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raspberry pi server node.js ARM performance

I have created an experimental project: running a node.js server + simple MVC CMS on the top of the Raspberry Pi board. Turns out that a $25 computer can actually pull off a decent performance. In fact I have not found a load level where the server would start slowing down, did a 50 concurrent user test on it.

There has been a discussion recently if the ARM based servers could replace conventional Intel based CPUs in the future. As ridiculous as it sounds to build servers off phone chips, I imagine that it is the same like if somebody in the 80's said that we would be running our server farms of PCs.

As a JavaScript/node.js ninja this starts making even more sense, since ARM is the one who is really really paying attention to the V8 open source project, and the ARM chips are really trying to optimize for JavaScript performance.

Here is another thing: joyent.com which is the main node.js hosting provider actually runs their servers on a minimal 250k memory VM instances and just scales by turning on more of these as needed. Why could not we do the same thing on per-board basis, and this way eliminate hardware failure as well as power consumption.

node.js is single threaded which is a common criticism, so it cannot take advantage of multi-core CPUs, but maybe this is exactly why creating single core ARM (optimized for V8 JavaScript performance) board clusters is the most suitable hardware solution.

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