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Need a server for data processing

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July 18, 2008 5:28:20 PM

I'm trying to either purchase a server and build one from parts. The server has to be very fast as it will be used for data processing (MATLAB). Around 5 computers will connect to it over a network. I've heard general desktops are not fast enough, so what's a better choice? Intel, IBM servers or buy parts?

Sorry, I couldn't find a better section so I'm posting in "CPUs".

More about : server data processing

a b à CPUs
July 18, 2008 6:12:05 PM

What is your budget?

You'll want LOTS of RAM for matlab, and it loves multithreading, so you'll want a minimum of a quad core.
July 18, 2008 6:57:44 PM

Budget is pretty open. We are looking at maybe $10,000-15,000.

For RAM I guess 15 GB is not too bad. For processor, I was thinking for Intel Xeon. I'm just not sure which brands to get for the RAM and other stuff such as motherboard, hard drive, etc.

I thought MATLAB didn't used multiple cores (for a single task) unless one used distributed computing toolbox?
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a c 126 à CPUs
July 18, 2008 7:14:17 PM

Damn.... Why not go for a SkullTrail system? You will get dual CPUs probably be able to throw 4-8GB per CPU and also be able to throw Xeons in there if you wish.

RAM wise I always trust Corsair and there are others like OZC and GSkill.

Hard drives I have never gone wrong with Seagate. Seagate has always been fast and reliable.
July 18, 2008 7:43:23 PM

For Servers I'd recommend purchasing one from a vendor rather than build it yourself. With a vendor you can get good support usually next day or even faster. That way if a part goes out you don't have to wait to ship it out and ship in the new one, the vendor will have spare parts for you.
From what I've seen Dell's seem to be the best value for the parts but I'm not sure how good their service is.
a b à CPUs
July 18, 2008 7:56:45 PM

Definitely purchase it from a vendor.

I'd probably go with something like a Dell PowerEdge 2900 III. For that kind of budget, you can get a pair of 3.16GHz quad core xeons, and 48GB of RAM. I'd also go with SCSI hard drives, though I don't know how much storage you'll be needing.

From what I hear, dell has excellent service for their business class stuff too, which is a definite bonus for a machine like this.
a c 126 à CPUs
July 18, 2008 7:57:59 PM

48GB of RAM????? Dear God I am drooling..........

Too bad its useless in desktop apps lol.
a b à CPUs
July 18, 2008 7:58:59 PM

If I remember correctly nVidia CUDA supports MATLAB, so you might want to check that out too.
a b à CPUs
July 19, 2008 6:21:30 AM

dells business service is awesome, next day repair, no Indian BS tech support.
a b à CPUs
July 19, 2008 6:26:12 AM

Excellent :D 

Their XPS support is great too - same kind of deal, so I figured they had to have decent support for people willing to drop that kind of cash for business machines. I'd definitely recommend a Dell server then.
July 29, 2008 3:24:25 PM

Thanks everyone.

I finally configured a Dell PowerEdge. The specs are given below:

-------------------------------------------------------------------

PowerEdge 2900:
Quad Core Intel® Xeon® X5460, 2x6MB Cache, 3.16GHz, 1333MHz FSB

Additional Processor:
Quad Core Intel® Xeon® X5460, 2x6MB Cache, 3.16GHz, 1333MHz FSB

Operating System:
No Operating System

Memory:
48GB 667MHz (12x4GB), Dual Ranked DIMMs

Keyboard:
Universal Serial Bus Keyboard, French Canadian

Optional Feature:
Upgrades for Integrated NIC Ports LOM NICs are TOE Ready

Primary Hard Drive:
400GB 10K RPM Serial-Attach SCSI 3Gbps 3.5-in HotPlug Hard Drive

