Take the 2-minute tour ×
Server Fault is a question and answer site for professional system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm trying to put together specs for a top of the line Dell R720 (running Windows Server 2008R2) build server (C#), and I'm unsure what the best hard drive / RAID setup would be.

Our space requirements are:

  • C (OS) - 100GBs
  • E (SOURCE) - 600GBs
  • F (OUTPUT) - 850GBs

Utilizing the Dell R720, I was going to go for:

  • 16 x 2.5" drive bay
  • 16 x 256 Crucial m4 SSDs
  • H710P HW Raid Controller
  • 2 x RAID1 (C drive)
  • 6 x RAID10 (E drive)
  • 8 x RAID10 (F drive)

Without investing in ioDrives, does the setup above appear ideal for the fastest write speeds possible? I understand the risks we're taking with non-OEM, non-enterprise SSDs, but my goal here isn't stability, it's to attain the best write performance possible for F: drive.

---EDIT---

Some points @ewwwhite raised:

Do you know what your realistic I/O needs are? ##

Unfortunately I do not, other than:

  1. Copy data from network to E: drive as fast as possible (10GbE, 6Gbps SATAIII)
  2. Read data from E: drive into Visual Studio.NET (2008) Compiler
  3. Write data sequentially (as 4GB+ binaries) to F: drive

Mostly random read/writes? Sequential reads/writes?

I'm not familiar enough with how linear our C# build process reads / writes, but I believe it is more sequential than random.

How much room and storage space do you need

100GBs for the OS, 600GBs available for SOURCE, 850GBs available for output. About 85% utilization for the SOURCE and OUTPUT volumes.

share|improve this question
2  
Serious question, but is drive io really your bottle neck? Normally I'd argue that RAID 0 may be acceptable in this case (on the presumption F is only ever temporary), but I'm not sure if the additional risk is worth the speed here. Your other two RAID sets are spot on, though, in my opinion. –  Dan Nov 19 '12 at 20:30
add comment

1 Answer 1

Most RAID controllers have a cap on how many solid state drives can be accommodated at a time. There is a point of diminishing returns. For HP Smart Array P410 controllers, it's about 6 x SSD's in RAID0.

Do you know what your realistic I/O needs are? What is the working set of data and the expected data output size? What would the I/O pattern be? Mostly random read/writes? Sequential reads/writes? How much room and storage space do you need? This matters a bit in the design.

I wouldn't eschew enterprise drives at this point just yet. There are differences between various SSD offerings, and some devices are capable of far greater throughput than others. For example, a single ZeusRAM SSD drive has 8GB capacity, but can sustain 100,000 IOPS at 800+MB/sec and microsecond latencies and won't wear-out. Or reconsider a FusionIO drive. It's on par with the price of the solution you're proposing and would be a far more efficient approach.

Can you help us understand what you realistically need?

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks @ewwhite, but price-wise an ioDrive2 (1.2TB) is around $14k, where as 16 x 256GB Crucial m4s be around $2880. As far as realistic speeds, I'd like to be able to read data at around 300MB/s and write close to that speed as well. –  heyjon Nov 20 '12 at 0:31
    
You need to know where to look... Pick one up on eBay or look for the Dell or HP-branded versions. I'm more on the HP side, but I get them for $2000-$4000US. –  ewwhite Nov 20 '12 at 0:49
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.