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Properly Sizing an x86 Server for Internet DNS?

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# 1  
Old 04-11-2007
Properly Sizing an x86 Server for Internet DNS?

Where I work, we have to very old Alpha boxes running OpenVMS 7. They also have Multinet and are using the BIND component for DNS services. We are planning on retiring those boxes and replacing them with x86 servers running Linux. I've decided to go with Gentoo Linux for this and I've inherited two old boxes (A PIII >1GHz system and an old PIII quad Xeon 500MHz system) to do this with.

My concern is that my co-workers are adamant that the x86 systems won't be able to to keep up with the demand (we host about 70 domains in DNS) the way the Alphas did. My suspicion is that these x86 systems are just fine. However, what I really want to know is where the real utilization for DNS comes in. Is it CPU heavy? Is it RAM heavy? Or is it I/O heavy? I would suspect RAM first and CPU second based on what I've seen at home. But to be honest, in my experience DNS has been a pretty low resource service to run.

I honestly don't see our organization as being that big and 70 domains seems like a very small load even for the PIII boxes I just got. But, I'd be happy with any insight anyone here can provide.
# 2  
Old 04-12-2007

you're right, DNS will need first RAM and then a little bit CPU.
Our first DNS-Server was a 266 MHz CPU with 1 GB RAM, we
hosted about 300 Domains.

# 3  
Old 04-12-2007
I guess its I/O heavy on the network side i mean, and to speed things up, you may even want to move some dns directory keys on ramdisk ...
# 4  
Old 04-12-2007
We're running a couple of PIII's in production:

model name : Intel(R) Pentium(R) III CPU family 1133MHz

Each of these has 4GB RAM, but we're rarely using above 600Mb of it, the rest is cached.

These two servers have a network "load-balancer" in front of them (does nothing more than round-robining DNS requests at the two backend nameservers).

And we host >40,000 zones (yes I work for a DNS company ) - these servers handle these zones, and over 1 million queries per hour per server without issues.

EDIT: I also recommend Gentoo - once you use portage you'll never look back!

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