Advice for Upgrading My Win2000 / SQL2000 Server with SSD

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I'm looking for advice on how best to upgrade my SQL server's disk IO. I'm running SQL Server 2000 on Windows 2000 Adv Server, so whatever solution I use should be compatible.

I'd like to rebuild the server onto an 8-core dual-e5420 machine (Supermicro X7DCA-L motherboard) but at present I'm hardly utilizing the Q6600 proc, so seems to me that the database disk IO bottleneck is probably the speed-limiting factor of the whole cluster (1 DB Server + 3 Webservers and growing). The database workload consists of ~1200 SQL Server Databases (2400 DB files including transaction logs), 17 GB total database files, powering ~600 Social Networking websites (similar to facebook) so lots of random reads and writes.

For the new machine, my plan is to put the OS and daily db backups on the hard drive, and use a SSD to hold just the database files. I've got some Highpoint RocketRaid 3120 cards sitting around, and while I'm not thrilled about them they are already paid for. So here are some options I've considered so far:

1 x OCZ Vertex 30GB (OCZSSD2-1VTX30GXXX) - $80 after mail-in rebate at newegg right now

2 x OCZ Vertex 30GB, using one of the RocketRaid Cards - $185 ($80 + $105 after rebate)

1 x Intel X25-M 80GB - $215

2 x Intel X25-M 80GB, using one of the RocketRaid Cards - $430

1 x OCZ Z-Drive m84 256GB PCIe - $1020 (Would probably require buying a 3U case and possibly be incompatible with the motherboard as it's not listed on the motherboard compatibility list)

Also I've considered investing in a better RAID card if the RR 3120 turns out to be a performance limitation. From what little I've found on this card it seems to have a practical limit of around 150 MB/s.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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You sound a little unsure about whether disk I/O is your current bottleneck. Have you analyzed the database traffic to see how many read requests vs. write requests there are? Do you know how many requests per second your database handles?

From what I've seen around, if there are a lot of reads going on, you may be able to solve that with more RAM, but I don't know enough about the guts of SQL Server to give you a definitive answer.

It looks like there is a lot of info going around. SQL Server Central apparently just started a series of articles around SSDs:

I guess that last thing that I would be worried about, especially with the older OS, is how the drives in your short list handle their wear-leveling.

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If there are many writes (which is very probably the case for you) you might want to consider a SLC SSD instead of a MLC due to better longevity. The Intel X25-E is an option, but there are others (e.g. from OCZ). I'd rather want to go with one quality & high speed SSD than 2 cheaper ones in Raid. Especially if the raid card is limited to 150 MB/s. Native SATA2 ports on an Intel Chipset deliver almost twice this amount.

And as Parrot said: doing some more performance profiling would go a long way towards making an informed buying decision. Could be that the CPU upgrade doesn't help you in any way, but that the storage subsystem is vitally important.

Edit: Win 2k Server surely doesn't support TRIM and probably won't do so in the future. You could schedule manual clean ups with utilities from some manufacturers (if the SSD is not part of a RAID) and / or choose one which is rather resilient to performance degradation over time (see recent X25-V in Raid 0 test at Anandtech).


Edited by [ETA]MrSpadge

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