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The Processes Property Sheet

Initial Number of Processes: Most web browsers have the capability of receiving more than one file at a time. This greatly speeds up the download time of an entire web page (including graphics). As a rule, one process serves one file in Savant. This field contains the number of processes that Savant initially starts. If Savant needs more processes, then it will create more. The default of 5 should be sufficient for most web servers. If your server experiences periods of inactivity followed by high-traffic bursts, you may want to increase this number to make response time faster during the high-traffic bursts.

Maximum Number of Processes: This is the maximum number of processes Savant will create. Effectively, this is the number of clients your web server can handle simultaneously. If more people request connections than this number allows, they will be refused connections. By setting this field to a reasonable number you can prevent malicious people from locking up your computer by creating thousands and thousands of server processes. This field's initial value is high enough for a moderate traffic web server, but should probably be increased to a number between 100 and 200 for higher traffic sites.

Number of Processes to Keep Free: Savant will create more processes when there are less free processes than the number in this field. The default number for this field should be OK for most situations - you may need to increase it if your server has high bursts of traffic as described above in "Initial Number of Processes". Be careful to keep this number much smaller than the Maximum Number of Processes, otherwise you will prevent users from being able to connect to your server.

Process Compact Period: After Savant responds to an HTTP request by sending a file, it will keep the process it created alive for the number of seconds specified in this field. This is based on the theory that most web pages are going to be read in only a few minutes, and then a link leading to another page on the same server will be clicked by the user. By keeping the process alive, Savant can save time and processing by responding to HTTP requests from the same user by using the same process. This keeps Savant from constantly terminating and creating processes to serve requests from a single user. Some web browsers are extremely well mannered, and send Savant a message when the user will no longer be using the process. When Savant receives this message, it will immediately terminate the process. Otherwise, it will wait for the number of seconds specified in this field. The default value of 3000 seconds (5 minutes) is usually more than sufficient. If you have a high-traffic web site, you might want to reduce this value to as little as 30 seconds.

Process Compact Laziness: As with every other aspect of computing, Murphy's Law holds true for web serving. Sometimes a process can go horribly awry - usually the result of a web browser crashing while somebody's looking at your web site. This leaves a process trying to send a file to a client that doesn't exist. The process won't terminate after the number of seconds specified in the Process Compact Period field, because it's still doing something. Of course, what it's doing will never be finished, since the client it was sending a file to no longer exists. To keep these useless processes from accumulating and eating up your computer's memory and processing resources, Savant has a special watchdog process that checks every process to make sure it's doing something useful. If a process isn't doing something useful, the watchdog process terminates it. This field lets you set how often the watchdog process checks every process to make sure they're all being well behaved. Time to whip out the calculators: Process Compact Period x Process Compact Laziness = # of seconds the watchdog process checks every process. The default values for these two fields send the watchdog process out every 10 minutes. If most of the traffic to your web site is via dial-up services that have a tendency to disconnect users, you might want to decrease this value so these useless processes are terminated more often.

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