The more research I do, the more confused I get, so I'm hoping for some guidance and recommendations. I'm building a new server for my work that needs to run the database for our point of sale system. The software installs and configures everything on the system drive, and I'm not sure if I change that if it will mess up the program or not, so currently I'm looking to install and run everything one one logical drive. We're also a small company with 15 employees and probably around 1,000 transactions or database requests per day, with a good balance between reads and writes. Nothing too crazy going on here but I feel like the dual core processor, 4gb of ram, and single 10,000 rpm drive are not cutting it anymore. I also only require around 60gb of hard drive space right now, but would like to have plenty to spare.

From what I can tell, I should do a RAID 1, or a RAID 10 if I can afford the extra disks. Should I do SCSI, SAS, or SATA? Would I even notice the difference between them? I'm not even sure which one's the "best". Any other RAID configurations I should be aware of or look into? Is PCI Express 2.0 the best interface to buy for a RAID controller card? What about SSD, would that be a good option in my situation?

Thanks for the help with all my random questions!


Unless you're transactions are particularly complex a single modern quad-core CPU should be fine for what you're doing though I'd be tempted to increase you memory, it's cheap and easy to implement, it could make a huge difference.

As for IO well my usual recommendation is for; - a R1 pair of smallish 10krpm SAS boot disks, - a R1 pair of small 15krpm SAS log disks (or quality SSDs), - a suitably sized R10 array of 10-or-15krpm SAS data disks.

That's fine but you have this added complication of wanting it all on one disk - that's going to limit your performance to be honest. You could put this one disk on a nice R10 array of 15krpm SAS disks and it'll certainly be quicker, possibly quick enough. I'd avoid SSDs for this combined boot/log/data disk as I'm not convinced they're robust enough just now. If there is a way of breaking out these three functions then you'll see some very significant improvements.

Oh and nobody really does old-school parallel SCSI these days and SATA is good value but bogs down under load quickly compared to SAS.

  • Thanks Chopper3, that was very helpful and answered all of my questions. I'm unable to comment on your answer so I'm responding here. I've contacted the vendor to see about splitting the functions, so hopefully that's a possibility. Due to the tight budget I'm on and the cost of quality controllers and SAS disks, I'll probably only be able to afford one SAS array. Am I better off putting the data on the array and everything else on the OS partition, or is there a better arrangement (ie, logs and data on the array and everything else on the OS partition, or...)? I'm planning on getting a new – bikefixxer Jul 29 '11 at 16:17
  • The motherboard array might work out for you. They've gotten a lot better in the past two years, but DO expect a good learning curve and possible complications when restoring from a RAID1. You should put your logs on a separate drive from your Data, IMO. At worse, put it on the same drive as your OS. Best case would be to put it on a separate drive. – surfasb Jul 29 '11 at 16:34
  • Thanks @surfasb, that helps. I'm new to RAID stuff so I appreciate it. I will put the data on the nice RAID array, and I can scrounge up another regular SATA drive. Should I put the OS on the regular drive and the log file on the motherboard RAID, or vice versa? Or is it possible to do more than one array on the card or motherboard? Assuming the point of sale system allows me to split it up of course.... – bikefixxer Jul 29 '11 at 19:03
  • It is possible to do more than one raid. If anything, I'd put your data on the RAID. The OS and log files can live together on a single drive. – surfasb Jul 29 '11 at 23:20

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