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anotherengineer
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Enterprise Server help

Tue May 07, 2019 12:25 pm

I need some help with selecting parts for a server

https://www.instrumart.com/assets/syste ... asheet.pdf

Page 7 and 8 have recommendations.

My questions are
What is the best performance for the money for cpu? (I do not know how multithreaded system 1 is)
Ram I was thinking 128GB I would assume ECC?
Storage I was thinking 1.92TB ssds with around 8-9TB total storage Raid 5 or 1+0??
Raid controller??

We usually deal with Lenovo. I have checked out dell hp and Lenovo but their enterprise grade solutions and options are overwhelming

Just want to get something that will function quickly but not be wasteful overkill

Thanks
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Waco
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Re: Enterprise Server help

Tue May 07, 2019 1:02 pm

Why deviate from the suggested builds? None of them are terribly resource intensive / expensive, and none of them even mention high performance storage as a requirement.
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anotherengineer
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Re: Enterprise Server help

Tue May 07, 2019 10:38 pm

Yes I don’t think cpu horsepower is a big thing. The data seems to be though. The current server storage was upgraded to 15k spinners which improved loading times but there is still room for improvement. Basically it’s condition monitoring software however when we pull trend data for a year of history it’s getting laggy. I am just assuming that if the step up to 15k drives gave a noticeable difference then ssds, may further improve things.
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Re: Enterprise Server help

Tue May 07, 2019 10:54 pm

anotherengineer wrote:
I am just assuming that if the step up to 15k drives gave a noticeable difference then ssds, may further improve things.

What makes you think 15K spinners are going to beat SSDs speed wise? What's the data access pattern? And are you bottlenecked with 100Mbps networking?
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Re: Enterprise Server help

Tue May 07, 2019 10:58 pm

Flying Fox wrote:
anotherengineer wrote:
I am just assuming that if the step up to 15k drives gave a noticeable difference then ssds, may further improve things.

What makes you think 15K spinners are going to beat SSDs speed wise? What's the data access pattern? And are you bottlenecked with 100Mbps networking?

I interpreted his post to mean that if 15K spinning rust helped, SSDs might help even more. Not the other way around.
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anotherengineer
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Re: Enterprise Server help

Wed May 08, 2019 8:28 am

Yes. What JBI said

So what about raid controllers. All brands the same?
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Re: Enterprise Server help

Wed May 08, 2019 8:57 am

anotherengineer wrote:
Yes. What JBI said

So what about raid controllers. All brands the same?

Enterprise RAID controller firmware seems to be surprisingly bad pretty much across the board. LSI (now part of Broadcom) seems to be among the "least bad", provided you flash to the latest and don't rely on whatever firmware came on the card as shipped. I also recommend using your OS's software RAID for any storage arrays, with the controller's RAID being used just for the OS boot volume (assuming you're planning to RAID the OS disk... if you're not, then software RAID all the way).
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Waco
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Re: Enterprise Server help

Wed May 08, 2019 9:25 am

LVM is pretty decent for boot RAID volumes. Mdraid is decent at non-parity striped/mirrored RAID levels for data drives.

LSI (or whomever owns them now, is it Avago or Broadcom?) makes the least-bad hardware RAID controllers in my experience.
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Re: Enterprise Server help

Wed May 08, 2019 9:53 am

Waco wrote:
LVM is pretty decent for boot RAID volumes. Mdraid is decent at non-parity striped/mirrored RAID levels for data drives.

I wasn't sure if he was talking Windows or Linux, so I did not make specific recommendations like LVM/MD.

Waco wrote:
LSI (or whomever owns them now, is it Avago or Broadcom?)

The answer is "yes"!

Avago acquired LSI and Broadcom, then changed their name to Broadcom. However, the merged entity trades under the AVGO ticker symbol.

Waco wrote:
makes the least-bad hardware RAID controllers in my experience.

Yup, we are in violent agreement on this!
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Waco
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Re: Enterprise Server help

Wed May 08, 2019 10:00 am

Oh, dammit, good point. The doc specifies Windows.

