What Is Server Benchmarking?

Alex Newth
Alex Newth
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Woman with hand on her hip

Server benchmarking is the act of checking a server for performance — based on several features — to ensure the server is working correctly and can satisfy all the server’s traffic. This process normally is done to a server with high traffic or work, because smaller personal servers do not commonly push a server to its limit. One benchmark metric is how many requests the server can satisfy within a second. Another metric is the amount of memory the server can move in a second. There are many different types of servers and, while the benchmarking process is similar for each type, there usually are some small differences.

Any server can go through a server benchmarking test, but this is normally reserved for larger servers instead of personal servers. One reason for this is that larger servers normally work for businesses or serve customers; to keep everything running, the server must be benchmarked. Another reason is that personal servers rarely crash or have functionality problems, because they are only serving a limited number of people, but larger servers are used by many people, and these servers have to perform consistently to satisfy all these people.

There are many server benchmarking metrics, and one of the more important ones is the number of satisfied requests. When someone needs information or power from the server, it requests this from the server and the server either accepts or denies the request. Such a server typically is expected to handle at least the minimal number of requests; for example, if there are 1,500 requests per second and the server can only satisfy 1,000, then this can present a problem. As a test, the benchmarking software will check for the maximum number of satisfied requests.

The other important metric measured during server benchmarking is the amount of data moved per second. This determines how much power the server can give toward each request and how long it takes for the server to move a file. Just like with requests, the benchmarking software will push this toward its maximum.

Servers are used for different purposes, such as storing information, taking requests from the Internet and working on a virtual system. Each server basically performs the same tasks, so the server benchmarking for each will be similar. There may be special metrics for each server, or one metric may be prioritized. For example, for a web server, it is common to check latency and uptime. With a file-sharing server, checking data movement often is prioritized.

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