What sort of computer do you use as Server?

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What sort of computer do you use as Server?

Post by lddw » Tue Aug 30, 2005 6:34 pm

Hi
So what sort of computer do you use as Server?
Mac, linux, windows?
What sort of processor and Motherboard?
Quadri-processor?
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Post by A Meteorite » Tue Aug 30, 2005 7:57 pm

Well my opinion is that a Mac is good for anything.

I would seriously re-consider using Windows for anything because of it's many design and security flaws. I know many people will disagree but Microsoft has taken it's time in patching so many security risks.

As for Linux, it's free and was almost built to be a server. It's great if you want all the power possible and security. (Even a Linux machine in my opinion is better in security than a Mac) For new users, it may be harder to use, though. Of course you have Gnome and KDE, but you can't possibly do everything in the X window system. The true power is in the command line.

If you want something easy to use, secure, and a good server go with a Mac. But if you don't want to buy a Mac or like the power of Linux use Linux instead. I highly warn of using Windows for a server. (Unless you want to get like the server-edition and even then you need to keep it patched...)

Please note that I don't want a flame war or anything. Please just put your opinions here. :)

*edit*
Totally forgot about motherboard and processor...

Processor:
Well for a BZFlag server anything would do when it comes to processor/motherboard. I beleive that bzfs only uses like 5% of your processor max. But if you want a usuable computer get at least a gHz processor. AMD makes wonderful CPUs.

As for a Mac CPU... a G4 is still great and will do anything you throw at it.

Motherboard:
I would only really look at this if you want put a $500 dollar video card or put a gig of RAM in there. I would really not worry about this.
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Post by JeffM » Tue Aug 30, 2005 9:24 pm

bzfs is minimaly CPU intesive.

mutil processor is overkill if the system is JUST going to run bzfs.

I know people running servers on old pentium 200's with a simple linux install.

A Meteorite's 5% isn't a good estimate. as it's a % of a CPU. a slower CPU will use more of it's cycles for bzfs, and a faster less. I'm guessing it's based of his own experience. As allways your milage may vary.

Most dedicated servers run "headless". i.e. they don't have a display, or windowing system, since they are all configured and run remotely by command line. So they don't run a graphical system that takes up resources. You can't do that on OS X or Windows, so this usualy means Linux or BSD. These make the best servers, as they are built to be dedicated, and built to be remotely administered.

Hardware wise, if you have a mac, you can run linux or OSX. If you have a PC you can go the linux or windows route. If you are seting up a new server and looking to get hardware and software, linux is your best choice for OS, and at that point, why spend the extra$$ on apple hardware, when it dosn't buy you a damned thing. Just get some cheap PC hardware and go with it.

If you are going to do other things on the computer, then let that guide you fist. a bzflag server has minimal requirements.

on the side note, linux is not a graphical and clicky to set up, as something like windows. Even running a server on OSX still requires the use of a unix style command line. If you are looking for something nice and easy that has shortcuts and simple graphical interfaces, then you may wish to coonsider windows. But I would still recomend linux, you just have to spend a bit of time learning it.
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Old computer and Linux

Post by sbgodin » Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:54 am

My server serves bzfs. It has 512MB RAM, 1100Mhz. Bzfs takes low CPU, not more that 1 or 2 percent. It can be run everywere.
The only requirement, truly, is the upstream bandwidth.

My system is a GNU Linux Debian Unstable. Easy to use if you know the command line ;-)
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Post by Teppic » Wed Aug 31, 2005 6:35 am

My server runs on an athlon 2400+ with 768meg and an fx5200 128meg card, it is overkill for just running the server but it also serves the robot players and trigger scripts, along with other server funtions (apache imap sendmail etc) as well as being linked to the tv in my bedroom for watching films, come to think of it it does more than any of the other pc's.
It's running FC3 until it goes legacy, then it'll get Gentoo'd. Bzfs is never high enough up in the list to see how much cpu it uses.

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Post by Pimpinella » Wed Aug 31, 2005 10:20 am

PIII 733MHz 265 MB RAM
Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 "woody"

Though i'm running a few other services it's still overkill.