That said - Windows mirroring isn't terrible for boot drives. Windows striping is actually not too bad either, but it can't do (at least on the desktop versions) a RAID 10 equivalent. LSI cards are still my go-to on Windows.
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Re: Enterprise Server help

Wed May 08, 2019 10:56 am

So first, I would actually measure your existing performance. Perfmon can record data to a file and you can look at CPU, Memory, and disk performance. I would look at the following counters:
Memory: Available Bytes, Committed Bytes (will show how much memory is free and in use)
Logical Disk: Current Disk Queue Length, Disk Reads/Sec, Disk Writes/Sec (How many disk operations are pending, Read IOPS, Write IOPS). Do this for each logical drive.
Processor: %Processor Time (Total and for each instance)

Record during "active" time. Make sure this includes User time as well as process time (backups, data transfers, etc). This could be 24 hours.

I recommend logging in CSV format, easier to load and manage in Excel to create graphs to show you what is really going on/being used when.

That will give you a much better idea of where your problems are.

That being said, I have familiarity with HP (more blades than rack/stand alones) but I do have some experience with the DL series. Since that was listed on the vendor specs, here is what I would spec out (and then adjust based on what the data told me):

HP DL380 G10 ~$1,800
2 x Xeon Silver 4410 $1,236
HPE 4 NVMe Box 1 Instr Spec FIO 878186-B21
HPE DL38X Gen10 4-port 8 NVMe Slim SAS FIO Riser 867807-B21 $300
8 x HPE 16GB (1x16GB) Dual Rank x8 DDR4-2666 CAS-19-19-19 Registered Memory Kit $2,000
OS Disks x 2 HPE 400GB NVMe x4 Lanes Mixed Use SFF (2.5in) SCN 3yr Wty SSD x2 $800
DB?Data x 6 HPE 400GB NVMe x4 Lanes Read Intensive SFF (2.5in) SCN 3yr Wty SSD x6 $1,950

Total ~$8000
 
anotherengineer
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Re: Enterprise Server help

Wed May 08, 2019 12:19 pm

Great. Thanks

Yes will be windows server and sql.

I had budgeted about 13k cnd$

I can request to have those tests run but I’m not sure how valid it will look. Reason being is currently the system 1 software is being run as a VM in a larger server something like a 16core with 256 or 384GB ram or something. We want to go dedicated server to improve performance and so if we have to do maintenance it doesn’t affect a bunch of other systems.
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Re: Enterprise Server help

Thu May 09, 2019 10:34 am

The performance statistics will give you bounds. Are you CPU constrained? How much memory is the system really using (the Hypervisor has very little affect on this)? Are you using more Read IOPS, Write IOPS, or is it mixed? Are you truly multi-threaded? Modern hypervisors also are really close to bare metal, so performance does not usually deviate much (unless the hosts are overprovisioned).

Upping to 256GB RAM with 32GB DIMMS (8 total) would add another $1,000.
Upping to 384GB RAM with 32GB DIMMS (16 total) would add another $2,000.

So total cost would increase to ~$9,000 to ~$10,000 US.
 
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Re: Enterprise Server help

Thu May 09, 2019 3:38 pm

We have been migrating from physical to VM, from a bunch of HP DL to Dells.

I guess it depends on your budget and current setup, but wouldn’t sticking with VMs give you better flexibility with performance and storage scaling, plus scheduled backups or whatever high availability setup you have for your other VMs?

I’m just wondering, would it be money better spent on a VM host upgrade rather than rolling a new box? Maybe spend the money on some SAN/NAS thing with 10gb connectivity or dump more RAM in, etc.

And actually looking at something like a Dell PowerEdge R340 type machine may be a better and cheaper alternative.

