10 Replies Latest reply on Jul 25, 2009 6:28 PM by FluffyBear

    What would be suggested for least latency high performance Mac server?

    BradMacPro

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      What would be suggested for least latency high performance Mac server?

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      Is there load sharing among two servers? I'm thinking hardware RAID 5 to 15,000 rpm SAS hard drives and dual 10 Gb/sec networking in a 8 core 2009 Apple xServe. 15+ simultaneous Mac & PC users. 90 GB primary database. Have a serious budget to replace a Windows server and want to offer the best possible experience to avoid a bottleneck like at 5 PM when everyone signs off and writes final changes for the day at the same time. Also planning on hardware RAID with 1.5 TB 7200 rpm SATA drives for related files and backup.

        • 1. Re: What would be suggested for least latency high performance Mac server?
          FluffyBear
            

          Never, ever... in a million years.... use RAID 5!

           

          My workplace is setup with RAID 5, you have no idea how much headache that thing cause me :(.  Either do RAID 1, or if you have the budget and tech, go for 10, then ya get the benefit of RAID 1 and 0.  But never RAID 5 anything production, esp if your primary concern is the speed.

           

          We're looking to upgrade our system to a similar config,  2009 XServe with the SSD drive for boot, 12GB RAM, and 2 15K 450GB SAS in RAID 1 for production data.  It should give a pretty good performance from what we have right now.  

           

          In all, technically the 15K RPM SAS is not even the best possible option.  If you have the $$$,  look into trying to get a solid state system for the data storage portion.  Look at the performance chart on the Ocz Vertex or Intel X25-E,  they both totally leave any spinning drive so far behind that it's not even funny...  I'm still waiting for Apple to offer a 6 SSD X-Serve configuration :( 

           

          Load on filemaker have not been an issue from my experience with it.  We got 55GB data, about 20-30 millions records.  The CPU is not heavily impacted by pure FM client interaction.  The problem is when you try to get mass amount of data that require calculation and summarization.  At that point the drive I/O is what's been killing us.  The CPU does spike to about 250% in our dual core2 duo XServe 08.  But I think most of that is actually just a lot of I/O spin lock time.  We service about 30 users,  regular load is about 20%/400%.  With the quad core XServe and a decent amount of RAM, you're not going to be bottlenecked by the memory or processor.

          • 2. Re: What would be suggested for least latency high performance Mac server?
            MikeyG79
              

            All the servers we put out are either RAID 1 (with dedicated hotspare) or RAID10.

             

            Start logging with what you have and watch the CPU and drive access - base what you need off of that. I've noticed more improvement in speed running on the client on a faster PC than upgrading the server. 

            • 3. Re: What would be suggested for least latency high performance Mac server?
              BradMacPro
                 Thanks for both contributions. I always perceived the importance of the client machines performance. I'm not sure I trust the durability of SSD drives.
              • 4. Re: What would be suggested for least latency high performance Mac server?
                etripoli
                  

                Here's a suggestion from Tom's Hardware on 'short stroking' hard drives.  You can achieve higher performance compared to SSD.

                 

                http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/short-stroking-hdd,2157.html

                • 5. Re: What would be suggested for least latency high performance Mac server?
                  FluffyBear
                    

                  There's a lot of SSDs out there, and most aren't that good, I'll be the first to admit that.  That's why I specifically said either the Orz Vertex EX or Intel X25-E line.  They're both SLC and rated for the enterprise usage,  basically also around the same price at $1300 for a 120GB.  Like all other things,SSD do eventually died, but because of the lack of moving part, they're as good as anything spinning you can get when it come to random death.  The big question is the rewrite rate, at a certain point they do all died,  the SSD natural death is a little more graceful than when a spinner just don't boot anymore...  Plus, if you're doing enterprise level stuff and got the money, it only need to last ya maybe 2-3 years max anyway. :)  The tom's hardware article is a little misleading,  it's doing sequencial a lot, it's the random access that really count when you're doing a lot of DB stuffs and things are at ten million different places.   The onboard BIOS for the SSD can affect this in a very very big way,  the Ocz original BIOS suck,but they fixed it and now it's a very good performer,  Intel never had that problem to start with.

