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post #11 of 28
If the server is read intensive, then an SSD cache will help, if it's very write intensive as well, you'll just burn through SSDs.
And I've never had a problem with Intel's own brand of enterprise switches... just saying.
Otherwise Turbo is pretty spot on. If you do go Linux, then I recommend something like Debian, SLED, RHEL or CentOS, as these are all built for stability and reliability. Otherwise a Windows server install is the way to go, you will need some of those server features.

And servers always need a decent amount of memory, 4GB would be an absolute minimum, and depending on the tasks you have your server do, then more may well be needed. Add a small database to track the files, and you're looking at a LOT of memory overhead. Remember, most OS will grab un-used memory as cache space for speeding up the stuff it's doing, and memory is 1,000 times faster than an HDD.

I've heard rumours of reliability issues with some early 2TB drives, I'd just buy twice the number of 1TB drives myself, and of course the extra hotswap bays. I always prefer hardware RAID over software, simply because you only lose your array with a hardware failure, a trashed soft-RAID install can wipe the whole array.

CPU wise, you don't need speed, you need cores in the main. An AMD 1055T is a better server chip than a 2500K 99 times out of 100. Never overclock a server, but if you're building it yourself, then do go for enthusiast/clocker cooling, maximum airflow for the least noise. This thing will be on 24/7 and you don't want it sounding like a jet engine *glares at the rackmount P3 server in the corner*...
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post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by allikat;14578551 
I always prefer hardware RAID over software, simply because you only lose your array with a hardware failure, a trashed soft-RAID install can wipe the whole array.

With any storage mechanism, you will run the risk of catastrophic data loss. With hardware RAID cards, if the hardware goes bad - main system RAM, RAID chip or on-board cache RAM (especially the on-board RAM; people here and on [H] have attested to this, with Dell PERCs and Areca controllers), you will get data corruption.

With software RAID, if either the SAS/SATA controller or the main system memory goes bad, you will get data corruption. I can personally attest to this.

Note that in both cases, hardware failures are the issue, rather than the respective firmware or software implementation. In this regard, neither is better or worse than the other.
Edited by parityboy - 8/14/11 at 8:33am
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post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by parityboy;14578344 
@TurboTurtle

Just to pick up on a couple of the points you've made:

1. If you're recommending Linux MD RAID (i.e software RAID) for a RAID setup, why not include ECC RAM, considering this is work machine?

2. Samsung F3Rs: are they actually for sale? I've never seen them in the retailers. tongue.gif

3. I'm glad you make the point about Dell switches. I was actually considering these for my business, along with some Dell servers and workstations; are their switches really that bad?


1. I did though....I'm confused.

2. Last I checked they were available on the Egg. Have to search forthem specifically though. They wont appear under a 'Samsung F3' search for example.

3. Their servers are ok. I'm not a fan but they aren't the worst. Bout the same as proliants from HP. Switches from either are horrendous masssive piles of fail.
    
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post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboTurtle;14583255 
1. I did though....I'm confused.

Here we go:
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboTurtle;14573321 
If the rendering isn't being done on the to-be-built server itself, you don't need anything more than a recent desktop-class dual core. If the server will be doing any rendering at all, then you'd be correct in going to server-class Xeon chips.

Desktop-class Intel chips don't support ECC RAM, as far as I am aware. I would have thought that for a production machine running software RAID, ECC RAM would have been prerequisite?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboTurtle;14583255 
3. Their servers are ok. I'm not a fan but they aren't the worst. Bout the same as proliants from HP. Switches from either are horrendous masssive piles of fail.

heh, thanks for the warning. smile.gif Out of curiosity, which server vendor(s) get(s) your vote?
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post #15 of 28
For rendering you do not absolutely need ECC but it is recommended. If you are on a budget a desktop dual core should be fine, as everyone said, the network will max out before the drives and CPU do.

I could be wrong about parity calculations for RAID tho, the CPU load might be greater then I expect.

SSD cache will probably not be needed because the files are mostly being written and probably only read once per cycle.

I'm not sure about the RAM requirements, I would expect 8 GB to be plenty.
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post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by parityboy;14583587 
Here we go:



Desktop-class Intel chips don't support ECC RAM, as far as I am aware. I would have thought that for a production machine running software RAID, ECC RAM would have been prerequisite?

Oooohhhhhhh I see now. Oversight for not clarifying in my first post. I meant if hegoes server-class to get ECC, as I had un-specifically said later in my post. My bad.


Quote:
heh, thanks for the warning. smile.gif Out of curiosity, which server vendor(s) get(s) your vote?

Lenovo I like a lot. Would say IBM as well, as they're the same hardware, but I don't like giving them my money given their history (nazis). If warranty isn't a concern, obviously I prefer in-house builds due to the cost.
    