I was totally hot on HP up until the Gen8 when I had to switch to Dell because the value for money spent was so much better. I just couldn’t justify staying with HP plus they moved/spun off their warranty group overseas which made it harder to justify paying foreign companies for our highly-regulated US systems to be serviced.
 
anotherengineer
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Re: Enterprise Server help

Thu May 09, 2019 8:00 pm

Scrotos wrote:
We have been migrating from physical to VM, from a bunch of HP DL to Dells.

I guess it depends on your budget and current setup, but wouldn’t sticking with VMs give you better flexibility with performance and storage scaling, plus scheduled backups or whatever high availability setup you have for your other VMs?

I’m just wondering, would it be money better spent on a VM host upgrade rather than rolling a new box? Maybe spend the money on some SAN/NAS thing with 10gb connectivity or dump more RAM in, etc.

And actually looking at something like a Dell PowerEdge R340 type machine may be a better and cheaper alternative.

I was totally hot on HP up until the Gen8 when I had to switch to Dell because the value for money spent was so much better. I just couldn’t justify staying with HP plus they moved/spun off their warranty group overseas which made it harder to justify paying foreign companies for our highly-regulated US systems to be serviced.


All good points.
So......our contract right now is with Lenovo, so might be stuck with them, but not in stone. If Dell can be justified that shouldn't be too much of an issue.

We have 10Gbe in the office and a SAN, excess data and backups go there.

As for the VM thing, we had some issues the other day which required the whole server get a restart, which knocked out the print server and a few other things for the entire office for about 15-20 minutes. Since this will be used for condition monitoring of all of our plants, I think the path may lead to its own dedicated box. It was before and what you listed above is probably what shifted it to vm in the first place, I don't know.

As for the current server VM it's in, I can't remember specs off hand, but IT guy said it's a has ddr3, so that puts it at several years old at least.

Also talking with the condition monitoring guy, might get 3 of the same boxes, one for each region. Good for spare parts I guess.
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Re: Enterprise Server help

Thu May 09, 2019 9:51 pm

If you are worried about availability the VMware and vmotion are where it's at. Snap backups to the San. If it dies the use a snsp to restore. It's awesome. You can maintain availability much better as a VM.
 
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Re: Enterprise Server help

Sat May 11, 2019 11:42 pm

Yeah any relatively modern VM release should support live migration of the compute resource from one host to another. I have experience with VMware and Xen but I’m sure hyper V and kvm support that crap too.

You can just manually move the nodes, update the host, move them back. Done. Like dragon said you just have the storage on the SAN and you are good to go.

You pay more for stuff that auto-rolls as a failure is detected in a host, but for manual maintenance stuff it seems like you can get away with that.

You seemed cost conscious to a degree so maybe two identical VM host machines with which to do this is out of the budget? But 2 or 3 would be ideal for failover scenarios.

I don’t know about Lenovo but if they are cheaper than HP, go fer it! :D

Going more VM is the better trend, long term. Easier to manage, takes less room and power, easier to back up and recover, some ability to ship VMs off-site for DR purposes.

I was a die-hard physical machine guy but in the last 5 years I have turned around on that.
 
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Re: Enterprise Server help

Sun May 12, 2019 9:02 pm

Waco wrote:
Oh, dammit, good point. The doc specifies Windows.

That said - Windows mirroring isn't terrible for boot drives. Windows striping is actually not too bad either, but it can't do (at least on the desktop versions) a RAID 10 equivalent. LSI cards are still my go-to on Windows.


LSI/Avago is good if you're building your own. And they make Dell's PERC controllers; I/we use Dell at work. I've honestly found Dell far less confusing than the original PDF document here.

PMC Sierra (formerly Adaptec), who also makes HP's Smart Array controllers, works well too. My HP ProLiant ML310e Gen 8 v2 at home runs a RAID 10 array of four SSDs, and a RAID-5 array of platter drives, and with the 2GB onboard cache, makes them run quite well.

I find Dell is the easiest to get what I want. HP's servers are good quality hardware, but have to be sourced through resellers, aren't as easy to configure oneself, and HP not providing BIOS updates unless you are under warranty contract bothers the tar out of me.
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