Server Preference for UniFi Controller
The UniFi Controller and Protocol are lightweight enough to support server virtualization and microcomputer installations, such as the UniFi-Cloud Key. And while the UniFi platform scales limitless, it’s important to note that Controller performance will depend on the Server hardware and size of the Deployments under management.
Ubiquiti recommends installing UniFi on server-optimized Linux Operating Systems, since Mac & Windows can consume server resources through unnecessary background services.
Hosted/Virtualized Platforms for UniFi
Hosted Server Virtualization platforms such as Ubiquiti's own UniFi Elite Cloud Service or Amazon’s Web Services are uniquely suited to support Cloud-based UniFi Controllers, given their reliability & uptime guarantee.
As the Enterprise Network under management grows from Tens to Hundreds to Thousands of Users, simply locate and restore the Backup UniFi Server file to a more powerful Virtual Server instance. Note that with the UniFi Elite Server, the Virtualized Server auto-scales so the Enterprise Admin need not worry about System Requirements for the Controller machine.
For comparison purposes, here are two clear real-world examples of UniFi Server hardware relative to the total number Devices and Users they manage:
Under Scenario A,
- UniFi runs on Windows XP via an older, Intel Pentium 4 PC with 1.5GB of RAM,
- To manage 22 UAPs, with 300 simultaneous guests connected.
- CPU usage hits 100% usage, and needless to say, the Server hardware is outdated to serve the Guest Portal to so many Guest users.
- While Linux would help reduce CPU overhead, at minimum, a dual-core processor is needed, with quad-core recommended to support even more Guest connections.
Under Scenario B,
- UniFi runs on a virtualized Linux instance via an Intel Xeon E5506, 2.13GHz Processor with 2GB of RAM,
- To manage 6 UAPs, with 120 simultaneous guests across 3 separate sites, totalling approximately 6 Megabits per second of web traffic.
- CPU usage sits at around 20% usage, which includes other background services, like firewall & dnsmasq.
Disk Space Requirements & Database
Separately from CPU & RAM needs, also consider the Disk Space requirements for the UniFi server, which also depends on the total number of UniFi Devices and Users under management, as well as server maintenance settings configured at the Controller.
Based on MongoDB, the UniFi Controller builds, stores, and maintains a highly scalable database of information relating to UniFi Devices, Users, as well as the UniFi Server itself.
Under the Maintenance tab of the Controller Settings, specify the Historical Data Retention period to auto-prune the Database size. When no period is specified, use the Compact Database feature to manually prune the Database. However, before touching the database, always make sure to download a backup file of the UniFi Controller.