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I would like to dedicate a hard disk, exclusively for my dbname.dbs directory which holds all the .dat and .idx files, and create a ramdisk for my /tmp temporary files in order to improve performance. I would also like to strip down the OS from any unecessary files and processes to minimize overhead for my dedicated application. Is this a good idea and are there any roadmaps for accomplishing this?

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migrated from Jun 14 '10 at 1:23

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It is perfectly reasonable to divide the work up as described, though these days, using a single 500 GB disk just for the DB might be considered excessive.

If you have a transaction log, it should be on a disk drive, not in the RAM drive. Otherwise, the .dat and .idx files in the .dbs directory (unless you've gotten fancy and placed them somewhere else) are sufficient for SE.

Stripping down the O/S is fine - just make sure you don't remove anything the O/S needs for handling things like upgrades. You should aim to keep a time service available (SNTP, probably). You probably want SSH available. Otherwise, yes, remove what you won't be using.

Are there roadmaps for O/S reduction? I don't know of one...

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This will probably be migrated to soon, but here's my experience:

Some DB's don't recover from a crash well if their temp files are destroyed upon reboot. I don't know if this is the case with Informix. Also, the RAM is often better put to use as DB buffers (at least, that's my experience with MySQL). That way, the DB can use it in the most efficient manner possible. If a solid state drive (SSD) large enough to hold your temp files is in your budget, that could be a good investment.

If you're dedicating a hard disk, that implies that you have more than one available. Consider using RAID 0 to combine two or more hard disks rather than use a separate hard disk. This gives you nearly twice the read/write performance in my experience (based on benchmarking done with MySQL, with my application transaction mix).

Stripping "unnecessary" files won't really increase performance, stopping unnecessary processes will. Assuming you're not low on disk space, files that aren't being used don't hinder your performance much (they can contribute to disk fragmentation, but files that were installed with the OS and never altered probably aren't fragmented unless the disk was highly fragmented to begin with).

Speaking of fragmentation, ensure the disk holding your data is regularly defragmented. That can have a big impact on your performance if there are many inserts and deletes.

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