Storage suggestions

Posted on 2011-10-20
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Looking for some advice, pointers, or caveats that I may not be aware of.

Our current issue.
We have bottlenecks in our network. we had gig switches and teamed network on our server. we have a 6tb direct attached storage that does about 500mb read/write locally. We have windows 2003 server which host the storage. our storage is 14 x 600GB sas drives in a raid 50.

We have about 50 workstations reading hundreds/thousands of small files then creating an image or video and writing it back to the storage. We have 40 users reading and writing files from their workstations to the same storage.

With prefmon i found that we had saturated our network and then sometimes our disk queue.

We had dell analyze our network. They offered us a equaligic solution. Basically 2 servers with vmware. Two 10gige switches and their san storage.

We are currently working with HP and IBM.

Any recommendations on what to get from dell, hp, or IBM. We would love to consider supermicro or building out the system with other technologies.

Question by:entourage714
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 37004085
A 14 drive RAID50?  Of course it is slow. RAID50 is awful for transactional performance.  

Author Comment

ID: 37004089
we dont have any sql or exchange servers. its just a file server. you still recommend raid 10?
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 37004109
With 50 workstations, the bulk of your I/O will be 4KB in size.  But with a RAID50, you probably have to do 512KB or more per write I/O, due to block factor, RAID 5 penalty, and journaling.  A pair of RAID1s will provide twice as much random and small block I/O performance then a 4-disk RAID10.  
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Author Comment

ID: 37004111
so how much improvement do you think we could get going from raid 50 to raid 10, because we lose a lot in storage size. will we get 50% speed improvements?
LVL 47

Accepted Solution

David earned 2000 total points
ID: 37004302
There is no way to tell you for sure, because it depends on the specifics of your I/O mix.  "Speed" has two components, throughput and I/Os per second.  They are mutually exclusive.  Optimize for one and the other suffers.

If your NTFS is set to do I/O in 4KB chunks, but your RAID50 is doing it in 256KB chunks, or 1MB chunks, as example, then obviously it would be a major improvement, but even then, what if all 12 disks were running through a single 3Gbit/sec pipe, then you wouldn't see any gain at all.

Just saying that you could easily quadruple random I/Os per second by reconfiguring the storage, at the cost of capacity.   I'd buy a pair of disks, put them in RAID1 and move the smaller files that have most random I/O to that, and you'll see a difference.

LVL 56

Expert Comment

ID: 37007041
On top of what dlethe suggests why not just add more disk spindles so you can convert to RAID 10 and upgrade the network to 10Gb on the server?

I can't see how Equallogic would be any faster or better than what you already have (but expanded) since you aren't looking dor shared storage. What is the current server and DAS? Surely not IBM DAS and HP server or vice versa? that makes support hard.

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