I recommend implementing a pure perl version first and testing it. You could always move speed critical portions into an XS module if needed. I think you'll be pleasantly suprised by how well perl handles the load though with a little tweaking. I once wrote a toy (minimum functionality) web server that could out-perform apache (with keep-alive turned off... I abandoned my script before getting keep-alive working in it).
in reply to Perl chat server?
-- O thievish Night, Why should'st thou, but for some felonious end, In thy dark lantern thus close up the stars? --Milton