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server advice

2:06 am on May 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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hello, i need some advice on a couple of things.

- when choosing scsi, would it be wise to use raid? i plan on building a server with 15k scsi and some people have said it is a hassle and the chance for a drive failer/recovery are greater than using non-raid. if raid would be the best route in terms of performance, which type of raid for web/mysql server?

- what would you consider a "better" :
Dual 3.0Ghz 2MB cache or Dual 3.2Ghz 1MB Cache


2:42 am on May 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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What kind of system are you running now and what kind of bandwidth do you have, and how much bandwidth growth do you anticipate in the next two years? What are your most popular file types that are downloaded/accesses: video, text, images, databases.

Does your traffic have a lot of spikes, or is it more of a consistently high volume?

The more info you can give us, the better the advice will be for you.

Hope this helps.


5:36 am on May 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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right now:

1 image server
Dual 2.4ghz Xeon, 2GB ram, 80GB 7200 IDE drives.

1 web/mysql server
Dual 2.4ghz Xeon, 2GB ram, 80GB 7200 IDE drives.

As for bandwidth, we're on 100Mbit link.
we don't have a lot of large files, mostly small 10/20/30MB files with some under 10MB and others over 100MB but none over 300MB. file types on downloads are usually zips. the site is written primarily in php.

we do get a lot of traffic spikes throughout the day. there are days however that traffic is pretty consistent.. the site continues to grow each day, so i expect data to increase,etc.

2:50 am on May 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If you're moving from IDE to 15K scsi, you're likely to see a pretty good performance boost even if you don't change anything.

I personally suspect there's not perfect answer. Do what your comfortable with.

FWIW, I'm running Raid 0 on two 15K scsi drives too. However, a good chunk of my traffic is script based and since I've got a good chunk of RAM everything is cached and the drives don't really work that hard. So I've got way overkill with the raid.

I've read people's concerns about raid mirroring as well, where you can still lose stuff even with raid. If cost is an issue, I'd say skip raid and put up with really good backups as scsi hd's are fairly reliable. If money's less of a concern, get the raid that makes you feel comfortable *and* keep really really good backups.

If you get raid, you run the risk of having two hd's go down. if instead you say use one hd for storage, and clone the drive to another say every 1/2 hour then you don't have the '100% uptime', but you're less likely to lose everything. If the first drive went down, you lose 1/2 an hour while you swap drives. IF your raid goes down, you lose from your last nightly backup and the time it takes you to source another drive and do a bare metal install. (actually, I run raid, and an onsite nightly backup, and an offsite nightly, and will probably be bumping my onsite backup to hourly - covering most of my bases).

Suggest you run some tests to see how much work your drive's are doing. I mean, if speed is what it's all about, and you're only using say 4-6 gigs of HD space, then slp some RAM into the server and run a ramdisk. Isn't that what Google does?

In terms of the CPU, my uninformed answer is that it's a tossup. And again, problably not going to make much difference unless you're under heavy CPU strain. Run some checks.

ALong the vein of 'nobody ever got fired for recommending MS', you're always better off to go high when buying your own servers. It's a heck of a lot easier to pay for more and faster hd's and faster cpu's now and grow into it, than it is to buy what you need now and outgrow it in two years. Then you'd have to swap servers- spend a couple of G's now and save yourself the trouble.(and if you're recommonding this to management, you should be suggesting top of the line. Then you can always claim 'i told you so' :) 0.


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