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So, I plan on deploying Minecraft servers.

Now, typically for consumers, putting your OS onto an SSD is a smart decision - boot up times are a lot faster. For a server environment though, I couldn't come up with a reason.

My logic is that the server OS won't need that much speed (I can't see it being read and written to very often). If anything, I might have server maintenance at 4am to update the server but the boot-up time would be pretty negligible (since very few people would be there to experience it.)

On the other hand, placing only the Minecraft world files on an SSD leads to a very visible impact. When the world needs to be read because a player is on the move, that's where an SSD would shine. Plus, for the end users using the Minecraft server, it's the only noticeable thing they would experience (they want a fast Minecraft server. If the server OS behind that is slow but doesn't affect MC, then there isn't a problem.)

For those who aren't very familiar with Minecraft, the server will typically read a map file as a player explores the world and will save the map from memory onto the disk when the server is shutdown or at set intervals (every 15 minutes, 30 minutes, etc.)

Would there be any performance benefits for the Minecraft servers if their OSs were put onto an SSD?

Edit: I'm running Ubuntu Server 12.04.2. The system requirements for it are low so that helps with the decision.

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What's the total amount of data you'd like to put on an SSD? –  Jay Mar 10 '13 at 23:06
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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Using an SSD for the OS would pretty much be a waste. Using for Minecraft data would be a better use. Buy cheap disks and using the extra money to load up on RAM is going to be the best idea unless you're already maxed out on RAM. Minecraft servers are RAM hogs like nothing else I know.

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Tell me about it! I'm starting off with a consumer server and AM3+ boards don't support more then 4 slots of RAM. Trying to make due with that and hope in the future I can get 8 slots ;) –  NessDan Mar 11 '13 at 1:00
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You didn't say which OS you are running, but if you are running Linux and have enough RAM to store, say, a whole map, having a SSD will probably not boost read performance after the map has been loaded the first time.

This is because Linux automatically uses free RAM to store recently read disk blocks into a cache. But it is also possible that the server program uses it's own map file cache in memory, if the Java VM has enough available.

MS Windows however uses the swap file (on disk) more extensively than Linux, and depending on how the server software is made, having it on a SSD might speed up things.

I would say that if you think the server software is not too bad, don't use a SSD and spend your money in RAM.

Nevertheless, testing the whole thing, would bring you a much better answer...

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With Minecraft, the entire world isn't fully loaded at startup. It loads in chunks as a player explores the world (in Minecraft, the world is infinitely large and randomly generates as you travel.) This means that the world file is constantly being read from as players move throughout the world. (I'm also running Linux, sorry about leaving that out!) –  NessDan Mar 11 '13 at 2:11
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No, minecraft is java and after starting up java, its a all new world running, the original OS is hidden with little usage.

So the OS in a SSD helps starting things faster, but after that you have no more gains ( other than maybe power usage, if you turn off the other discs and leave only the SSD)

Even putting the java on the SSD will not give you much, as when starting, java loads everything it needs.

The only thing that might help is the $TEMP/$TMP folders moves to the SSD, but i dont know if minecraft use it in any way (try checking all the temp folders or asking the mailling list) and as those folders have many create/write/delete access, it's a good thing to leave out of a SSD to increase its life

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