my experience: its about the serverload.
If moodle is configured as it comes, chat module can cause heavy serverload. One class (25 pupils) of my can bring my dual intel 2,8 GHz FSB800, 2 GB DDR3200 1 TB SATA Raid5 (intel Controller) for database, Raid 1 Sata WD 75 GB 1000 rpm server to nearly 100 % load if they chat very fast.
Configuaration of moodle is one possibility to modify, php or Webserver is more difficult. We have W3K, IIS and now PHP as Isapi (Php 5.03, mysql 4.1.7). With the Chat daemon they only reach about 40 % serverload, when chatting very very fast. In standard mode it was configuerd as php-cgi.
Hardware is one fact to decide, support and costumizing a second. If i tell you we have Windows server on our school cause we are no programmers, we are self made admins (i studied biology), and i can solve all these probs, you have a third fact: time and interest to invest into costumizing your system.
We have a new very big server with enough air to heavy load, so if something happens, we have space, and this is very important. If you want to implement moodle for production use, take a big server to work professional.
power on moodle
Hardware and performance
Moodle Performance of Various Servers
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