SUMMARY: recommended conf for running proxy

From: Umit Dericioglu (
Date: Thu Jan 08 1998 - 07:45:43 CST

sorry for the delay..

thanx a lot to those who answered: Rich Kulawiec, Khanh Vo, Luc Amouriaux,
Carlos Daniel Galicia

my original question was:

> We'll soon be directly connected to Internet and be running
> Netscape Proxy server for the all Internet traffic. We have
> a network of a little over 1000 IP hosts ( a big campus network
> with nearly 3000 users ). Since we don't have past Internet
> experience, my question is what configuration of a Sun computer
> is recommended, in terms of RAM, CPU and disk size ( for web caching).

the answers:

- Don't bother buying Netscape's server and a Sun -- too expensive.

  Instead, buy a garden-variety PC, put Linux on it, and run the Apache
  server in caching mode. *Much* cheaper. Should suffice for your needs --
  and if it doesn't, you can easily scale the solution by adding more machines
  of the same type and using round-robin DNS to distribute the load. My guess
  is that you could scale this up to half a dozen systems before you even
  got close to the cost of a single Sun to handle the equivalent workload.

- 1. You don't want to cache URL, turn it off.
  2. CPU resource consumption is minimal.
  3. RAM utilization is a beast. I do not know why Netscape create such huge
     executable for such a simple task. Each spawned process consume 3.6Mb of
     memory. For 1000 possible users, you will need at least 64 pre-spawned
     hence at least 256MB RAM if you don't want swaping, and believe me, you
     don't want swaping.
  4. Disk IO is very high of course unless you do not cache. You have to balance
     the load on your disks wisely.
  5. ns-proxy processes go stale after a couple of days. That means, the number
     of alive processes can be 64 but the number of active processes are much
     less than that. Our solution right now is to restart it.

- Whith these amount of users, I use a Proxy 2.53 on Solaris 2.5.1,
   SparcStation-4 128 Mo Ram, 110MHz. This have been working too whith only
   64 Mo Ram, but sometimes request was not treated so fast than whith 128 Mo.
   Approximatly 15% of request are served with cached data ( 300 Mo of disk
   web caching).

   The cache is sometimes working misteriously: some pages are never cached
   despite my efforts. Except that, all is working fine since I stop and start
   the Netscape Proxy every morning.
- Assumming that all your 3000 users will be using your proxy, perhaps
   you'll have to use a very large machine, wih 2 or more CPU's,
   512+ MB of RAM and 20 or more GB of disk for caching,
   You will also need a very fast network card, and a pretty good internet
   A nice choice would be a Ultra Enterprise 2 or better, but not less,
   and perhaps you'll be interested in running netra software on the server
   wich makes a lot easier to maintain and manage an internet server.

   I have a Ultra Enterprise 2 with 1 200 MHZ cpu, 128 MB of RAM,
   and 8 GB of HD, running Solaris 2.5.1, with Netscape Proxy server 2.5
   I have 2 NIC, one connected to the internal network(and using the proxy)
   and the other connected to a router, in a cross over configuration, and a
   128 Kbit link to the internet.
   I only have about 50+ users, but the machine and the proxy's performance is
   very good.
as an addendum to the last answer, I heard the Sun's announcement
soon after I posted my question to sun-managers list, about netra
proxy cache server and array with ultrasparc-II 250Mhz, 128MB RAM, 8.4GB
disk with on-the-fly scalability, load balancing and failover features..

thanx again..

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