Telligent Analytics hardware recommendations

This article covers the following topics:

How Telligent Analytics usage differs from Telligent Evolution

Telligent Evolution Platform usage is all about content, collaboration and users. Users work together on a Telligent Evolution site collaboratively to discuss important topics, to share created media files, or to ask and answer questions. Many users of Telligent Evolution may create no content of their own; instead, they are able to accomplish their goals by use of search and reading content created by other users. The Telligent Evolution platform allows users to interact toward these goals and shared purposes in a near-real-time, highly available manner. 

Telligent Analytics allows for a deeply introspective look into the data of the Telligent Evolution platform. Its database contains a historical view of activity from a traffic point of view, but also from a content perspective. It allows the identification of key community members; key content items, and traffic patterns for the Telligent Evolution site - by a smaller set of users in a daily, weekly, or monthly manner.

  • Telligent Evolution is primarily concerned with allowing a large number of users to access a smaller or more specific set of data in a concurrent manner. 
  • Telligent Analytics is primarily concerned with allowing a smaller set of users to access a much larger set of data in a very timely manner.

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Archival strategies

This document assumes that all data is to be kept in the databases for the purposes of sizing. There may be some archival strategies that can be employed for certain aspects of Telligent Analytics; those are outside the scope of this document. 

Disk space requirements

This section covers space requirements for:

Web Analytics

The principal driver in the disk space requirements for Telligent Analytics is the page view traffic, which is part of the Web Analytics feature set of Telligent Analytics. Content from wikis, forum posts, blogs, etc. is also reflected in Telligent Analytics’ reporting database, but it is not the main driver of database size.

Web Analytics stores data in both the Telligent Evolution database (optionally, it can write to an additional third database instead of to the Telligent Evolution database) as well as the Telligent Analytics database. Whether or not you use the option to store the data outside of Telligent Evolution, you still need to account for the space required.

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Telligent Evolution database

The Telligent Evolution database sizing is handled in a separate document. This document is mainly concerned with the cs_WebAnalytics table, which stores the pre-processed Web Analytics data as recorded by the ExtendedAnalytics HTTP module. 

If a Telligent Evolution site is experiencing more than three million page views a month, you should strongly consider having the cs_WebAnalytics table in another database outside of their core Telligent Evolution database.

Telligent Analytics database

The major drivers of the Telligent Analytics database, in terms of size, are Web Analytics and page views. Sites need to be monitored very closely; if traffic goes up, that means the Telligent Analytics database will grow faster than it did before.

Spikes in traffic should be examined to see whether they represent a new normal, or if they are truly spikes. Telligent Analytics’ database is well-indexed and has high performance. When economically feasible, the Telligent Analytics database server should be overbought. The driving consideration is to ensure that the server has enough available disk resources to handle those spikes. Setting up Telligent Analytics on partitions smaller than 50GB is not recommended for sites of any size.

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Server topologies

This section contains topologies for:

All of these server configurations assume an environment that would be sufficient to run for a period of three or more years without hardware upgrades. If the time window is smaller and if there is there is constant monitoring, then smaller hardware could initially be used.

Note that the sizes recommended below will fit most environments, but size requirements may differ depending on the needs of your community.

Tip: It's a good idea to monitor memory, CPU, and disk usage for the first 2-3 months to accurately gauge your growth needs.

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Less than one million page views

Web server
Possibly, this could be a virtual server. It's recommended that this server have at a minimum 4GB of RAM and multiple processing cores.

Task server
At this level, the tasks can run on the Web server.

Database server
At this level, the database server can be shared with Telligent Evolution. Care should be taken to move to a dedicated database server as the site grows. Free disk space should be 50GB.

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One to three million page views

Web server
Required Web server capabilities for a site of this level:

  • Dual processors with at least dual processing cores
  • No less than 4GB of RAM
  • 3 hard drives in a RAID 5 array for speed and redundancy

Task server
Required task server capabilities for a site of this level:

  • Dual processors with at least dual processing cores
  • No less than 4GB of RAM
  • 3 hard drives in a RAID 5 array for speed and redundancy

Database server
Required database server capabilities for a site of this level:

  • Dual processors with at least quad processing cores
  • No less than 8GB of RAM
  • 3 hard drives in a RAID 5 array for speed and redundancy
  • 60GB free disk space

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Three to ten million page views

Web server
Required Web server capabilities for a site of this level:

  • Dual processors with at least dual processing cores
  • No less than 8GB of RAM
  • 3 hard drives in a RAID 5 array for speed and redundancy

Task server
Required task server capabilities for a site of this level:

  • Dual processors with at least quad processing cores
  • No less than 8GB of RAM
  • 3 hard drives in a RAID 5 array for speed and redundancy

Database server
Required database server capabilities for a site of this level:

  • Dual processors with at least quad processing cores
  • No less than 24 GB of RAM
  • 5 hard drives in a RAID 5 array for speed and redundancy
  • 70GB free disk space

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Ten to 20 million page views

Web server
Required Web server capabilities for a site of this level:

  • Dual processors with at least quad processing cores
  • No less than 16GB of RAM
  • 3 hard drives in a RAID 5 array for speed and redundancy

Task server
Required task server capabilities for a site of this level:

  • Dual processors with at least quad processing cores
  • 8-16GB of RAM
  • 3 hard drives in a RAID 5 array for speed and redundancy

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Database server
Required database server capabilities for a site of this level:

  • Quad processors with at least quad processing cores
  • No less than 64GB of RAM
  • 8 hard drives in a RAID 5 array for speed and redundancy
  • 80GB free disk space

20 to 50 million page views

Web server
Details:

  • Dual quad core processors
  • No less than 16GB of RAM
  • 3 hard drives in RAID 5 array for speed and redundancy

Task server
Details:

  • Dual quad core processors
  • No less than 16GB of RAM
  • 3 hard drives in RAID 5 array for speed and redundancy

Database server
Telligent Analytics at this scale requires a very large database server to handle the extreme volume of data from Telligent Evolution. 

