I've been programming PHP w/ mysql for almost 2 years now for my company. We develop 
online testing and surveying software. We are currently running operations for a few 
specific companies where maybe 20-30 tests will be taken online per day (it requires 
pulling the test questions out of the database in random order, and then putting all 
of their answers into the database at the end of the test.) This is currently running 
on a shared webserver using php3 and mysql. Recently we've been talking about some 
projects that will require a lot more use. (Could be 100 people taking a test at once 
or it could be 1000 people taking a test at once. We don't know yet.)

If anyone has had some experience with upgrading as your operations grow, I'd 
appreciate if you could answer ANY of the following questions:
1. At what point will mysql blow up (how many tests could be taken at once? How many 
rows of results could be stored in a table before it bogs down?)

2. At what point will we need a dedicated server instead of shared-hosting?

3. How fast of a server do we need? Will a 1ghz server outperform a 500mhz server when 
using apache-php-mysql?

4. If we need a new database, what is the next step above mysql? I have some 
experience with Oracle but it is too expensive. Is there anything inbetween that is 
friendly to PHP?

5. If MS-SQL is an option for a database-upgrade. What are the implications of 
switching our server to a win32-based server? Will we have problems with PHP on 
windows when all of our scripts were programmed for unix?

I realize these are a lot of questions and that we probably need some consulting work 
done, but if any of you could share your knowledge on any one of those topics I would 
really appreciate it. I just need something to give me a head start in my research. 
Point me in the right direction!

- Doug Schasteen

P.S. - if you know of any good articles online that compare different servers or 
databases please share.

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