Will storing a SQL Server 2005 MDF (Database File) on USB External Device Slow Performance

jseaman12 used Ask the Experts™
I have a 500 GB Database File (MDF) & (LDF) SQL Server 2005 sitting on an External Device Drive. Western Digital. I've attached the database back to the SQL Server Management Studio; but the MDF and LDF reside on the External Device.

The data is only being used for archiving purposes. End Users will be viewing the data only

1. Will this slow down performance?
2. Good Idea?
3. Is it good to have the end user making changes on this drive? Updates and Adds ( or be too slow)

Any information that can be useful will help.

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My opinion is that this is going to be slow and probably not a very good idea. Hard drives are cheap
Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]Billing Engineer
Most Valuable Expert 2014
Top Expert 2009
I take as premise that the data is really only read!

>1. Will this slow down performance?
once the db data is read, it will be in memory, so only the first users will have to "wait" for the reads of their records.
so, overall, if the disk is somewhat quick, it will not be a problem

>2. Good Idea?
it is as good as the backups you perform, and a failover place in case the disk crashes.

>3. Is it good to have the end user making changes on this drive? Updates and Adds ( or be too slow)
it depends only on the disk write speed, and the fault tolerance you can grant...

Mark WillsTopic Advisor, Page Editor
Distinguished Expert 2018
1) 500GB will be slow via USB port - if you can make use of caching, might not be disasterously slow, but will definitely be slow.

2) Do not think it is a good idea unless there is no other alternative.

3) No, not a good thing for users to add /change on that devise.

the other problem you have is how cached writes behave via a usb device - you have to properly disconnet that device to make sure any caching has been flushed, and failure to do so, can corrupt the database.

All in all, USB attached devices are really good to transport data, or backup data. Not good as an "online" data repository, and certainly not for updates. The speed will not be good as soon as it fills cache quotas, and have multiple people accessing it.

Try getting one of those ginormous SATA drives and install in the server itself. If you have NO expansion capacity for another disk drive, then you will need to look for bigger drives and upgrades.

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