I wrote a more generalized post about speeding up servers awhile back, but those tips can only bring you so far. To truly get every ounce of speed out of your dedicated server, you’re going to have to optimize everything from the applications to the operating system!
I would like, however, to emphasize two things before we embark on this journey to speeding up your servers, and they are these:
1) Do not sacrifice stability for speed!
Always make sure, whenever using any of these tips and tricks, that it does not affect the stability of your system! Stability and uptime are the two most valuable things any system administrator can have, especially if they’re running anything that’s mission-critical, like a web or database server that’s critical for keeping business stuff. If a speed tweak involves switching an application’s settings to potentially unsafe values or using a sleeker, beta version of the application- don’t do it! I will avoid giving you these types of tips, but always remember this rule when looking up speed guides on the Internet or elsewhere (Always use common sense!)
2) Speed tweaking is not a substitute for proper upgrading and maintenance of hardware!
Speed tweaking is not, by any means, a cheap way to keep servers running! If you’re noticing a performance hit in your servers, order an upgrade as soon as possible! Speed tweaking should be used as a preventative measure, increasing the longevity and usefulness of your servers from the start. Do not, under any circumstances, optimize your system only when its performance has decreased and then assume the problem to be gone. Optimizing your server is not a stopgap measure, and proper upgrade paths and plans should be followed and maintained.
That said- we’ve dispensed with the cautionary tales! Onward and upward, starting with what might be the most familiar OS to most: Windows Server!