I have a large server with 40-50 players on but seem to have problems supporting more than that without lag.
Xeon Quad Core
16GB RAM (11 dedicated to minecraft, 3.5GB on a ramdrive)
Fully dedicated to MC.
It seems that after about 40 players, the CPU of one of the cores reaches 100% then the sun and moon will begin to lag.
How do some of these larger servers with 60+ players get all those players on without lag? Are they virtualizing the cores somehow? Minecraft running under Java 64 only seems to want to use one core and it maxes out at 40-50 players.
As Xeons come in many flavours, which one is yours? I'm just wondering if it's a 1.86GHz part, or older generation Xeon. If I were planning a 64 player server I'd be looking at a 2.66GHz Xeon E5640. Anything over 100 players and it would have to be 3.33GHz W3680, which would actually give 3x 3.6GHz cores with Intel's Turbo Boost feature.
It's just unfortunate that throwing extra cores at a Minecraft server doesn't help.
I'd be tempted to switch Hyperthreading off, perhaps. Whether this has any measurable effect on your server I wouldn't like to guess.
Just to throw my 2 cents out, we have a ~140 slot server running on an X3450 with HT on. We also have some even bigger servers that are run on dual 5520 and dual 5620's. It's been argued over and over on HT. Overall it doesn't make much of a difference in what we've noticed. We've been reported that 225 concurrent slots has been reached on a dual 5520.
By chance, are you running any extra java opts?
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I very much doubt you could get over 100 without some type of lag unless you had monsters and animals off, and not many plugins installed. Even then, I'd have to see it to believe it.
I have the entire thing in a ramdrive and 16GHz.. My Xeon is the 5000 series. I think my main issue now that I've done some testing is that I have monsters and animal spawning on. But I'm not going to remove those to get 20 more slots, that's for sure.