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Advice on new server purchase for SQL app, SCSI vs SAS? Which server to buy?

Hi all,

Ive been given a budget to buy the company some new servers *gasp*.........

So before they change their mind im trying to gauge the best i can get for the money.

I want to buy 6 new servers.

Heres a breakdown of what we need:

2 x Citrix servers - no more than 15 users at any one time.
1 x Domain Controller
1 x File/Print server
For these i was looking at the HP Proliant DL360 G4p,  Xeon 2.8 with 2.0Mb cache, 2.0 Gb Memory, 3 x SAS 70Gb (Raid 5 giving 140Gb)

Now these two are where the main money will go, im looking to really beef these up if possible as these are the business critical servers that users sometimes complain theyre slow:
2 x SQL DB Server - approx 75 users
I was looking a the HP Proliant DL585 AMD Opteron 885 2.6Ghz, 1Mb cache, dual core, 8Gb Memory, 3 x SA 146Gb (Raid 5, or maybe 0+1?)

ie been looking around the net and got some conflicting info on these. My thoughts are:

Is it a good idea to replace the older Ultra 320 SCSI for the SAS drive setups? Is SAS better in terms of speed a reliability than Ultra SCSI?

Has anyone got these servers in these kind of environments? If so would you recommend them?

Has ayone got any better ideas on what i can do? Again ive only come to these servers just by looking around on the net, maybe theres better solutions than what ive suggested? Im sure there are more experienced server people out there who can suggest alternatives?

Thanks all!

1 Solution
Have you thought about a SAN?

Just get a bunch of pizza box servers using RAID 1 and use fiber or gigabit out to the SAN.

If you are using SQL ,you could cluster if you have the enterprise version of M$ windows.
Why dont you go for a blade setup? SAS is better than Scsi. It provides a single direct channel to the raid controller. But personally, I would consider a HP blade setup attached to an MSA500. I just setup one of these. It went very well. I setup 6 blades attached with FDDI direct interconnects to the MSA. The Blades come with 2 36k SCSI drives installed. I have SQL running on one blade, The other 5 are for a Citrix farm. Raid 1 on the Blade OS drives, FDDI to the MSA for application and storage. in the MSA I went raid 1 for the Data drive, You could set this up for Raid 5 if you wanted.  Pretty easy to setup. Single iLO port connection. Also with the MSA500 you can attach an MSA30 to expand storage in the furture if need be. Just an idea.

Something strange with HP SAS right now. I recently setup a system with SAS and HP hasnt figured out how to get the LED activity lights working on the front of the drives with internal SATA. I may be wrong on this, but keep it in mind to ask HP about this before buying.

Here is a link to the MSA devices if you are unfamiliar
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shellitAuthor Commented:
Well unfortuately i dont have the enterprise version of Windows so a cluster may be out of the question? By the way what benefits DOES a cluster bring? Ive never used one?

I was looking at a HP BLade setup, the impression i got that blades were more for larger collections of servers, if you only have a small area to put lots of hardware in, also they tend to get quite hot? and have a single point of failure? so i was put off by these? Again never used one so cant judge only on other peoples opinions.

Also on the net is that SATA are just a cheaper option than SCSI that dont have the reliability? Just that theyre cheaper and not a s fast access? Is this the case or am i getting conflixting stories? Sometimes too much information can be hard!

This is from the HP Website on MSA devices "The MSA1500 cs is perfect for those customers looking for less expensive storage solutions using HP SATA enclosures to store data that doesn't require a high degree of I/O performance and/or is viewed as non-critical to business operations".
The data i need to store IS buisness critical and also needs a fast I/O so im not sure this would suit our needs.

What i need is the fastest SQL servers i can get for the money and the most reliable workhorse servers with a large File Server with fast I/O, i have approx 21k to spend on all the HARDWARE only, we already have software. Maybe the problem is that for once, ive got a fair bit of cash as before ive had to settle for the low end servers as theyre the only one we could afford! =P
WIth that small of a budget you may not be able to accomplish what you want with 6 hardware boxes.  For what you list.. I reccomend 3x DL360 G4/5 all Dual core 7130 processors. 1 use as the file/print/domain controller  the other 2 as your citrix boxes.
For the SQL boxes use DL380's with the 7130 proc's.
shellitAuthor Commented:
Dadennis, i cant seem to find that model and CPU on the HP website, can you provide a link at all?

The models ive come up with since the beginning (based on various opinions of others and self help on the HP site) are the following:

SQL Servers:
HP ProLiant DL380 G5 (model No - 417458-421)
Smart Array Contoller in PCI-E slot P600 (in Performance Model only for SAS drives)
3 x 146 SAS drives
4Gb Memory.

Or these for the SQL:
HP ProLiant DL580 G3 - (2.66GHz/667MHz - 2x1M L2 dual-core)
4Gb standard memory
3 x 146Gb?

Are any of these 'better' performance than the DL380's with the 7130 proc's youve recommended, whats the difference?

Im trying to get an idea of whats best for the cost but it seems everyone has different ideas on what would be suitable and the list of Servers on HP just goes on and on! =)
Any particular reason for 2 Citrix boxes?
If you go 64 bit ,you can load up the box with RAM and CPU and scale easily up to 75 users.
shellitAuthor Commented:
ive not used 64 bit before, would that mean a change of software and licences at all? The second CITRIX server has an 8 port modem card in there for specific dial up purposes, would this be ok on a 64 bit machine also?

Nope, Citrix 4 comes in 32 and 64 bit out of the box.
As for your modem card ,the only issues would be drivers.
If they got em your fine,if not,then 32 would be your only choice.

With 64 bit you break the barrier of only being allowed 3 gig RAM for programs.

As for Windows 64 bit,you might need to talk to M$ as to how they would licence.
They both cost the same(32 and 64).

And you would need 64 bit CPU's.
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