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What's the best/most reliable brand for servers?

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October 4, 2010 3:40:19 AM

Im in the need for a server for a large database, and have a budget of about $6000. Would i need as many cores as possible for a database? And what OEM is best for servers (Dell, HP, IBM, etc)?

EDIT: Also, what OS is best for databases?

Im new to servers so help is appreciated.

More about : reliable brand servers

October 4, 2010 4:10:54 AM

http://h10018.www1.hp.com/wwsolutions/selector/index_se...

http://www-07.ibm.com/systems/au/express/servers/

Try to get as much RAM as possible.

An insufficient amount of RAM can cause your SQL server to continually read data from disk instead of cached memory.

This will impact on query performance in most cases this impact will be significant. Having an appropriate amount of memory will allow SQL Server to process your queries more efficiently: it can hold more data in its cache

CPU choice is easier ... The Opteron quad cores are cheap at present - you want as many cores as you can get for the buck (so a 2 socket system is probably your budget limit), even to sacrifice on clockspeed.

Look at putting at least 3 drives in it, in a suitable RAID configuration.

Disk Drives and Disk Space

When planning your SQL Server Hardware Requirements it is important to remember that database applications can extremely Input/Output intensive.

Most senior SQL Server DBA’s would recommend using fast SCSI drives and quality disk controllers (or if you have no budgetary restrictions a SAN environment).

If you want redundancy and fault tolerance you should consider using RAID. To quote from Microsoft "The different Levels of RAID provide varying levels of performance and fault tolerance. Hardware based RAIDS provides more performance that Operating System RAID".
Some of the characteristics of RAID can be seen in the table below:

RAID level Description Characteristics
RAID 0 Disk Striping/ No Parity Excellent performance – Negative fault tolerance
RAID 1 Disk Mirroring/duplexing Read and write performance is good and fault tolerance is excellent
RAID 5 Disk Striping with parity Read performance is excellent. Write performance is moderate - Fault tolerance is excellent
RAID 10 Disk Mirroring combined with disk striping (RAID 1 + 0 ) Excellent read performance Excellent write performance Fault tolerance is excellent BUT can be expensive due to the number of disk required.

That's the limit of my advice, as I poorly understand the Spec suite of server tests ... so my advice is a bit generic ... sorry.
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October 4, 2010 4:17:10 AM

Thanks, thats actually pretty useful info. I should mention though that the database will need to handle hundreds of thousands of clients accessing it, and it needs to be very fast. If it would give a large performance increase, i can increase the budget a couple thousand dollars (im a little flexible with this). Do databases rely on cores or clock speed more? And if they rely on cores, would the 12 core Opterons be a good choice? Secondly, how much RAM is needed for a database of about 10+ TBs of data? And finally, is RAID with SSD's worth it (price and perfomance wise) over RAID with HDDs?

Thanks for your help!
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October 4, 2010 4:27:30 AM

I asked one of the server gurus to respond to your query here.

Hopefully he will get a chance a bit later.

I just noticed the links I gave you were Intel only, and not for the US ... I will update them in a minute.

http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?c=us...

24 Opti cores for 8G ... might need a bucket load more RAM though ... but 16Gb is a start.

Didn't know if you wanted a 2U rack or not ... better figure that bit out pronto.

Cheers.
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October 4, 2010 1:08:16 PM

I can't help you much more so hopefully this bump to the top will prompt one of our more server orientated users to chip in and help ...

good luck.
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October 4, 2010 8:59:03 PM

Im flexible with the size, but lean towards 2u. I was checking out some HP ProLiant servers, and they have one that has 64GB of ram with 2 12 core Opterons. Is HP good with servers?

And thanks by the way, youve been helpful
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October 5, 2010 12:03:55 AM

I have 200+ severs and 2 mainframes (starting from) 10' from me. We have IBM's HP, Compaqs, and Dells.

All the Dells have needed service, mostly for raid cards issues and I hear that now you can only use Dell branded drives in them.... Drives drop out of raid often.
The IBMs, we have more of these than any, have had some issues. Some have had memory die, a few had hdd's go. a few have had fans go out. The service is excellent and the guys are usually here in hours. Parts are here in hours or overnighted when they are not stocked in driving distance. I am very impressed with their service.
The HP's and Compaq's have been reliable. I can recall only 1 power supply giving up the ghost, a DLT V tape drive, and a few hard drives. Service is slow, but better than Dells, from what I've seen but this may be whats contracted.

I dont know if other manufacturers require 'their' brand HDD's or not. I dont buy them - I'm just the guy that gets to call for service when they break.
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October 5, 2010 1:01:18 AM

Hmm. Im interested in HP now that you mention it, since reliability is VERY important for this database. Although to be honest i though the IBM's would be the best in that category
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November 8, 2010 11:50:27 PM

Hosting a website with about 150,000+ daily users, and each user should be accessing the database.
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November 8, 2010 11:57:41 PM

IBM without a doubt.
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November 9, 2010 12:22:42 AM

Besides the brand, I'd like to know what kind of server i'd need for this site. For example, would a 24 core (2 12 core opterons) and maybe 64 GB's or more of ram be enough for 100k daily visitors?
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November 18, 2010 12:53:30 PM

yannifb I can't answer that one, but I have PM'd a couple of the more knowledgeable guys for you ... they seem strangely silent.

Apologies for not being better armed to assist you.
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November 18, 2010 2:34:52 PM

Seems to me the best way to proceed would be to call or email hp/ibm whoever and ask for a quote. For a purchase of that size they surely have someone who can assess your needs and make a recommendation. I'm not sure if its just because I'm used to small load servers but something with over 100000 people seems to me you would have serious issues and need a MAJOR server system and possibly a SAN with fibrechannel. But I'm clueless so perhaps you should talk to the people selling it.

how many people would be using it simultaneously etc what type of data and such would probably have a large impact.
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June 24, 2014 2:45:40 AM

Quanta seems to be rising though, with Facebook and Google on its back. It could give the big boys a run for their money.

mail me for further discussion.
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