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Old 2002-10-12, 18:18   #1
Aug 2002

2·33 Posts
Default New Server Hardware and price quotes, Funding the server

Lets figure out what hardware is needed to run the 'new' GIMPS server well. Of course there are many different options and configurations. A separate web server and database server would be ideal, but the cost may be prohibitive.

I think there is little question that we should go with a new server with a good onsite service plan. GIMPS is too large to have much down time! The hardware should be as redundant as possible. Would you agree that a RAID5 (or RAID10,50,...) and Redundant power supplies are essential features?

This is the current server:
Originally Posted by Prime95
a dual 800Mhz PIII with 36GB fast RAID 5 disks (18GB usable) and 256MB, on a T1 or DS3 (not sure which) with Win2000.
1) Rackmount case: Can we settle on a 2U-4U rackmount box? Are there additional hosting charges for a 4U box? If so, please specify.

2) CPU: There are two main options for the CPUs: Dual Xeon or Dual Athlon MP [ or if cost is a concern Dual PIII, now up to 1.4GHz; but note that the PIII 1.4 ~ P4 2.4 cost].
What are the benchmarks for the Athlons and Xeons in mySQL? (or what DB are we planning on using?)

Originally Posted by Prime95
The principle CPU requirement is to drive the database. The web server runs on the same box for little overhead, but the SQL reports often eat almost 100% CPU for minutes. ... Transactions average 2 to 3/sec for nominal (around the clock average)client load, with spikes of up to several dozen per second.
George, what is the average processing time for each transaction?

3) Memory: I think the current 256MB of RAM in the current server is probably a bottleneck. It is very important to have sufficient RAM to completely cache the DB,

Originally Posted by Prime95
RAM makes a big performance difference since SQL Server caches pretty much the entire set of tables and only the write-thrus do I/O (thus reports are mostly CPU/bus bound)
How large is the DB and how much RAM would be needed to completely cache it? (room for future growth?)
I think 512Mb is the minimum we should look at. 1GB would be preferred if we have the financial resources.

4) Storage: How critical is the speed of our storage subsystem? I would say a 3 x 36GB configured in RAID 5 is the minimum option. Better would be with an additional 2x18GB RAID 1 for the OS. 15k or 10k HDs? A caching RAID controller would also be helpful.
A Hot spare for the RAID 5 would limit down time. How long would it take to get personal to the server to replace the HD? If we loose one drive from the RAID 5 array we would not loose data, but until the drive is replaced the array would be several times slower.

5) Service: A good service agreement is very important. Same Day or Next day service? Dell for example, offers a 3 year Same Day 4Hr response with parts/labor or Next Business day. Then we often have the option of business hrs response or 24/7 response.

I think that covers most of the hardware choices. Are there any other important hardware considerations? Adding an additional NIC for ~$60 would also help the redundancy of the system.

Now we need to discuss these requirements, gets server quotes, and find funding to purchase the server.

I am not saying we need to purchase the server now, but lets just get the details ready. Then when we need the server all we need to do is purchase it and set it up.
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