Over the years, we've had various hardware setups for the staging server at AnandTech. For the most part, it had been running off my personal web server, since ColdFusion is quite easy to develop from anywhere because of its scripting language roots. For the new .NET architechture for AnandTech, I performed all development on my local machine due to the simplicity of local debugging with Visual Studio .NET (it's geared for local host development, especially debugging). The problem that I ran into is mostly a limitation of Windows XP - its limit of 1 website. That is, you can only create one website in Windows XP's IIS. There are a few hacks out there to work with multiple projects or websites, like IIS Multiplex, but none of these available hacks or work-arounds can really replace an unrestricted version of IIS.

The reason for requiring multiple websites is that there are several key projects that make up the AnandTech back end. The main AnandTech .NET project is the largest project; it contains the entire website (www.anandtech.com) front end code and back end API. Next, we have the Ad tracking engine that is a .NET port of our old ColdFusion-based FuseAds ad engine. The rest of the projects are all ColdFusion- based, as they are mostly form interfaces to our database for reporting purposes. We have a statistics site that analyzes our home-grown, database-driven web statistics engine, and the AnandTech Admin site (allows the Editorial Staff to post and edit their content), which is a home-grown CMS. Each of these projects are separate websites.

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  • JasonClark - Friday, September 10, 2004 - link

    mikepeck, it certainly is overkill, we're speed nuts like the rest of you. Compile time for building isn't much at all, but compile time after a change (as .NET re-compiles all of the files) does take some time. As said in the article the opteron did just fine, but 7200 RPM IDE drives aren't all that quick during heavy compilation. This article was more information, not a benchmark or comparison between opteron/nocona as a workstation.

    We are interested in doing some real workstation benchmarks, but need some input as to what people would like to see.
  • mikepeck - Friday, September 10, 2004 - link

    Wow. This is what happens when you have a hardware nut from a hardware site put together a "workstation". Also, not sure how a measly dual opteron wouldn't hack it. How long of compiles are you talking about here? I've done serious .NET development on systems FAR less than what you speak of. Perhaps it is a bit of jealousy, but for a .NET development machine, ya, just a BIT of an overkill.
  • Booty - Friday, September 10, 2004 - link

    I know this is a bit off topic, but I've looked around for some good how-to's for building your own high-end workstations and/or servers, and haven't found much. There's tons of info out there about building your own PC, but not much for servers. Hell, I wouldn't even know where to go to buy the hardware - Newegg doesn't seem to carry much server stuff.

    Say I wanted to build the equivalent of a Dell PowerEdge 6600... anyone know of any good resources for someone wanting to get into that type of thing?
  • JasonClark - Friday, September 10, 2004 - link

    One thing this article brings up is the need for workstation articles. If any of you are interested, what benchmarks would you like to see, besides compiling.

  • JasonClark - Friday, September 10, 2004 - link

    Ryan, we keep most of the hardware we test around the labs for future articles/comparisons. Spare is a term to be used lightly in the lab, until its needed :).
  • RyanVM - Friday, September 10, 2004 - link

    You know, if dual Opteron 246s, 1GB memory, and a 120GB SATA hard drive are "spare parts", I want to rummage through you guys' junk pile! :P
  • PrinceGaz - Friday, September 10, 2004 - link

    I was under the impression that AMD K8 processors (Opteron, Athlon 64) are considerably faster than than Intel's best Pentium 4's for compiling. Given that a 3.6GHz Nocona is to all intents and purposes a P4 560, with 64-bit support which Windows Server 2003 does not use, and an Opteron 250 is equivalent to an Athlon64 FX53 (S940); the 3.6GHz Nocona is a long way behind the Opteron 250 in the Visual Studio compile test.


    That gap will almost certainly widen in a dual-processor system.
  • JasonClark - Friday, September 10, 2004 - link

    Exmaster76, you'll see an article very shortly about Opteron 250 vs Nocona 3.6..

  • JasonClark - Friday, September 10, 2004 - link

    daniel, I had a look at that app as well, not bad but I wanted everything running at the same time as some sites depend on others.

  • daniel1113 - Friday, September 10, 2004 - link

    I've got one word for any web developers out there that use Windows XP Pro rather than a server OS:


    It allows you to easily switch between websites in IIS. Of course, you are still limited to one website at a time, but if you work on multiple sites on your home computer, this little program works wonders.

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