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Post by DTRemenak » Wed Aug 31, 2005 3:31 pm

My servers ran on a headless AMD K6-200, 192mb RAM until last month. With five instances of bzfs built with --enable-debug, plus apache and sshd, it was a bit overloaded (not too bad though).

Now (thanks JeffM2501) they run on a headless dual P2-300, 384mb RAM. Got a couple of P3-550s for it but I haven't put them in yet because the bios update refuses to work.

My servers have been running on DragonFly BSD 1.2 for the last eight months or so (recently upgraded to 1.2.5). Before that they were running FreeBSD 4.11, and before that, FreeBSD 4.9. Running a public server on Windows is unwise in general. BZFS does not perform well and can be unstable on Windows, not to mention the inherent insecurity and instability of the platform (and before you go spouting off about how windows is stable and secure for you, consider that I have never rebooted either of my servers except when I upgraded the OS or hardware or following a power outage, and that neither one has ever been compromised despite being on a completely open network on a trunk line.) Windows is a decent desktop operating system (and the only one to seriously consider if you're into gaming), but it is not a good choice for a server.

And yes, the big limiting factor in running a server is bandwidth. The K6-200 would have done just fine with five non-debug servers on it, built on another machine (binary packages are your friend on low-power servers).

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Post by lddw » Wed Aug 31, 2005 7:27 pm

Thanks everyone!
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Post by Spazzy McGee » Thu Sep 01, 2005 11:39 am

This thread has been a real help, cuz i'm looking to run my server full time, so bacially:-

i need to buy a cheap second had machine.
get an old monitor from the attic
install linux

hey presto! My bzflag server full time!
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Post by DTRemenak » Thu Sep 01, 2005 1:57 pm

Spazzy Mcgee wrote:i need to buy a cheap second had machine.
get an old monitor from the attic
install linux

hey presto! My bzflag server full time!
Assuming you have a fast internet connection, that sums it up pretty well :)

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Post by Spazzy McGee » Thu Sep 01, 2005 7:38 pm

how well will a 2MB connection do? 20ish players + observers ?
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Post by RPG » Thu Sep 01, 2005 8:09 pm

Spazzy Mcgee wrote:how well will a 2MB connection do? 20ish players + observers ?
2MB upstream and downstream? If not, what's the upstream?

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Post by A Meteorite » Thu Sep 01, 2005 8:32 pm

Yeah, bzfs floods your upstream. It could care less how much download you have. :wink:
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Post by JeffM » Thu Sep 01, 2005 9:47 pm

A Meteorite
again not true, you need decent up and down, since you are also geting data from every client as well as sending them data. BZFlag does use more upstream, but t hat dosn't mean it uses 0 downstream.
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Post by DTRemenak » Fri Sep 02, 2005 5:01 am

To clarify a little bit:

Upstream bandwidth for broadcasts (which is most of bzfs' traffic - player updates, shot updates, gm updates, messages, etc) is used as k((n-1)^2) with n players and k as bits per player-second, while downstream bandwidth is used as k(n). On the other hand, certain messages (lag pings, private messages, server commands, and so on) go k(n) both directions.

You end up with a linear gain on downstream bandwidth and a slightly parabolic gain on upstream bandwidth. With one connected player upstream ~= downstream; the more players you have the more your upstream bandwidth will outstrip your downstream bandwidth.

This gets even worse when you consider that most newer residential broadband connections are asymmetric, and you get higher downstream speed than upstream. Upstream does end up being the limiting factor in most cases due to this combination of factors.

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Post by Spazzy McGee » Sat Sep 03, 2005 1:10 pm

RPG wrote:
Spazzy Mcgee wrote:how well will a 2MB connection do? 20ish players + observers ?
2MB upstream and downstream? If not, what's the upstream?

I THINK it has the same both ways. I'll check that out.

so, say it was both the same, what would be the most i could run on a server (player wise)
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Post by DTRemenak » Sat Sep 03, 2005 5:39 pm

Rule of thumb is 40kbps per player upstream for 10-shot jumping. So if you really do have (and can actually transmit - sometimes rated speed is higher than actual speed, particularly for cable) 2mbps upstream you can host about 50 players by the rule of thumb. Essentially one popular server, or two somewhat popular.

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