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Budget RAID setup for database

Posted on 2015-02-04
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Last Modified: 2016-12-08
I am toying with the idea of upgrading our database server, its not really a proper database such as SQL, more of an old database with records stored in individual files, currently its just over a million records.
The server is an Intel Quad 2.4GHz, Server 2003 x 32 with 4GB.
Now its on an Adaptec 2405 running RAID10 with 4 drives.
Performance seem ok, but everytime the software manufacture upgrade their server modules, it will slow down, this can go on for months until they accept liability and fix the software, but in the meantime, blame the hardware for loss of performance.
I am thinking of upgrading the server to a faster Quad or even dual Quad (when upgrade to SBS2011), but with the RAID card (ie. 580x), I plan to use RAID10 still, but would a better card with 512MB cache boost performance by a huge margin ? The drives I have in mind are the RE4 1TB x 4, I thought about using 8 x 15K SAS 300GB on RAID6 to give the protection, performance as well as value for money, but a bit throw back by the rebuild time should one of them playing up.
The server currently running on UPS with 30-40 mins backup time, but I guess a RAID battery backupis a must also.

So my questions is :
1. RAID6 or RAID10x4
2. Would cache make any difference on RAID10 ?
3. Any other bottleneck I should be aware of ?

What would you guys suggest ?
Thanks
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Question by:Combemartin
7 Comments
 
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Assisted Solution

by:Sajid Shaik M
Sajid Shaik M earned 664 total points
ID: 40588320
Greetings,

it seems in your issue the proper DB application as you have over million of records...(the important thing is what kind of records accessing through the network? ) is it simple data, high resolution images, compressed files... etc.

and about the upgrade software modules... and as u have huge records ... may be the indexing is not properly working... so check in this as well..

and RE4 is 7200 RPM...

best idea is Raid 10 speed as well as redundancy..

all the best
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by:Dirk Mare
ID: 40588459
I have to agree with the previous comment, RAID 10 above all else..

512Mb cache for the controller is more then enough.. RAID battery backup is a must

do you have gigabit network on all devices and server?

Also consider adding a extra NIC to your server and setup NIC teaming for extra performance..

DirkMare
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Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 668 total points
ID: 40588476
Why not mirror a couple of SSDs?  FAR Faster than RAID 10/15K RPM.  And it should shut the vendor up about hardware performance.
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:Dirk Mare
ID: 40588490
SSD is indeed a very good option, look at "Write Endurance Rating" of the SSD before purchasing..

DirkMare
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Author Comment

by:Combemartin
ID: 40588650
Thanks all,

Lee - There is no way to shut the vendor up, with each upgrade they put on, the server will slow down to a crawl, so giving them SSD may make the first upgrade seem faster, but the next one ? there will be no more upgrade path to speed things up.
Also the cost of the setup, currently usage is almost 1.3TB and growing by around 1-5GB a week.
they advise against SSD as their database hammers the drives like mad, giving the life span of each drive, I would be surprised if they can last more than 6 months.

Shaik - I am a database guy and I have told them for years they need to move to SQL, but their development team is either stupid but clueless, they just cant make it work, its an 20 year old system and unless its 100% working, I would rather they stay with what is now than a faster one breaking down every 2 days.

Dirk - It is Gigabit setup, may be one or two stations running 100 as no way to upgrade them, I thought about NIC teaming but as its 2003, implementing it seem like a lot of work.

As RAID10 is direct read/write, do the extra cache actually do anything to enhance performance ?
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Accepted Solution

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Dirk Mare earned 668 total points
ID: 40588686
Most server manufactures (Dell, HP and IBM) have their own utilities/software for creating the teaming in windows. Its not a lot of work and it makes big difference..

Some quick googling I found this...
The cache on the controller is not used to store frequently accessed data. The cache serves two purposes. It stores the current array configuration, and it acts as a buffer for data transmission.

Without cache the controller has to stop the flow of data until the drive has acknowledged that it is ready to receive. The controller will then receive the data from the OS and forward it on to the drive to be written. This process is very fast(microseconds) and can hardly be noticed.

Cache allows the controller to go ahead and receive data from the OS and place it into cache memory if the drive is not ready for it at that time.

Cache is the reason most RAID controllers are backed up by a battery. If there is a power loss and there is no battery backup to retain the cache memory then all of that data sitting in cache would be lost and cause file corruption. If the cache is backed up by a battery then the controller will complete writing that data to the drives when the drives come back online.

DirkMare
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Author Closing Comment

by:Combemartin
ID: 40588801
Thanks everyone for your help.
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