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Hello, I'm writing here because I trying to decide between two servers for my next lamp server on which I will be hosting e-mails, dns, httpd, mysql for mainly small ...
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  1. #1
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    New lamp serveur configuration ? More RAM + CPU or Faster hard drives ?


    Hello,

    I'm writing here because I trying to decide between two servers for my next lamp server on which I will be hosting e-mails, dns, httpd, mysql for mainly small to medium sized CMS, blogs, forums etc

    I've got the choice between two different machines :

    First machine :
    Dual Xeon E5504 (2x4x2Ghz = 8 cores)
    24 Gig DDR3
    2 INTEL X25-M SSD (80Gigs each)
    2 SATA mechanical drives (1.5To each)

    Second machine :
    Dual AMD Opteron 6128 (2x8x2GHz = 16 cores )
    32 Gig DDR3
    2 SATA mechanical drives (1.5To each)

    Both configurations will cost me about the same and both would be set up as Raid 1

    On the first machine I was planning on putting Centos System + Outgoing e-mails + Databases on SSD and customer files on the slower mechanical SATA drives

    The second machine has got a lot more CPU (almost twice) and 8 Gigs more Ram than the first one, however what I want is fast loading times for sites and with a bit of tweaking as many customers sites on the server as possible without it slowing down

    I sadly can't add extra drives or components (otherwise I would have added 2 SSD's to the second configuration and maybe a few more sata drives).

    The SSD drives give almost instantaneous access to databases (when disk reads are involved) but I was wandering just how much efficient caching settings for Apache and Mysql could help the second configuration catch up the first one (their being more ram and CPU)

    I think that Ram is more important than CPU on LAMP servers but I know that hard drive access times are very important when loading to ram. Disk space is not an issue for either configurations.

    I'm worried about the hard drives on the second configuration being a bottleneck and am not sure if the extra CPU will help if this happens.

    For average PHP+MySQL CMS's which configuration do you think will allow me to host the most sites while keeping their load times low ?

    If I put a large number of Apache clients and plenty of MySQL cache would I be putting a strain on the hard drives ? It's obvious that it will be the hard drives that will slow the machine down when it gets close to it's limit but would the extra 8Gigs Ram + extra 8 CPU cores actually be able to be used on a lamp server, or should I go for the server with the SSD's ?

    I'm currently running a server with the same SSD's and the SQL queries are very fast so I think I will go for the SSD solution but would still like to have your advice about maybe using some of the 32 Gigs Ram and CPU effectively to not use the hard drives too much and leave them free to give reasonable data rates.

    Obviously I'm planning on putting quite a few sites on this server, these sites will be a mix of different PHP + MySQL scripts that I won't have the control over.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    If you are running a bunch of servers, then the extra cores and RAM in the AMD system will be of great benefit to you. For your stated purposes, I'd go with that at this time.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  3. #3
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    Thank you,

    My main worry is that with just one raid1 with slow mechanical drives (slow maximum speed of probably around 100 Mb / s when reading big files and as little as 20Mb /s when reading small ones) that I might not be able to use the full capacity of the CPU and Memory due to a bottle neck caused by the hard drive.

    My first goal is speed, I never fill up my servers and want my users to be impressed by the speed their sites come up with. I know the SSD drives will allow me to do this as and disk accesses to the database are very fast !

    Do you think I'm less likely to run into a bottle neck with the hard drive than the CPU and Ram ?

    What I mean by this is that on my other machines the CPU seems to be used less than the RAM and the hard drives and the 16 cores + 32 Gigs seem to be out of proportion compared to the hard drives.

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  5. #4
    Linux Guru coopstah13's Avatar
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    you have more memory, which means more reads will remain cached in memory than on the first machine

    also, how many reads from disks are you doing? do you really have that much data to read from disk that your memory is insufficient?

  6. #5
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    It's always a trade-off. Speed to start, or long term performance. Yes, SSD's are quick for read access, but because of their life-time limitations, at this point in the technology timeline I would not use them for anything but read-mostly applications. If you intend to place the VM runtime discs on the SSD's, which will possibly have a significant amount of write activity, then I still vote for the AMD solution. FWIW, I have an Intel 8-core system that I like a lot, and I run several VM's on it. They start up pretty quickly. Most of the overhead starting them is in the OS loading time, and it is still very quick. Fast hard drives (Sata 2 or 3 - 7200rpm or better) will give you good "bang for the buck".
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  7. #6
    Linux Guru coopstah13's Avatar
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    I agree, SATA2 disks are pretty darn fast these days, I don't know what kinds of things you are using, but it is unlikely that the IO will be a bottleneck if you are serving stuff up over the network, you will likely have a bandwidth cap MUCH lower than the IO limit of some high RPM SATA disks

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