Denvas

HD Newbie: What's the best drive/drive options for SQL Server 2k5+

Recommended Posts

I'm in the market to put together an awesome PC. Besides RAM, Chipset, etc - I need to know what drives or drives + configurations are simply the best if I have SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005 (2-4 different instances), Photoshop and Outlook all running at the same time.

But since I'm also into gaming, and use Tracktion, and ToonTrack (multi-track music production). What would the best balance be for me?

So far, I'm thinking of either the Western Digital Raptor WD1500 or the Fujitsu MAU3147NP, or both. This, of course, based on the reviews on this site. Since some of those reviews were months ago - is there anything newer, and faster? SCSI or no SCSI - pertaining to my own personal situation? Or is there a new tech that I don't know about yet?

Final question - I know there's A LOT of discussion about the different types of RAID's out there; but according to my situation, which would be best, with which drives, and do I even need RAID at all? Speed is definitely an issue - so the faster the better (boot up time, query times, application compiling, multi-track recording, and killer games LOL).

Thanks ahead of time, and I really appreciate any opinions and the reasons for those opinions, that'd be great - so I can learn along the way :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For absolute performance, I would suggest that you consider RAID 1+0 over just RAID 0. Also, please note that RAID 0+1 is not the same as RAID 1+0.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AMD,

That is some serious a**kicking rig!!!!!!

A bit intimidating for a hardware newbie like me, though LOL.

I can't find the Xeon 3070 for over 2.66 Ghz - overclocked, right? And since you own it, I'm assuming it's better than the AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ or any AMD product, correct? Or should I wait for Quads?

I was thinking of buying the Silverstone TJ09 as my case. It holds only 6 drives it seems. So would you think 2 arrays of 3 raptors will suffice my need for speed?

The response you gave for the RAID 1+0 - was that agreement or sarcasm. I'm really new to the whole Raid thing, and will have to do research; but would definitely appreciate the right direction - since you OBVIOUSLY know what you are doing. What RAID type are you using?

Thanks a mil,

Denvas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you care about your data or not?

How much do you want to spend? If you havnt checked yet, the Areca controllers are not cheap but you pay for what you get.

If you have good backups I would suggest this: 2 x Raptor in R0 for boot, 1 x Raptor for Apps/games, 3 x Raptors in R0 for SQL/Audio/etc stuff. Thats just a simple answer to your questions.

I am using RAID0 on everything since I backup to my redundant server very often. I do not keep anything on my R0 storage that I do not backup or that I care about.

Yes, the 3070 is the highest Xeon right now. I have had better luck overclocking the 3070 then the 6700; 3.8Ghz. All of the Intel C2D/Xeon is much better then the X2s from AMD. You can get a Kentsfield quad core but they are still crazy expensive, >$1200!

And yes, sarcasm flows from the skies when bs rises from the depths of the earth. :lol::P I will test some configs out tonight and prove my point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, that's pretty much exactly what I was looking for.

One last quick question, the 1280ML is a 24 port controller. But since I'm only going to have a max of 6 drives - would the 1220 suffice at 256MB (8 ports)?

If I understand this just a lil bit - if I have 3 Raptors @ 150GB in Raid 0, then it shows up as one drive at 150GB. So then I really only need a 500GB (450) back up drive for all the drives, correct? (OK, that was 2 questions LOL).

Again, I really appreciate all the help here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When using RAID 0 you lose zero space. So 3 x 150GB drives will give you something like 400GB of usable space. Yes you can use the 1220 but it uses an older Intel IOP333 which means it will max out at about 400MB/sec. That is fine if you have a max of 4-5 drives in RAID 0. If you are going to use more then that, you will hit the limit of the card and you will not gain any performance over the limit of 400MB/sec. So, just keep that in mind. You will not see anywhere near the numbers of the benchmark you were looking at.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks again. Man, I must sound like a dolt LOL.

I think I'm just going to save a lil bit more, and go the full distance with the raid card. Then save a lil more, and get a hefty storage drive for the data and apps. Don't much care about the boot - could always reinstall Windows.

You rock, dude. I know exactly what to do now!

Merry X-Mas!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For absolute performance, I would suggest that you consider RAID 1+0 over just RAID 0. Also, please note that RAID 0+1 is not the same as RAID 1+0.

yeah..right. :unsure::rolleyes:

So you would recommend that he run 6 or 8 drives in RAID 0?? :blink: Give me a break.

Sure, it might actually technically be faster than RAID 1+0, but your chance of data loss goes up significantly.

Since he's running SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005, along with Photoshop, I'm going to make the wild assumption that he's actually going to be doing development at home, along with playing games, so he actually would care about losing all his data. ;)B)

Edited by Trinary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, I didnt not recommend using 6-8 drives in a RAID 0 array. From what you said "For absolute performance, I would suggest that you consider RAID 1+0 over just RAID 0" I think that is not to be true. If you took 6 drives and make an array in RAID 0, it would be faster then 6 drives of a RAID 1+0 array. You claim that to be false, correct? After a little bit, I will do testing of this theory and make sure I am correct in my statement.

