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SAS or SSD

Posted on 2014-02-14
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Last Modified: 2014-02-15
I am setting up a File Server using HP ML10 Server with LSI MegaRAID SATA/SAS 9260-4i Controller. I was originally thinking about three Seagate 600GB 15K SAS HDs doing RAID 5 plus 1 hot spare. But then I noticed that SSD drives have become a lot more affordable, although 600GB SAS is only $300.

Anyway this file server is for 4 users running Word/Excel/MS Access database app/IE - very light and typical use. I plan on setting up Windows Server 2012 with a couple of Virtual Machines (SBS2011 and Terminal Server running Windows 2008 R2). Also I am going to have users connect to the Terminal Server from their desktop so that all the apps run from the Terminal Server which is in Hyper-V environment/Windows Server 2012.

That said, Is that worth going with SSD over SAS?
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Question by:sglee
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LVL 47

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David earned 632 total points
ID: 39860227
You are under the assumption that SAS & SSD are mutually exclusive.  One can  purchase a SSD that uses a SAS interface.

But that won't protect against data loss.  All HDDs & SSDs die, eventually, and all eventually get unrecoverable read errors.

Why not just 2 SAS HDDs but use RAID1 instead?  You will get at least twice the overall performance in the real world of a RAID5 just because of the write penalty.

Be sure to get the SAS HDDs that have the HP firmware on them.  Not just any one will work right. DOn't use SATA if you can help it.
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LVL 18

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by:Andrej Pirman
Andrej Pirman earned 628 total points
ID: 39860276
Hmmm....
I would strongly advice AGAINST using minimalistic RAID 5 for anything, but pure file storage! RAID 5 with just 3 disks won't do any good in case something goes wrong, so spend few bucks for 1 additional drive and build up RAID 10 with 4 HDD + 1 SPARE.

I'd use 600GB SAS 15k for those, and plan to use it as STORAGE for files.

Then, as Dlethe suggested, I'd buy 2 SSD disks, build up additional RAId 1 array, might be of 100GB of size, not more, and put host system on them. Terminal server will gain with it.
Just be aware NOT to buy cheap SSD for PC! If you have $$$, buy SERVER SSD, if not, use at least Samsung PRO series, OCZ Vertex or similar, in higher PC segment.

Do not forget to use enough RAM, say 2GB per remote user + 12 GB for system at least. More RAM = better.
Configure RAM according to mainboard channels, might be 3 or 4 channels, so if you go with 32 GB for start, buy 4 x 8 GB if you use 4 channels, or 6 x 8 GB if you use 3 channels. It's called Performance mode, so in each RAM cycle all R/W requests are answered (no empty responses from RAM controller due to empty slots).


Regarding OS, remember TS is resource hungry, and SBS is a known slow horse. Configure all possible swap files, temp files, Exchange and SQL LOGS to be saved on fast SSD disk array.
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 39860411
The Proliant ML10 server has only four HD bays. So if I do raid 10, then I can't have a hot spare. I prefer Raid 1, but then not sure if all the data will fit and have enough space left for TS. I am getting 32 memory, so no worry there.
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 39860797
On the other hand, I guess I can do RAID 10 using 4 HDs and just keep a spare near the File Server.
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