Out of any type of server that an organization will purchase today, web servers are amongst the most popular. "Web server" is such a generalized term in today's IT environment. Their primary function can be one of many different business requirements: an E-commerce site to sell a company's product, an enterprise web services application performing order fulfillment, corporate intranet, collaboration applications, and the list goes on. Today, web servers are more like distributed application servers than a machine serving static HTML pages from years past. In this installment of the Xeon vs. Opteron series, we're going to take a look at both of the most current offerings from Intel and AMD on three different web platforms.

The one common link between the different types of web applications is the language in which they are written. In the past, we've performed our load testing on one application server (Macromedia ColdFusion); however, in this series of tests, we've included three different platforms. We ran load tests on Macromedia ColdFusion MX 6.1, PHP 4.3.9, and Microsoft .NET 1.1. We used a collaboration application called FuseTalk for our .NET and ColdFusion tests, and we used the popular open-source portal software, PHPNuke for our PHP test. We're hoping to get a real world store front in future tests, to further diversify our testing.

Testing procedure

To load up our servers and applications, we used Microsoft ACT, which is included with Microsoft Visual Studio.NET. A test scenario was created that kept the CPU sustained at 90%+ usage, while not completely flooding the box to the point where everything was queued. The test was run over a Gigabit network to ensure that there were no network bottlenecks, and a separate database server was used for all tests. We used Microsoft Windows 2003 Server Web Edition for the operating system, and therefore, had 2GB of memory for all web servers. 2GB or less is a common configuration for a web server today. We used an IDE drive for the web servers, since none of our tests are I/O intensive.

The test results include 3 measurements: Average time to last byte, Total requests served, and Requests per second. The average time to last byte is the average time that it took to receive the last byte of information from each request. The total requests served is the number of successful requests (HTTP status 200) completed within the test time. The requests per second measurement is the average of requests per second that the test was performing throughout the duration of the test.

Opteron System
Dual 250 Opteron processors
2GB PC3200 DDR (Kingston KRX3200AK2) memory
Tyan K8W motherboard
Windows 2003 Server Web Edition (32 Bit)
1 x 40 GB 7200RPM 8MB Cache IDE Drive

Xeon System
Dual 3.6GHz Xeon processors
2GB DDR2 memory
Intel SE7520AF2 motherboard
Windows 2003 Server Web Edition (32 Bit)
1 x 40 GB 7200RPM 8MB Cache IDE Drive

ColdFusion Test Results
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  • Jason Clark - Monday, October 18, 2004 - link

    To all those looking for windows 64 bit numbers, we've actually already been testing. Lets just say that the builds we had were a bit too early for benchmarking with. We are continually monitoring the 64 builds, as soon as we have something we can work with we'll do an article.
  • Jason Clark - Monday, October 18, 2004 - link

    #15, we're looking at doing workstation, just takes time to come up with real meaningful tests.

  • Regs - Monday, October 18, 2004 - link

    All these dual cores on Web Based Applications! Why not have a workstation section?
  • Jason Clark - Monday, October 18, 2004 - link

    #7, since the I/O usage was barely 2% throughout the tests, why would you want a different drive? I/O should have no impact on most web applications unless in special cases the app is designed to use I/O for a purpose. Most any web application server out there is going to cache heavily. Anandtech has used IDE drives in our web servers for years, no issues and would perform no different than a Ultra 320 scsi drive.

  • compudog - Monday, October 18, 2004 - link

    Great work Jason. All you fanboys should READ the article. The big difference on the .Net platform is because of CPU optimizations, not as a result of CPU deficiencies. When/If MS writes optimized code for .NET on K8 the tests would likely be within the 2.5% deviation.

  • ajuez - Monday, October 18, 2004 - link

    Can you use the Windows 2003 Server 64 bit Edition on both plataforms?


    It could be interesting for future performance!

    Thanks and sorry about my english
  • mikidutzaa - Monday, October 18, 2004 - link

    Great article. I would LOVE to see the same benchmarks in Linux 32bit AND 64bit!

    If possible, maybe include some lower priced processors (say a 246 & 3.2).
  • Fluff - Monday, October 18, 2004 - link

    Hmm this version of Server 2003 is not NUMA aware. How would this affect the results?
  • Tides - Monday, October 18, 2004 - link

    ah yes, another article that shows very little yet spreads a lot of opinion.why not just say, "we ran 3 programs, opteron won 2 of the 3 tests, but as you can see by our non biased views, the intel system owns the amd system."
  • gimpsoft - Monday, October 18, 2004 - link

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