2nd Hard Drive:
400GB 10K RPM Serial-Attach SCSI 3Gbps 3.5-in HotPlug Hard Drive

3rd Hard Drive:
400GB 10K RPM Serial-Attach SCSI 3Gbps 3.5-in HotPlug Hard Drive

4th Hard Drive:
400GB 10K RPM Serial-Attach SCSI 3Gbps 3.5-in HotPlug Hard Drive

Primary Controller:
SAS 6/i Integrated, No RAID

Hard Drive Configuration:
Integrated SAS/SATA No RAID, PERC 6/i Integrated/SAS6/iR

Power Supply:
Redundant Power Supply with Y-Cord

Floppy Drive:
1.44MB Floppy Drive, Internal, Black

Network Adapter:
Dual Embedded Broadcom®NetXreme II 5708 Gigabit Ethernet NIC

CD/DVD Drive:
Combo CDRW / DVD Drive, SATA

Bezel: Tower Bezel Included
Cable: 1M Multi-Mode FC Cable LC-LC,Tyco
Documentation: Electronic Documentation and OpenManage CD Kit

Chassis Configuration Tower Chassis Orientation
Hardware Support Services 3Yr Basic Hardware Warranty Repair: 5x10 HW-Only, 5x10 NBD Onsite
Hardware Installation Services No Installation Assessment
Additional Documentation SAS6iR Documentation in English

TOTAL:$11,199.00


-----------------------------

I have problem configuring the hard drives though. The idea is to have server with 2 TB of storage space initially. It will later be expanded to 35 TB over time. I don't know if the best thing is to only use minimum hard drive space on the actual server and connect a data storage system to it or fill up the server first (total 10 hard drive storage spaces) and later add an external data storage system. I am also not sure if the hard drives I have chosen are right (they also had a 7200 RPM 1 TB hard drive).

The data storage solution also has to be fast and reliable. I guess we need some kind of RAID system to make it so. But keep in mind that we are also going to get a data backup system with the server. So I'm not sure if the whole mirroring is needed with the RAID. Could you please let me know what kind of hard drive configuration I should get?

Any other comments and suggestions are very welcome.

Thanks.
July 29, 2008 3:53:01 PM

well you looking at raid 5 or 6, but that will not be equal to 4 *400. you will proberly get 800bg. if this a processing server then you proberly wont need that much space? or do you intend use it sa file serer as well.

and while im here i will point out, that i strongly recommend that you get the rackmounted edition, because it starts with on server, then another, and so on. and before you know t you run out of room and have to start rackmounting. then half system are mounted half arnt. just an idea.
July 29, 2008 5:11:20 PM

dobby said:
well you looking at raid 5 or 6, but that will not be equal to 4 *400. you will proberly get 800bg. if this a processing server then you proberly wont need that much space? or do you intend use it sa file serer as well.

and while im here i will point out, that i strongly recommend that you get the rackmounted edition, because it starts with on server, then another, and so on. and before you know t you run out of room and have to start rackmounting. then half system are mounted half arnt. just an idea.


Thanks.

Even though the server will be used to data processing, we also need a lot of storage space (starting with 2 TB initially and then eventually 32 TB within a year or so). I'm not sure if a separate storage computer is a better option that getting the maximum storage on the server. Price and performance vise.

As for the rack mount, we will not have any additional servers so it's not a problem.
July 29, 2008 5:41:27 PM

Well if you going to need 32TB of data storage you'll definitely need a separate data server. You'd need at least a raid 6 array. Right now the largest SATA drives are 1TB with 1.5TB in the works. meaning you'll probably need 30+ hard drives to reach that amount of storage.

Don't forget to create a separate offsite backup server for all that data that I'm sure you don't want to lose :) 
November 30, 2009 5:55:33 AM

hi...
I too have the same confusion..
But your message helps to take right decision.
Thanks...
..........................
data entry india

jimmysmitty said:
Damn.... Why not go for a SkullTrail system? You will get dual CPUs probably be able to throw 4-8GB per CPU and also be able to throw Xeons in there if you wish.

RAM wise I always trust Corsair and there are others like OZC and GSkill.

Hard drives I have never gone wrong with Seagate. Seagate has always been fast and reliable.

!