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I'm setting up a new web/database server that will perform a lot of read/write operations. So I want to use a RAID controller and use RAID 10. I need some help to decide what kind of hard drives I should get? VelociRaptor? SAS? (Is it worth the cost?)

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SAS - very expensive drives. Velociraptors - pretty much best bang for the buck. Question is - what do you need? you dont say at all.

I run a server with now 12 soon 16 raptors in 2 raid 10 groups (one 6 for hyper-v, one 6 for a sql server alone), 300gb model, and I am VERY happy with them.

But then I need them.

Your "a lot of read/write operations" is like "I drive a lot". WHat is driving a lot per year for you? Hint - I sometimes do 10.000km a month. It really depends on point of view.

In general, Raptors have good IO and are better per dollar than SAS drives. If you need a LOT of iops, then nothing beats higher end (Intel) SSDs - hands down, but you pay a LOT per gb. DO you need them? Depends. What is a lot of operations for you?

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"A lot" varies quite a bit depending on who you ask. Performance metrics are the only way to be sure in these circumstances (and @TomTom congrats on your 10K!) –  sysadmin1138 Nov 27 '10 at 17:36
    
Expecting the workload to be similar to stackoverflow. –  Yoni Nov 27 '10 at 17:41
    
@Yoni and how big will be the working set? If the database will be below 10-20GB SSDs are a better choice: two 32GB SSDs won't be really expensive and will provide much higher IOPS. As for workload, I'd say that stackoverflow has about 1:4 write:read ratio. –  Hubert Kario Nov 27 '10 at 17:49
    
the database is over 200gb, that's why performance is a big issue. –  Yoni Nov 27 '10 at 17:57
    
for such big database I'd go with Chopper3 suggestion and install 15k SAS drives. –  Hubert Kario Nov 27 '10 at 18:22
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If you expect your disks to be used (i.e. actual significant activity) for more than 30% of the time then go for proper enterprise SAS disks as >95% of disks only have a 30% "duty cycle" and going over this will impact their lifespan and potentially the support you get from the manufacturer. I always use enterprise SAS disks (usually 15krpm ones) for DB work as anything less, in my experience, is money badly spent.

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