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i'm going to do a project for a client and i'll be hosting the database server myself. Normally it would be on my dev machine, but there will also be data pushed into it during developing and testing, so i would like to setup a dedicated test sql server. But, as you might guess, i can't afford to go to Dell and buy one mega 16 core 16 GIG 10 TB raid 5 machine (wow, that sounds cool)

So i have to save the money somewhere... the hardware only has to live for a year (longer is nice of course), and the sql server won't be hit too hard: i guess the average server will only see it as a cough once in a while.

But i do want the machine to be a bit performant: if it does get some data, it must be a bit responsive.

So my question is were can i leave out the expensive parts: is 2 GB enough, or must i take 4GB, is an average processor enough or should it be a top of the bill?

Is Sql server a large resource user or is a simple desktop pc good enough?

It wil run on win2008 by the way.

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Your question is too vague. You will need to provide some more information about the application for anyone to give you any kind of recommendation. People will at least need to know if it is read or write intensive, transactions per minute or second, database size, etc. –  ITGuy24 Apr 10 '10 at 20:26
    
As ITGuy24 says, you'll have to give us more info on what you are doing. We run sql on all sorts of things, from single proc 2GB of ram VM ware instances with 20GB of disk space assigned, all the way up to 8 core 64GB of ram, 100's of TB of disk space assigned. and everything in between. It depends on the application. –  Zypher Apr 10 '10 at 20:38
    
You're right, too soon to ask probably. Wanted to have the machien before the specs arrived :). Will ask again when i have more info –  Michel Apr 10 '10 at 21:11
    
Allright, so far i have Ram, Ram and disk IO. I'll find out the differences in disk io, to be honoust i didn't know there was much difference between the 'normal' disks :) –  Michel Apr 12 '10 at 18:50
    
more disk I/O = more spindles, so get a raid array with a lot of disks. ALso RAID1 or RAID10 will give you much better write perf than RAID5, especially for your transaction logs. –  gbjbaanb Apr 13 '10 at 21:30

5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Scapability IO wiser - opn top of RAM. DAtabases live IO. Bad IO = bad performance. And we do not talk "MB/S", we talk IOPS - RANDOM input ouput operations per second.

SO, if you get a custom build, supermicro has a Case that fits into 2 rack units and can hold 24 2.5" hard discs - that gives you the chance to put in a LOT of IO. Sticking to 3.5" discs (not necessarily a good idea for databases) they have cases up to 48 hard discs.

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so fast disks.. is SSD good for database IO or doesn't it realy matter? –  Michel Apr 12 '10 at 18:47
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SSD rocks for databases. I mean, we talk of IOPS here. 10.000 RPM discs is MAYBE 200 of them. 15000 RPM drives MAYBE 400 - depends on model. SSD's - I read about a model from REALSSD that has 40.000 - that is 100 times as many. SSD can really be terribly efficient (In the positive sense). They may even be cheaper than hard discs on a db server, because ONE 500gb SSD may be enough, where you otherwise may neeed 20-30 discs to get the IOPS numbers right. –  TomTom Apr 13 '10 at 1:35

RAM. RAM. and more RAM.

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Ram is relatively inexpensive these days- especially if you went for consumer grade hardware so i'd prolly suggest taking as much as i can. Processor would depend on the load you expect, but for a low load system, you might be able to get away with a desktop processor and motherboard, and in extension, you could go for sata over SAS (though if you have the budget, you might want to consider having a SSD on the system)

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Thanks very much –  Michel Apr 12 '10 at 18:49

A dedicated test/dev server is more of a necessity than a luxury, especially as you can run it using lesser hardware than you require for the live system. Most dev places I've seen have used a desktop-class machine for the DB, as it doesn't need great performance or storage requirements.

If you needed better spec, try ebay for the dev/test server, you can pick up some good bargains, and if it breaks you can buy another one for spare parts. (but get a proper server with support for your live system).

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Ebay, hm, didn't think of that. You mean a used or refurnished server, or are they significant (is that an English Word?) cheaper at Ebay? –  Michel Apr 12 '10 at 18:48
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Generally significantly cheaper on ebay. The stuff you get there is often "sold" at a loss just to get rid of the hardware - because otherwise the company has to pay to have it disposed of under all the new eco-waste laws, so if they sell it for £10, it still works out better for them. –  gbjbaanb Apr 13 '10 at 21:28

Well, since you're taking on the responsibility of managing your client's data, the feature that I think you need over all others is a good tape back-up system.

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