About losing data, I would hope that I made it clear that RAID 0 is by no means the place to store critical data. From what I gathered, it sounds like he is willing to take a little bit more risk to reap the performance benefits. From my own person experience, if one is to keep a drive cool and properly installed, drive will last longer them if they are not. I currently have 20 drives in a RAID 0 set as well as a set of 15 drives in RAID 0. On those arrays, I have nothing of any importance or nothing that isnt backed on up elsewhere. All I can say is that I have had good luck with properly cooled and mounted drives.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No, I didnt not recommend using 6-8 drives in a RAID 0 array. From what you said "For absolute performance, I would suggest that you consider RAID 1+0 over just RAID 0" I think that is not to be true. If you took 6 drives and make an array in RAID 0, it would be faster then 6 drives of a RAID 1+0 array. You claim that to be false, correct? After a little bit, I will do testing of this theory and make sure I am correct in my statement.

About losing data, I would hope that I made it clear that RAID 0 is by no means the place to store critical data. From what I gathered, it sounds like he is willing to take a little bit more risk to reap the performance benefits. From my own person experience, if one is to keep a drive cool and properly installed, drive will last longer them if they are not. I currently have 20 drives in a RAID 0 set as well as a set of 15 drives in RAID 0. On those arrays, I have nothing of any importance or nothing that isnt backed on up elsewhere. All I can say is that I have had good luck with properly cooled and mounted drives.

If you'll look at my previous post, I acknowledge that RAID 0 may exhibit small speed advantages over RAID 1+0, while pointing out that the chances for data loss go up quite significantly due to the increased number of drives involved.

Maybe I should have said "For absolute performance considering the importance of your data", but I didn't think I really needed to go to that level of detail considering the audience here. :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys. I've definitely learned a bunch here.

I'm definitely going for speed. I am a hardware newbie, but I've been a computer programmer/dba for years. I back everything I have nightly anyways, including apps and their registry settings. So basically, whatever goes down, can be up in no time.

I'm just sick of working, and my computer bogging down on me. I must have 3-4 monster apps running at the same time - it's just part of the job. And I'm just looking to build a system that won't delay me in the middle of a time-sensitive project (as well as stress me out). But on my own time, I'm a musician, and I need a speedy computer for music projects as well.

I love amdoverclocker2's set up, and I'm going to attempt to build a very mini version of it LOL. That thing just looks like it crrranks!

Edited by Denvas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm just sick of working, and my computer bogging down on me. I must have 3-4 monster apps running at the same time - it's just part of the job. And I'm just looking to build a system that won't delay me in the middle of a time-sensitive project (as well as stress me out). But on my own time, I'm a musician, and I need a speedy computer for music projects as well.

I love amdoverclocker2's set up, and I'm going to attempt to build a very mini version of it LOL. That thing just looks like it crrranks!

Hmnn, I really don't want to rain on your parade, and if that PC setup will make you happy then go for it... But having said that, I think you're doing yourself a disservice here.

First off, running an instance of SQL Server 2005 for development is not heavy on the disks. It requires loads of RAM and some CPU time, but not much more. If you're actually running with fully populated databases, ie. lots of active data, then you'll need fast disks - but then you probably can't make a workstation PC fast enough anyway. Another thing is, even if you make a workstation that offers superb performance, then it'll be superbly noisy as well. 2-5 WD Raptors make quite a lot of noise; then you add fans to keep everything cool and it get's worse. To each his own, but I couldn't work next to a PC like that.

Bottom line, the _only_ meaningful setup that I can see is to move the SQL Server to a devel server on the LAN. This could be a small PC with a single harddisk and 1 GiB RAM, placed somewhere outside of your office (to keep your workspace quiet), and fully remote accessed / managed. I like to use virtualization here (VMWare, maybe the new Virtual PC), as it makes it simple to move my staging 'servers' to other hardware, and simplifies the setup.

There is no need to keep separate disk systems for Visual Studio and your audio work. Just leave them be on the same spindles, when you're working with the one then the other will be off, and vice versa.

There are two things that I know to truly help when using heavy development/test environments: Loads of RAM, and a dual-core CPU. The dual-core will make Windows more 'snappy' when there are many tasks running in parallel, and loads of RAM are simply required for performance / avoiding swapping (especially when using virtualization).

I just helped a friend build a PC for much the same use as yours. We ended up on 2 * 7200 RPM WD harddisks (JBOD, not in RAID), a 2.4GHz'ish Core 2 dual CPU, and 4 GiBs of RAM. This is about the upper limit on hardware before the prices get unreasonable. So another perspective is if your software doesn't fit comfortably inside hardware like this, then it's probably cheaper to split your software out over multiple networked PCs than getting a bigger single PC.

HTH

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you can find it, the Areca ARC-1231 only has 12 ports, but allows you to upgrade the default cache from 256MB to 1-2GB. It also comes with the faster Intel IOP341 chip.

Put all of the drives into a single array on the Areca card. RAID 0, 0+1, 5, 6 all depend on how much drive reliability you need. With 6 drives, I would use the RAID 6. If nothing critical older than a few hours will be on it, then RAID 0 for however many drives is fine.

I hate breaking arrays into multiple volume sets, but sometimes you need to, to avoid some serious fragmentation issues with certain programs. Look at what you're using and divide appropriately.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now