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Old 11-25-2004, 07:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Lightbulb Advice building a very powerful server

Hi guys,
Me and a friend are starting a project and we need to build a server. This server will most likely run Apache on Linux and its primary goal is to retrieve data from a HUGE database of more than 2 billion records. We are trying to keep costs down, but won't mind spending a bit more on quality reliable parts.

We need a system that is extremely reliable with 99.9% uptime if possible.
For the hard drive, we are planning on using a Maxtor 300GB ATA-133 w/ 16MB cache (about $200 USD). We are either going to use this by itself, or are going to use two of them with a RAID-0 setup netting us about 600GB.
Is this a good hard drive(s) to use together or by itself? We want the ability to execute queries to the database and return results in less than a second.
Will the ATA-133 be too limiting to accomplish this task? Are there other hard drives within a reasonable price range that would be faster?

Also, what would be the best motherboard to use? Would it be better to get a RAID controller or use a motherboard with an onboard one?
As far as processor goes, would you suggest AMD or Intel? I would prefer a processor with true multi-threading abilties. Would going with a dual-processor motherboard be overly expensive?

Other than that, the server doesn't need to be doing anything else except be very reliable.
So please, I would really appreciate any suggestions for products to use or even if there are better solutions that we could look into.

Thank you,
Adam
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Old 11-25-2004, 08:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Dual Xeons would do very good, and that's all I know about servers.
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Old 11-26-2004, 03:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
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This seems like a very important project. Is speed very critical? Will there be lots of mathematics in the process? ATA-133 is a bit slow if you want results in less than a second. Will this server need a lot of HDD space?

This is what I suggest:
Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduc...182-011&depa=1
2xCPU: http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduc...117-025&depa=1
2xHDD: http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduc...116-129&depa=1
If you want: http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduc...112-052&depa=1
Video Card: http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduc...130-165&depa=1
NIC: http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduc...106-202&depa=5
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Old 11-26-2004, 11:32 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Is this a good hard drive(s) to use together or by itself?
I would use a RAID 0 array if you want a lot of reliability.

Quote:
Are there other hard drives within a reasonable price range that would be faster?
SCSI hard drives can be fairly pricey but are extremely fast.

Quote:
Would it be better to get a RAID controller or use a motherboard with an onboard one?
If you get a motherboard that already had it, then you might as well use it, rather than having to spend more money.

Also, if you wanted hyperthreading, then Intel is the only CPU that supports it.
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Old 11-26-2004, 01:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The motherboard Musjunk22 linked wont work with those processors, you see the processors are 800mhz fsb and the board only supports up to 533mhz. I would get 2 of these in Raid 0 nothing will stop you- http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduc...144-160&depa=1 .

That is unless you feel like spending a grand on harddrives then you could go with something like this in raid 0- http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduc...111-138&depa=1

That would be the fastest raid setup in history.
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Old 11-26-2004, 01:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Elbatrop1
I would use a RAID 0 array if you want a lot of reliability.
RAID0=Speed (2 disks)
RAID1=Reliability (2 disks)
RAID0+1=both (4 disks)
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Old 11-26-2004, 05:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Link works for me. Search SUPERMICRO "SUPER X5DA8"

Those Sata drives would be a good idea to get. The board I suggested doesn't have a SATA controller so you would need to buy one.
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Old 11-26-2004, 10:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thank you for the input so far guys, though the SCSI and the 15,000 RPM drives are a bit out of the budget at the moment.

What are your opinions of the following? Any recommended changes?

1x AMD Opteron 242 1.6GHz 2-Way 64-bit processor

1x Tyan K8S Pro (S2882G3NR), Dual AMD Opteron, AMD 8000 Series
Motherboard. This motherboard (S2882G3NR) is the one without SCSI
support and can be seen at
(http://www.tyan.com/products/html/thunderk8spro.html)
I will be able to buy a second Opteron processor shortly to put into this motherboard.

For RAM, I will use 2GB of DDR 400 RAM

For storage, how about 2x Maxtor 300GB S-ATA w/ 16MB cache.
(http://www.maxtor.com/portal/site/Ma...20Drive%20Kits) running RAID-0 and down the road... RAID-0+1

I do have a question though... If I only get only 1 HD for now, is there a chance of buying a second one down the road and then running then in RAID-0 while keeping the data that already exists? Just curious, since most likely I'll just buy 2 and then get another 2 to use for backup.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 11-27-2004, 12:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
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what is your budget?
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Old 11-27-2004, 01:22 AM   #10 (permalink)
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About $1400 USD
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