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What raid configuration is best for a FoxPro database?

Posted on 2011-10-27
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My ERP program is written in Foxpro and it dawned on me that the RAID configuration may affect performance of the database. Are there any special considerations when hosting a Foxpro database on a server?

Approximately 100 users
Database size 4.2 GB
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Question by:timamartin
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Olaf Doschke earned 2000 total points
ID: 37038113
I'd say LAN will be the limiting factor mostly with that much users and the LAN throughput per user can't be optimised with better hdd performance on the file server side. What bandwidth do you have there? 100Mbit and even 1GBit means a single hdd is faster than the LAN anyway. Besides the file server system cache helps much better than a fast raid, as it's in RAM.

With a size of 4.2 GB, file caching of the server OS may even keep most of the database in RAM memory. While Foxpro itself is 32bit, a 64bit file server can adress more than 4GB RAM to cache all your database files.

You should be aware of the oplock problem, though, which is the default for the modern server OSes. While it's meant for better performance, it does so by putting caching to clients, as long as only one client accesses a file. That is not a typical scenario for database access and means a penalty, once a second user accesses the same table being cached at some other client. It's recommended to avoid it: http://www.dataaccess.com/whitepapers/opportunlockingreadcaching.html#Data_Access_Worldwide_Recommendations

Bye, Olaf.
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by:timamartin
ID: 37038196
Most are 1GBit there may be a few stragglers still but not more than 2 or 3.
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by:Olaf Doschke
Olaf Doschke earned 2000 total points
ID: 37041147
In regard of hdd bus architectures:
Desktop/Server: SATA is at 1.5, 3.0 and even 6.0 Gbit/s busses.
Server: SAS bus bandwith goes up to 12 GBit/s via dual channel.

You don't need SSD to get higher than the reference 1Gbit/s LAN speed, even with a single hdd drive. 1Gbit/s is a transfer rate of 125 MB/s, which can be achieved by SAS drives.

If you need faster, check out - http://www.fastestssd.com/featured/ssd-rankings-the-fastest-solid-state-drives/#pcie

Thus RAID would just be interesting performancewise, if you do local data processing, for any LAN client, the 1 Gbit/s bandwidth is the limiting bottleneck.

You can of course higher the availability and reliabilty with RAID, especially with hot swappable drives. I'd still recommend RAID 10 in that respect or RAID 1 for just the reliability.

Bye, Olaf.
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by:pcelba
ID: 37043855
I have to agree RAID 10 is fast and reliable (and the most expensive variant). RAID 5 is reliable but slow on writes. RAID 0 is fast but not reliable at all.

An important information is the application architecture and topology. How do you access your app and data?

You may use the server just as a file server, you may use terminal services, you may create a COM object for each user on the server etc.

Also temporary files location can affect the application speed.
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