Recommended configuration:

  • Quad processor server with 4-6 cores per processor
  • As much RAM as the system will handle; 128GB, or 256GB is better
  • Onboard hard drives for operating system in a RAID5 array for speed and redundancy
  • External disk enclosure, preferably expandable 
  • 100+GB free disk space

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Hosting considerations

This section contains considerations for:

A common scenario is to host Telligent Analytics for a number of sites or clients on one server. This setup can be particularly useful if you have a number of Telligent Evolution installations on which you would like to report. The most important consideration for hosting Telligent Analytics is how the data grows over time.

All Telligent Analytics databases will get larger over time as the database grows to contain page views, but the key factor is the rate at which the growth is occurring. Keep in mind that if a small site gets 10K page views a month - even if it has a 0% rate of growth, it will still get 10K page views next month and 10K page views the month after that. When considering the size of the data in a Telligent Analytics 3.5 site. it should be considered on a two-year basis. The site will not reach its full size in terms of data or processing time until it has two years of data.

It is recommended to have multiple shared environments for Telligent Analytics 3.5. That way, servers can be slowly loaded over time. For the Task server, this is a requirement.

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Web server

The Web server for Telligent Analytics 3.5 is the main user interface and window into the application. Its primary duty is to serve pages and reports to the user as requested. Its secondary duty is to cache the data from reports executed in order to speed up execution time for future requests.

As a result, the Web server does not need a lot of power for Telligent Analytics (this assumes the site is running in HTTP, not HTTPS; unaccelerated SSL can dramatically decrease the amount of pages that can be served from any one Web server). A lot of memory is a good thing, as that will allow for more data to be cached. An active Telligent Analytics 3.5 site should have at least 2–4GB of RAM for use by the Web server. (This assumes the server is running a 64-bit version of the operating system, as a 32-bit system would not be able to address more than 2GB of RAM or 3GB with the /3GB switch on 32-bit Windows Operating Systems). That recommendation does not mean that if you have, for example ten sites, you need 20-40GB of RAM in the server. Telligent Analytics 3.5 sites are used sometimes, infrequently, to examine a massive amount of data. Even the largest sites will have inactive periods.

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Task server

The Task server for Telligent Analytics 3.5 processes all of the background tasks. These tasks pull data out of the Telligent Evolution site; pre-process it, and store it in the Telligent Analytics database - from where its data can be reported. There are numerous tasks that take varying amounts of time to run, but on the holistic level there is a direct relationship to the quantity of unprocessed data and the time required to process the data. Often, communities will start using Telligent Analytics awhile after the community has been established. The result is that for the first time through, a lot more data needs to be processed by the task service; this is not the case on subsequent days. The consequence of this for the Task server is that there should never be more than one new community at one time. Following this guideline will result in a much more efficient use of server hardware.

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Database server

The database server for hosting Telligent Analytics 3.5 in a shared environment is one of the most critical servers in the Telligent Analytics stack. In some ways, its more significant than the Task server. It's critical that the database server have enough spare capacity to handle both the reads from the Web server and the writes from the Task server. If the cs_WebAnalytics table is hosted on this database server as well, that will need to be taken into account for sizing.

The tasks run by Telligent Analytics are extremely IO-heavy. Some of them do heavy processing (Natural Language, User Types, Web Analytics), but most of them are reading, shaping and writing data from the Telligent Evolution database. Because of the heavy read/write nature of the disk system, the database server is one of the most critical hardware components - not just for the quantity of disk space required but also for the speed. Another point to consider on the database side is that the transaction log for the database could grow quite large from the reading and writing of data. It is important that the database logging be set to “SIMPLE”.

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Hardware recommendation for hosted Telligent Analytics

The recommended environment for hosted Telligent Analytics is the dual environment.

Dual environments

Since Telligent Analytics installs really should be staggered, it's not advisable to spin more than one up at a time on one Task server. Once an environment is established and stable, other analytics task installs can be placed on a single server. Therefore it is advisable that multiple environments be established; that way, new Telligent Analytics clients can be added to one server and then to the other. The initial configuration could look something like the following illustration.

As the system starts to reach capacity, the servers can be upgraded.Since all hosting servers are based on the same chassis, any server ordered can go from a single CPU quad core with 8GB of RAM to a dual quad core with over 100GB of RAM and 12 disks as needed.

In this configuration, the Task and database servers are initially upgraded to handle more and more load and then eventually, additional servers are brought online. To handle the spikes in traffic that could require Telligent Analytics to process more Web Analytics data, it's recommended that the Task and database servers be kept at or below 60% capacity. If hardware upgrades cannot increase server capacity, additional servers should be brought online.

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Eventually, the hosted configuration could look something like the following illustration.

A configuration like this should have enough capacity for at least 24 Telligent Analytics installations, with enough spare capacity to handle moderate spikes without changes. If there are extreme spikes, some sites will need to be juggled between the three servers. 

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For example: If each of the three Task servers is holding 8 sites and each site has 8% of the server’s resources in terms of time and CPU, that leaves approximately 36% of the server’s capacity unused. If one of the sites has a massive growth spike and now requires an additional 30% of the server’s resources, that server would have 6% of spare capacity left. To rebalance the servers, sites could be moved from the server that now has only 6% spare capacity while sites equaling 22% of capacity could be moved to the other two servers. That way, all servers have roughly 26% spare capacity. At that point, traffic should be analyzed to determine whether the spike that caused the need for rebalancing is permanent. If it is, another server should be ordered.

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