Config for anew file server

Posted on 2011-02-16
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hi, I currently need to configure a new file serveur for a client that have 40-60 user. All user are working on the server (no one work on thier c drive). Need about 4-5 TB noe with space for expension

I was thinking of:
- Dell R515
-2X AMD Opteron™ 4130, 4C 2.6GHz, 3M L2/6M L3, 1333Mhz Max Mem
- 8G Ram (I thnks windows 2008 Std will cache some often used file in cache)
- I was thinking to use a RAID 5 for PERC H700 Controllers with one spare

But what do you suggest for HDD?
- Dell have new 2TB 7.2K RPM Near-Line SAS 6Gbps  good for space with just 3 in raid 5 I got my space needed and a lot space expension. But what about speed?
- I can use a 600GB 15K RPM Serial-Attach SCSI 6Gbps for about the same price but the 2 claim to have a 6Gbps R/R speed
All the SAS drive are limited to 7.2K for this server, only SATA have 10 or 15K.

Question #2:
For a file server it is more secure to use Raid6 and lost some R/W speed?
Question by:pdsavard
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Expert Comment

by:sharjeel ashraf
ID: 34912569
my ideal solution would be to use 2 smaller drives for O/S , mirrored,

then 4x2TB HDD in RIAD 5 solution, 3 acting as the main drives and 1 hot spare.
RAID 6 seems to give you far less space, and more overhead, if you had a large SAN then i would suggest RIAD 6, more protection, and still have space for expansion later.

i think the server is a bit over speced, but over specing is better then under specing, and then having to explain to a customer that in 1 year there servers needs to be upgraded.

Author Comment

ID: 34912603
it is a real need to have 2 Raid1 c: drive? No program will run on it, only file server... The OS need fast disk to server file to the 1G network?

The client need a serevr for 5-10 years! I kown that meaby 1 CPU and 4 Gb ram will be enough!

It is ok to say the if a SATA drive runing at 15K RPM have a bus of 6Gbps and then a SAS drive runing at 7.4K with the same bus speed of 6Gbps the user will not see difference when working on thiers files?

Author Comment

ID: 34912614
And it is ok to use Near-Line SAS (cheap?) drive for file server? Its not a backup server users work on it everyday
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Expert Comment

by:sharjeel ashraf
ID: 34912642
the reason for the mirrored O/S drive is, if anything happens to the O/S i.e service pack failuare, update failure, the only thing you need to build is the O/S and not data, and visa versa, and problems with the DATA drive doesnt effect the O/S drive.

5-10 years is pushing it a bit far for any hardware, i mostly spec servers for 3-5 years. and if i get any more life out of them then its a bonus.

dont use near-line SAS, try to go for SAS, SATA is ok but data transfer on the RIAD bus can be slower the SAS RIAD bus.

Author Comment

ID: 34912854
OK, but the R515 only have Near-line SAS! ;-( And SATA. In this case you suggest me to go with SATA 15K RPM 600G but the size is low!?

The 10 years goal is only a gold but thier actual IBM xSerie file server have aleready working for 7-8 years.

Expert Comment

ID: 34913661
If this is just a file server then disk performance is not an issue unless you are running SQL databases or some other disk i/o intensive applications. With only 60 users there should not be too much demand.
I would recommend using NIC teaming to get the best network performance - this will provide faster access to files and better network backup performance.
If you are looking for maximum uptime, then go RAID6, but most servers have pre-emptive monitoring and will alert you to any potential drive failures BEFORE they happen.

Accepted Solution

Ferrosti earned 500 total points
ID: 34914685
First of all you do not need that much RAM and no 8 cores in total.
The only thing your OS needs to do is permission checks on the users/files and a little SMB.

One important thing to take into consideration is the way users work on these files. In case they have lots of I/O in sort of DB access, CAD work directly on the files on this server, etc. you´ll need a good I/O based solution. Go for 15k drives then.
In case the file server is used for storing data, get it local (RAM on client, etc.) and then store it back, you´d even make it with 7.2k drives even on this amount of users.

You should always use one RAID array for OS and another one for data. So go for 2x36GB drives in RAID1 for OS and another array for data storage.
For storage you should rather take many, but smaller disks to get the sum of storage required. This has an impact on the MTBF over all, since in a large array it is more likely that a drive may fail than in a small one. But I/O is better with many drives.
I´d suggest to go for a RAID6 with another hot spare and take as many disks as possible. So in case you have 8 bays, you´ll have 2 for RAID1 (OS) and 6 for RAID6. RAID6 takes 2 disks for parity and in my example another one for hot spare (in this little scenario I´d even drop the hot spare due to RAID6). The remaining 3 disks are left for calculation of your storage RAID. Since you need at least 4GB you should go for 3x1.5TB or 2TB drives adding the same for hot spare and parity.
In case of 16 bays you´d have 14 left for storage, minus 3 for parity and hot spare. 5TB / 11 disks is 500GB disks each.

Since you wrote about RAID5 (please rather go for RAID6) you definitely should take a hot spare any case.

Author Comment

ID: 34916328
Thanks for reply master... This file serveur do not have very intensive DB acces (onlye on access DB) but like you said 8-10 user work with solidworks CAD file directly on the server (PDM work are not fonctionnal yet).

I reconfigure a new serveur with only one AMD Opteron™ 4130, 4C 2.6GHz, 3M L2/6M L3 and 4G ram

But for the HDD, Dell make me go nuts!
- I can add 2 smaller disque in SAS raid1
but for the real size if I whant to add somr 10K or 15K a must take SATA 600G in raid 5 i got only 2.2TB with one spare, no space for expension. I can change the Base for a that support 12 Disk but the 15K are not cheap and i will need 9 + 1 spare to have my 4TB min
The only way i cant acheive 4TB at low cost is to take the near-line SAS 2TB 7200RPM at the same price of a SATA 600G 15K.

Expert Comment

ID: 34925748
As I already wrote you will not need 15k drives. Access is merely something I´d classify as a DB though it pretends to be.
Another option could be to buy a storage extension and connect it via SCSI, iSCSI, Fibre Channel or whatever you prefer to the server.
Since you stick to Dell, you should have a look at their 'PowerVault MD 1200'. Take one like these and attach it straight to your server.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 35347086

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