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Xserve...What to expect?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I am starting up a desktop wallpaper website in the near term and am currently looking for hosts, and I have of course been contemplating purchasing a dedicated server.

I am not familiar at all with servers or server software, but with the vast majority of hosts offering limited bandwidth, it is on my mind a great deal.

I am expecting a minimum of 4-6 GB of file transfer per day once the site is up and advertised (based on my competitors). I want room for expansion also.

I currently own a PowerMac G5 1.6 Ghz with 1.5 GB Ram and I am thinking about trading it in towards an Xserve and then grabbing a dualie for my main design comp once they are updated.

My questions would then include:

What can I expect performance-wise from an Xserve, or is there a better solution on the PC side?

How easy is it to get up and running with OSX Server?

What kind of cooling requirements and internet connections would be required?

What kind of storage would be required?

Is this a good idea for a newbie, or should I try my luck first with a hosting service (such as yahoo)?

Site Info:

Hosting two sites, a flash based & html based, both with subscription based e-commerce and online catalogs. Approximately 50-75 pages per site. Hosting a password protected database of over 600 high resolution images, each in six different sizes, as well as 200 screensavers.

I don't know what kind of file sizes I'm talking about yet because I'm considering a few different options for downloaded content, including .zip files for my customers.

All help is appreciated. I have heard that running a server is complex and I have to worry about downtime and maintenance, but I consider it inevitable, so I'm at least keeping my options open.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 7
Where were you planning to place your server? Trust me, you don't want an XServe racked under your desk in your office. Unless you're deaf, perhaps.
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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Where I put the server is of no consequence to me, I mean if it is really loud I can build a sound proofed box with an internal rack and cooling system.

That brings up an interesting thought though. I wonder what it is like standing in the xServe room at Virginia Tech when it is at or near full load capacity?

My other questions are more important. Does anyone here own an xServe or work with them?

Thanks.
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post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally posted by G520incher
Where I put the server is of no consequence to me, I mean if it is really loud I can build a sound proofed box with an internal rack and cooling system.

That brings up an interesting thought though. I wonder what it is like standing in the xServe room at Virginia Tech when it is at or near full load capacity?

My other questions are more important. Does anyone here own an xServe or work with them?

Thanks.

I work with Mac OS X Server on a daily basis and I installed a XServe G4 for a client about a month ago. The company is now hosting two different websites and an online management system that I wrote using PHP & MySQL. I am sure you are going to go a similar route with the users and passwords being in a MySQL database. Since you do not have a website up and running yet then I personally would start off using a webhosting company. I currently have a half dozen clients using www.ipowerweb.com and as you can see 50GB of transfer a month is about your 2GB a day.

Explore around ipower as well, because you can get your own dedicated server and allow them to manage the server software and have to worry about the bandwidth.

If you do your own you are going to need at minimum a business DSL line going into your house. I have two clients using that and for their needs right now it's great. But if you need 2-4GB a day then you are going to need to look into a T1 or partial T1 which will run in the $300-$500 a month depending on your companies around. I am currently looking into getting a T1 into my house so if you find any good information on it send it my way please. As I'm sure someone else will say "you can never have too much bandwidth."
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post #5 of 7
are wallpaper sites actually profitable?
post #6 of 7
I agree with O4BlackWRX. Your best bet would be to start off using a webhosting company. They can worry about all of the redundancy needed to keep your site up as much as possible. The xServe G5 is noisy with the fans.
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post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys for the advice. I was pondering it again over the weekend, and finding a great web host first is probably the best option. At the very least it offers the ability to test my success before investing a great deal of time and money into my own server, nevermind the required upkeep and education needed to do it sucessfully.

As to the question if wallpaper sites are even profitable?

Some are very profitable, a lot are not. The two sites I am directly competing with are very profitable, the biggest receiving 27,000 unique visitors a day, or approximately 150,000 downloads a day.

It really comes down to excellent targeted advertising and providing excellent products and customer service. It will take years to develop a devoted customer base and many more to keep expanding on it, but that's what business is all about.

I know a great many people will love my artwork and I believe I will be successful. That's all I can say.

Thanks again for the advice guys!!
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