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post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by kweechy;14553955 
I'm leaning towards something like this (though it's not a terribly pressing need, would likely make more sense to wait on Sandy-E), but have some questions along the way:

- Xeon E3 1230 @ 3.2GHz, would this be a solid choice or should 1155 be avoided for server use?
- RAID5, 6x WD Caviar Black 2TB, or should I do 5x and setup an SSD CacheCade? (I have no idea how, but I'll learn)
- Dual LAN ports...does this make it possible to run two separate switches and double your bandwidth?
- Not sure what type of case to use. Maybe a 2U or 3U makes the most sense.
- Does Windows Home Server have the ability to support what I'm looking to do? If not, would a Linux server communicate and network nicely enough with Windows machines to allow me to render and pull files in peace?

Now another thing that I was maybe thinking about, is what if I were to build myself a Quad CPU Interlagos machine (once they're out) with 60 cores and a RAID5 setup (essentially a completely awesome server) and simply work off that while the other machines I own pull and write files to it?

Does it make more financial sense to someone like myself to do that? At least with an option like that one, I get an awesome server and an awesome workstation all at the same time. It's just a matter of whether or not I'll run into any issues if my "server" is being taxed by heavy workloads all the time (ie: rendering things while the render farm does as well).

First off, I didn't see it (though I might have missed it) --does your server do any of the back-end rendering work, or is it storage only?

Assuming you just need fast I/O (and no rendering power), I'd probably go with an off-the-shelf rack server with an onboard Serial-Attached-SCSI controller -preferably one that supports RAID 0+1 (a mirrored stripe), giving you the benefit of fast storage, but with a mirrored copy for redundancy. Make sure the controller is a caching one to speed I/O. If the system is mission-critical, I'd go with a redundant power supply, and no matter what, I'd make sure it's on a UPS.

If you're not rendering on it, a single quad-core CPU (possibly with an empty socket for a second one, should your needs change) should be fine, with enough RAM (as others have said, ECC is a good idea) to load your OS and serve as a system cache for I/O operations; 4GB is probably enough. You could run Linux with SMB set up for Windows client access, or you could use Windows Server; I probably wouldn't use Windows Home Server, which is a good product, but not intended for mission-critical work.

Going with someone else's server means you get support from a large company such as Dell, and don't have to worry about it yourself. If the RAID controller tossed its cookies, you'd get a part the next day rather than having to call up vendors and hope you could get one in a week.

If SAS drives sound too expensive for you, you could go with enterprise-class SATA drives, though they won't be as fast. It sounds like you need a fair amount of read/write speed, so I'd look at the 10,000 or 15,000 SAS drives myself. Either way, make sure you have room for a hotspare drive or two in your server, so that if one starts to go, the system can take it out of the array and swap the hotspare in on-the-fly.
Edited by LoneWolf15 - 8/14/11 at 8:52pm
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post #18 of 28
I assume data integrity is quite important ( as you make a living out of these data... )


So my advice would be:

Cheap/cheapest Intel Quad Core or dual core , really CPU is not an issue; RAM is
**** Load of RAM ( ECC preferably )
6 or 10 cheap drives in RAID Z2
"I haz a lot of money" Bonus : Cache / ZIL Drive
A UPS
A 10Gigabit ethernet / fiberband or Multiple INTEL ( The Intel part is important ) 1Gb connections

All on OpenIndiana 151b.

You should be able to sustain 600 Mo/s or more easily. And you have :*

Double redundancy
Checksums : No bit rot, data corruption...
Snapshots ( Oups I deleted my awesome 1 Millions polygons model, I'll just roll back in time )

PS : I think the guy doesn't need to do any rendering on the server... And even if he does we have no idea what programm he is using? If his programm support GPU acceleration? CUDA only? etc....
Edited by darknight670 - 8/17/11 at 10:03am
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post #19 of 28
@darknight

CPU can actually be quite important with ZFS, due to it's checksumming operations, as attested to a test box built here.
Quote:
When we initially decided which hardware components to use, we thought we would not need very much CPU. While we are not doing any type of parity with our storage, we neglected to account for the checksumming that ZFS does to maintain data integrity. This checksumming consumes significantly more processor time than we had originally anticipated. Many tests were using 70% or more of the CPU.

The CPU was a Xeon E5504. ZFS likes a lot of memory too, I'd say 8GB would be a starting point for the OP's needs if he were to implement ZFS.
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post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by parityboy;14617855 
@darknight

CPU can actually be quite important with ZFS, due to it's checksumming operations, as attested to a test box built here.



The CPU was a Xeon E5504. ZFS likes a lot of memory too, I'd say 8GB would be a starting point for the OP's needs if he were to implement ZFS.

Sure CPU is quite important but RAM is in my opinion a lot more important with ZFS. But a Quad Core should be enough to reach 1Go/s with ZFS.
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