                   

                   

                  • 6. Re: What would be suggested for least latency high performance Mac server?
                    BradMacPro
                       So a RAID 10 of Intel X25-E drives...? The Intel web site only shows 32 and 64 GB models and google shopping seems to agree, no 120 GB model. The X25-M comes in 160 GB size, but that is a MLC Mainstream drive. By the way newegg.com has the 64 GB Extreme for $669. The OCZ Vertex EX on the other hand, will come in 120 GB size. Apparently not shipping yet. My client didn't seem enthused when I said I was looking into SSDs. Perhaps I need a serious example of a provider who uses them, not just some build-your-own and hope for the best mashup. Any ideas there? and thanks. And why RAID 10 and not RAID 0+1, mirrored striped sets.
                    • 7. Re: What would be suggested for least latency high performance Mac server?
                      BradMacPro
                         Seems to be a problem finding a good hardware RAID card certified for use with SSDs. No real help on the OCZ forums. Seems SSDs are so fast, that a RAID card could overheat and you can bump up to the 8 GB/sec limit of a 8x PCI Express slot capabilities.
                      • 8. Re: What would be suggested for least latency high performance Mac server?
                        FluffyBear
                          

                        For DB handling, I actually don't think the RAID issue play as large a part since we're doing massive random IO instead of sequencial.  There was a really good random IO test on one of the review for the Orz Vertex where regular spinners like the WD Veloci Raptor came in at around 0.8MB/s , and the Orz Vertex MLC version got tuned to where it can do 2.5MB.  I can attest that as being pretty accurate,  a few years ago I tried to move 1.2M small graphic files from an image collection.  It took over a day, and then I quit because I couldn't wait for it anymore...   When you're doing DB IO,  you're virtually never going to go anywhere near RAID channel saturation unless you're doing a lot of very large full table scan.  The main thing keeping SSDs back for a lot of production usage is the cost rather than the maturity of the technology.  There is a massive premiums at an extra 400% on the price tag for the 50-100% performance increase.

                         

                        At work, I've started rolling out MLC drives for boot on XServe and as main drive on web servers.  No money for Vertex EX yet for our DB :( 

                        • 9. Re: What would be suggested for least latency high performance Mac server?
                          BradMacPro
                             I need RAID only because I have more data than SSD hard drive capacity, not to mention for backup when the drive fails. Why are you trusting the MLC SSD instead of the SLC enterprise rated drives?
                          • 10. Re: What would be suggested for least latency high performance Mac server?
                            FluffyBear
                              

                            Our budget right now isn't large enough for SLC, plus, these are processing & web servers and not data servers.  Even if I had the budget, I don't think I would ever put SLC into processing servers just because it cost more.  The big difference between MLC and SLC is the re-write values.  We're using these on CentOS web servers that get restart once every 6+ months and pretty much all they do is just read a few web page files then do a whole lot of DB access and crunchings.  All my caches, sessions are set to go into memory, logging is going on a dedicated syslog server (or I can always add a cheapie 320GB WD Caviar Black).  In 2 years they'll still be virtually brand new,  physical hardware failures aside from the re-write issue is the same as any enterprise drive.

                             

                            Orz Vertex 30GB cost $150,  a pair of WD Caviar Black cost $160,  a pair of WD Velociraptor would cost $560...  I figured the single SSD would give me about the same headache as spinner in RAID 1,  and the cost a lot less than a pair of WD Velociraptor.  Not to mention it's 2 watts compared to about 12-16 for the raptors.

                             

                            Using a single vertex, I got our Core2 Quad 2.83Ghz 12MB Cache with 8 GB RAM processing servers to run at around 0.47 Amps idle and around 0.8 Amps on full.  We got nearly a full racks worth of servers...  Those little extra watts started adding up if you don't measure them with the number of servers we're running.