GoWilkes

Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2006
611
24
168
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Root Administrator
My main server (semi-managed) is pretty old, and the hard drive is apparently close to failing. So, I think this is a smart time to just upgrade to a new server altogether. The thing is, I don't know a whole lot about hardware, and I don't know whether a lot of what I'm hearing from the sales rep is true, or an up-sell.

I'm hoping you guys can help me out here.

Question 1. Am I really going to notice a performance difference between a 250GB SATA II hard drive, a 74GB STAT Raptor 10k, a 73GB SA-SCSI 10k RPM, or a 73GB SA-SCSI 15k RPM?

The 250G is the default, but I can pay $20 /month for the 74G SATA Raptor 10k, $30 more for a 73G SA-SCSI 10k, or $50 more for a 73G SA-SCSI 15k.

If it matters, I'm using about 32G in my /home/ directory. I'm currently running Redhat Enterprise 4, but will be stepping up to Enterprise 5.

Question 2. My current server is about 4 years old, and has 4 3.2GHz Xeon CPUs with 2MB of cache each. The one proposed by the rep is a single processor Quad Core Xeon 2.66GHz, with 1x8MB of cache.

Now, this seems a lot slower to me, but the rep swears that this will be a lot faster than my old server. Is that true or false?

Part B to that question - I can upgrade to 2.8GHz (from 2.66) for a one-time fee of $50. Would I notice any difference at all with that 0.14GHz upgrade, to justify $50?

Any advice at all would be greatly appreciated! TIA,

Jason
 

jdarow

Well-Known Member
PartnerNOC
May 30, 2003
88
1
156
Michigan, US
cPanel Access Level
DataCenter Provider
Stay away from the 10K-RPM SATA Raptor drive. Acenet stopped buying them because they failed way too often. Most unreliable SATA HDD I have ever seen. Enterprise SATA is good. Make sure it is enterprise-class, preferably WD RE4.

Just because you use a SAS HDD does not mean you will see a faster website. A quality enterprise SATA is good enough for most. I would recommend two in a RAID-1 array. You may want hotswap functionality in case of hdd failure (to avoid downtime.) Just run 'iostat -kx' at the end of a busy day to see your util%. If it is high, you may want to consider SAS or RAID-10 SATA. It all depends on the demands of your environment.

CPU speed alone does not determine performance. Ask for the Xeon model numbers. 56xx is the latest and greatest in the 5000 sequence. For example, just about 56xx anything is better than 51xx, regardless of speed. I doubt your current server has 4 physical xeon processors unless you paid an arm and two legs for it.

I personally like the AMD 8-Core 6128 processors right now. Performance per dollar, they are hard to beat. It is very affordable to install two (or even four!) of these in a server, and I have witnessed these beasts plow through massive workloads with ease.
 

GoWilkes

Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2006
611
24
168
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Root Administrator
It's just one website (technically; there are about 50 domains parked on top of the one account), but the site gets a lot of traffic so there's a fairly heavy load. I've tweaked the heck out of it, and am now getting an average of about 90 Apache processes per second, an about 15 MySQL queries per second.

I'm almost clueless when it comes to hard drive data, but here's what my Munin report says for the main drive:

Disk IOs:
Current (-/+) 236.22m/ 31.91
Max: 128.24/ 60.92

Disk latency:
Current 122.75m
Max 268.57m

Disk throughput:
Current (-/+) 1.10k/ 548.70k
Max 4.02M/ 1001.25k

Disk utilization:
Current 5.02
Max 91.47

(That max is during the backup time, so it may be skewed. Aside from the backup time, the max looks to be around 45, which was only one spike. The average is 8.99)

IO Service time:
Read: Current 60.32u
Max 397.19u

Write: Current 8.39u
Max 84.22u

IOstat
Current (-/+) 2.05 /1.09k
Max 7.70k/ 1.95k
 

GoWilkes

Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2006
611
24
168
cPanel Access Level
Root Administrator
While we're on this subject, I have another question.

When the management company is setting up the server, the default partition configuration includes 10G for the / directory. But on my current server, I'm only using 374MB in the / directory.

I asked their tech support, and they said that "cPanel in particular saves a fair amount of information in /etc", and they would recommend a minimum of 5GB. Is this true? Or is 5GB way too much overkill?
 

SoftDux

Well-Known Member
May 27, 2006
1,023
5
168
Johannesburg, South Africa
cPanel Access Level
Root Administrator
When the management company is setting up the server, the default partition configuration includes 10G for the / directory. But on my current server, I'm only using 374MB in the / directory.
That's probably cause all the other folders (i.e. /var, /etc, /usr, /home, etc) are in their own partitions


I asked their tech support, and they said that "cPanel in particular saves a fair amount of information in /etc", and they would recommend a minimum of 5GB. Is this true? Or is 5GB way too much overkill?
We setup all our servers with at least 10GB root, and 5GB var on a separate LVM partition.

If you plan on installing any 3rd party software like Fantastico, RVSiteBuilder, Site Reptiple, RVSkin, Softaculous, WHMXtra (to think of a few) then you'll need more space than 5GB