Hello to everyone.  This email will probably be quite lengthy so please 
bear with me.  What I am asking is quite important to me, so I will try to 
be as detailed as possible.

I have spent the last hour pouring over this list's archive.  I have found 
some great information and a lot of you appear to be quite helpful.  I just 
want to thank everyone in advance for their help.  If I have missed 
something obvious or my question is redundant, then please point me towards 
the appropriate links and I will read them right away.

I, along with several other people am starting a business which will depend 
heavily on its web presence.  Unfortunately, I am in the all too common 
position of having to make technical decisions that will have repercussions 
on the future well-being of said business, with little to no budget.  It is 
crucial that the solution I pick, handle what we hope will become a very 
large load in the not-to-distant future (whether this happens or not is a 
question for another day, heh).  To this end, I am very interested in using 
the LAMP (Linux+Apache+MySQL+PHP) approach.  I have experience with all of 
these technologies, but I am definitely not in a position to vouch for 
their worthiness for use in a large scale application running beneath a 
heavy load.

To quantify LAMP's ability, is it appropriate for say, sites that generate 
on the order of 5 million unique hits per day?  If not, where would you 
draw the line?  At 500,000?  Or 1 million?  If so, how much higher could it 
go possibly?  10 million?  20?

Keep in mind that we have no problem heavily optimizing the application 
(code tweaks, cacheing, etc).

We looked into and even began development in JSP w/ Tomcat but found Tomcat 
to be exceedingly unstable for production use (not that it was ever really 
meant for it).   And of course, the other available application servers 
were well beyond our budget.  Also, time constraints have forced us to look 
for a faster-to-develop alternative.

Just a couple of details about the application we intend to develop.  It 
will be very database intensive (many queries per page) and will also 
provide real-time payment support (for which transactions are a must).

So, what say you?  Given all that I have said, is LAMP appropriate?  Will 
PHP and maybe even more importantly, MySQL be able to scale well?  I have 
no doubt that MySQL is fast, but just how scaleable is it?  Will it die 
beneath the kind of loads I have described?

What would be *most* helpful to me is if you could provide web sites that 
exist currently and experience this load and are using LAMP 

I hope you are still with me!  Thanks a lot for taking the time to read 
this and I would appreciate greatly any help that can provide.



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