UniFi - Server Hardware & Database Management


Overview


Users will gain an understanding on how UniFi Controller sizing and scaling affects performance of their installs. After reading this article the user should have an understanding of general CPU and RAM sizing for the controller host machine.


Table of Contents


  1. Introduction
  2. Hosted/Virtualized Platforms for UniFi
  3. Sample Scenarios
  4. Disk Space Requirements & Database

Introduction


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The UniFi Controller and protocol are lightweight enough to support server virtualization and microcomputer installations such as the UniFi Cloud Key. While the UniFi platform scale is 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 and Windows can consume server resources through unnecessary background services.


Hosted/Virtualized Platforms for UniFi


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Hosted server virtualization platforms such as Ubiquiti's own UniFi Cloud Controller or Amazon Web Services are uniquely suited to support cloud-based UniFi Controllers given their reliability & uptime guarantee.


Sample Scenarios


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For comparison purposes, here are two clear real-world examples of UniFi server hardware relative to the total number devices and users they manage:

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  • CPU usage hits 100% usage, and needless to say, the server hardware is outdated to serve the guest portal to so many guest users.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 the minimum, a dual-core processor is needed, with quad-core recommended to support even more guest connections.

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, totaling 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


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Separately from CPU & RAM needs, also consider the disk space requirements for the UniFi server. This will depend on the total number of UniFi devices and user devices under management, as well as data retention settings configured in 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.