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I hope this is the correct section, this is my first time here, I have a question please.

I think that a lot of people are asking this question in this period.

We are managing a server of a game with a big exchange of data (minecraft) and we have to buy a new server, but we have to find where is the best way to mantain the map.

We have three option in Ubuntu enviroment, Ramdisk, SSD and SAS, do you know who will be the faster to mantain the map (1.9gb, but a lot of small files, huge transfer)?

I am not really an expert of this, so if I can I would like to add the link of the server that we would like to rent, so maybe you can be more precise, if I can put the link please tell me, I will delete it. http://www.hetzner.de/en/hosting/produkte_rootserver/ex4s

Thanks for your time and sorry about my bad english. Best Regards,

Paolo

P.s I don't know nothing more, so please explain everything :(.

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I think you're mixing your terminology. SSD is a kind of drive (solid state, rather than traditional magnetic media), SAS is a kind of drive interface that can be used with traditional hard drives OR SSD drives, and a Ramdisk is not permanent storage at all, but rather a filesystem stored in RAM. –  NorbyTheGeek Feb 6 '12 at 22:29

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

You will need to take into account the pro/con for each of the things you've listed.

Ramdisk

Fastest option you listed, but it will still require a real HD to save data to. If the server goes off-line, anything on the RAMDISK will be lost unless it is persisted to long-term storage. Also requires a lot of memory on your server.

SSD

Very fast, and good for tons of small IO. Very expensive and not much capacity.

SAS (I assume you mean 10k/15k drives, not 7.2k NL-SAS)

Still pretty fast, comes in much larger sizes.

What I would do

If it were me, I would start some monitoring, to see if disk IO is really a limiting factor, for a game server, my guess is that its CPU or network that is your limiting factor. If you find that disk IO is responsible, I would personally grab a pair of 15k SAS drives and run them in RAID-1 (or if money is no object, I'd get 4 or 8 and run them in RAID-10).

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That pretty much sums it up. Also note that the Hetzner servers are so cheap because they use mostly consumer hardware. For example, they're using software-RAID instead of battery-backed hardware-RAID, non-ECC memory instead of ECC memory, consumer-level processors, etc. This may not be a problem for a game server, but it will likely increase the chance and severity of something going wrong. You get what you pay for. –  Martijn Heemels Feb 6 '12 at 22:38
    
If it were me, I'd use an SSD but just make sure the server has lots of RAM. So for practical purposes, it will all be cached in RAM anyway. I'd probably add a cheap hard drive for internal backup, if possible. (In case the SSD fails.) –  David Schwartz Feb 6 '12 at 23:15
    
Thanks guys for the help. Bye bye –  user109732 Feb 8 '12 at 17:57

For your specific case, you want an SSD. Minecraft does lots of very small IO requests, which is exactly what SSDs are excellent at. It also doesn't have a whole lot of data, so it will fit on even a tiny SSD.

Of course a ramdisk would give you better performance. However, if you are unsure of the difference between a ramdisk and SSD, you may not have sufficient knowledge to prevent a catastrophic data loss with a ramdisk.

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