"As Mark Twain once said, there are three types of
lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. I bring this up not
because I happen to love the works of Mark Twain, though I do. No,
I'm starting off this month's column with Twain's words because the
topic is benchmarking Web servers.
Most people who have spent time in the computing industry have
learned to regard benchmark results skeptically at best, and with
derision and scorn in many cases. (The word "Mindcraft" immediately
suggests itself...) However, this column isn't concerned with
benchmarking Web servers for nefarious marketing purposes. Instead,
I want to focus on using benchmarking utilities to help admins
stress-test their systems so that they can assess whether or not
their systems are up to the strain of real-world usage.
This month, I'm going to describe a sample benchmarking setup
and run through the syntax of using httperf and Autobench. Next
month, I'll look at how a few different hardware configurations
running the stable release of Debian GNU/Linux and a standard
Apache install with mod_perl and PHP handle the onslaught of
several test clients. I'll also focus on tuning Apache and the
kernel to eke out better results."