I came across this article today about digg.com's server setup. Digg.com is doing 200 million pageviews a month and has 3 webservers and 8 database servers.
Dating for the most part has been a brutal industry in terms of hardware required. AmericanSingles Quarter filing shows just how bad it is. 34 person development staff, and another 30 person team to maintain hardware and software infrastructure. In total americansingles.com has 202 full time employees, in another filing it states they have around 200 servers. This results in over 1 million a month in tech/software expenses according to the SEC filing, not bad for a site that has less then 200 million pageviews/month, note that lavalife, match.com and anothers have similar numbers.
I didn't know any of this when i created my site. When I created my site I started it in Asp.net 1.0 because I needed to learn it if i ever wanted to work at a decent job. Asp.net 1.0 worked fine until I got around 12,000 concurrent connections.
At this point there were a lot of concurrency issues, the site would slooow down and just keep getting slower as more people came on. After switching to asp.net 2.0 all those problems went away. Now when there are over 32,000 concurrent connections at peak the site does not slow down. There are however still problems. I find that once you pass 100 Pageviews/second threads timers start to not get called for no reason.
I've attached some stats that show plentyoffish at average usage. The site(plentyoffish.com and Forums.plentyoffish.com) serves ~500 million pageviews a month and does so using 1 DB server and 1 Web Server which is a far cry from the industry standard of 300+ servers for a site of this size. The system peaks out at 32,000 concurrent users and 440+ pageviews/second sustained. Pretty much all my performance problems come down to the fact I do radius based searches on nearly every pageview and match people based on their preferences and the preferences of the users being searched on. These screen shots show average usage of the site, about 50% from peak. I am using dynamic GZIP compression, every outgoing page is compressed on the FLY using the built in IIS 6.0 compression, its one of those features you turn on by messing around with the metabase. This reduces my outbound traffic by about 60mb/sec. I also have 1 mail server and 1 Image server.
I find that asp.net gets looked down on sometimes, But for me it more then holds its own and there are no real show stopper issues. I am sure that Robert Scoble will love this post, as it gives real world performance stats, or maybe not now that he has left Microsoft. For me I'm just happy that asp.net works and It doesn't give me problems so i can focus on important things like increasing traffic.