the 110 byte version).  When I ran the exact same test again, I only got
307 pages.  Subsequent tests were all at this range of pages.  A reboot
brought the number back up over 800.  Manually accessing the server showed
that the connection setup time was extremely slow after the initial set of
queries.  I don't know if this can be attributed to the FastTrack server,
or simply NT having bad socket handling.

Just for comparison, here are the numbers for the Unix-based servers I
tested using the same method on exactly the same hardware.  The Unix version
is Linux 1.3.98 with libc 5.3.12.

                (number of pages served in 60 seconds to 10 clients)
             Apache 1.1b2   NCSA 1.5.1   Spinner 1.0b12   Netscape FS on NT
short file       874          826             837               839
medium file      718          714             712               699
long file        116          114             113               118

Note: NCSA was running as a single-process (compiled with NO_PASS option)
server.  It would probably do better on a different version of Unix.  And
these Netscape FastTrack results were after a reboot before each run since
it seemed to degrade over time as explained above.  This degradation no
doubt also affected the later stages of a test run which means that if this
was fixed, the Netscape server would probably be faster.  Regardless,
considering it is running on Windows NT it measures up surprisingly well.

Rasmus Lerdorf
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