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Old server, new gear.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hey! WoT Disclaimer: I know this is a crapload of text and info. Sorry if TLTR. This is in part, my own public musing, and any helpful recommendation is appreciated.

Rather than replacing, I'm upgrading an old Supermicro server (circa ~2006, 2007?). Mobo model is the Supermicro H8DA8-2. The thing is still going strong with no hiccups. It's built to last, despite obsolescence. After upgrades, it will be enough to run what's needed for years to come (given no hardware failures).

The current, weaksauce setup:
  • CPU: AMD Opteron 2212 (single chip, Passmark score: pitiful 1270)
  • RAM: 2 GB of DDR2 400
  • Storage: Hitachi "Deathstar" HDS721680PLA380 HDDs (2 disks, one shows as "offline" in disk mgmt. Is that a Windows disk copy/mirror?).
  • OS: Windows Server (2007, Enterprise, the "Vista" based one)

Planned upgrades:
  • CPU: dual-CPUs using two Opteron 8425 High Efficiency chips (available and affordable. Dual CPU Passmark score: 7359).
  • RAM: 16GB (4x4GB) DDR2 800 (Reg. ECC, 8GB per each CPU)
  • Storage: Mirrored SSDs - my entire reason for posting

***My main objective***:
  • To use SSDs, for their reliability and access speed, in the best method of implementation possible for this system.

Caveats, notes:
  • To my shame, I've not yet opened the server case to look inside. (It's usually in use.)
  • For SATA, the mobo only supports up to SATA2 (3.0 GB/s) rate.
  • Side note: The mobo also has Ultra320 SCSI (currently in use?? see question SCSI).
  • Side note: The server will continue to be powered by a backup UPS.

My questions:
  • Am I missing something with the drive setup? Just slap in 2 SATA3 SSDs in JBOD, and use Windows for a software drive mirror?
  • Should I really be using hardware RAID instead? This mobo uses an nVidia MCP55 Pro SATA2 controller with nVidia RAID 2.0.
  • SCSI: Ummm not really relevant, but the current HDDs are SATA, yet they are showing as SCSI HDDs. What gives? Is there something like Intel's "Rapid Storage Tech" going on, perhaps built into the mobo or its Windows drivers? Or did they use some kind of SCSI backplane? Note, this is not SAS. tongue.gif
  • Any recommendations on what SSDs to use? I was figuring on some decent SATA3, probably Samsungs.

My own findings, closing thoughts:
  • Obviously, using SSDs will still be a nice performance improvement, to say nothing of (power savings and heat reduction, and hopefully reliability).
    • My own SATA3 maxes out a conventional HDD sequential r/w at 124/122 MB/s (won't be any slower on SATA2). HDD-SATA3-maxrw.jpg 89k .jpg file
    • I read here that SATA2 maxes out at an effective seq. r/w of 265/232 (MB/s) using an SSD.
  • SSDs benefit from (but don't require) such hardware commands as the ATA TRIM and SCSI UNMAP, but too-bad-so-sad the OS and HW predate them. (ref here, here).

Thanks for reading, and especially for replying with any help. I love you, OCN. heart.gifwink.gif

Afterthoughts:
This board also has PCIe slots, and plenty of them.
  • Should I use PCIe SSDs instead? (They seem prohibitively expensive where low latency and high bandwidth aren't of paramount importance.)
  • Should I use a RAID card with a more modern controller?
  • Will these potentially be more trouble than they are worth?

Edited by Slink - 1/19/16 at 1:17pm
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post #2 of 9
What is the server's primary purpose? Surely not storage if you're looking at ssd only setup.
post #3 of 9
Quote:
•CPU: dual-CPUs using two Opteron 8425 High Efficiency chips (available and affordable. Dual CPU Passmark score: 7359).

Be carefull with passmark multi CPU page : some listings are for Quad CPU, not Dual. The 7359 score is for Quad 8425 HE opterons, so Dual should be like half of it.

There seems to be faster alternatives for dual socket F, like the 8435 or 8439 SE
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake87 View Post

What is the server's primary purpose? Surely not storage if you're looking at ssd only setup.
Right, and the current storage is a lame 80GB or something. What were they thinking? It's just a dentist office computer, used for RDP stations, practice management, office apps, etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by OliG View Post

Be carefull with passmark multi CPU page : some listings are for Quad CPU, not Dual. The 7359 score is for Quad 8425 HE opterons, so Dual should be like half of it.

There seems to be faster alternatives for dual socket F, like the 8435 or 8439 SE
Damn! Good call, thanks for checking me on that. Bummer. Those faster chips run much hotter. TDPs are 8435:115W and 8439:137W. Probably a bit of an excessive TDP for comfort.

Well, the two 8425 HE chips should be sufficient for a few years. Without replacing the old but high quality server, this is what I can do, right?

So what about the SSDs? Maybe there's not so much to think about. Maybe I'm crazy. I'm crazy, right? wink.gif
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Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
250G B'cuda, 1T Samsung Sony Optiarc DVD-RW AD-7170S black Coolermaster Hyper 212 plus Windows 7 Ultimate x64 
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Asus LCD 1680*1050 Microsoft Natural 4000 Antec Truepower 2.0 480w blue Coolermaster Centurion 5 (blk/slvr+windw) 
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
I think I'm spinning my wheels here. For performance, the bang/buck is unbeatable if I just replace the rig with current hardware. Example:

The OS is technically considered Windows Server 2008. This article says I can migrate the OS as long as the new hardware is of the same firmware interface type (either UEFI or BIOS, must be same as original system).
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250G B'cuda, 1T Samsung Sony Optiarc DVD-RW AD-7170S black Coolermaster Hyper 212 plus Windows 7 Ultimate x64 
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Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
250G B'cuda, 1T Samsung Sony Optiarc DVD-RW AD-7170S black Coolermaster Hyper 212 plus Windows 7 Ultimate x64 
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Asus LCD 1680*1050 Microsoft Natural 4000 Antec Truepower 2.0 480w blue Coolermaster Centurion 5 (blk/slvr+windw) 
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post #6 of 9
I would steer clear of hardware raid solutions involving SSD's as well, unless you're planning on using them in HBA mode. We're just now starting to see LSI/Avago make controllers that support garbage collection for RAID configurations, and their latest generation of controllers are not cheap. Keep in mind that controller manufacturers will say that their controller supports SSD's, but RAID support is generally limited and will put a lot of wear on them.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
@Flying Toilet ok, thanks. That's very good to know. Seems like OS drive mirroring is best redundancy method for now. Lol at your name BTW- Half-Life 2 gravity gun comes to mind.
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250G B'cuda, 1T Samsung Sony Optiarc DVD-RW AD-7170S black Coolermaster Hyper 212 plus Windows 7 Ultimate x64 
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Asus LCD 1680*1050 Microsoft Natural 4000 Antec Truepower 2.0 480w blue Coolermaster Centurion 5 (blk/slvr+windw) 
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Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
250G B'cuda, 1T Samsung Sony Optiarc DVD-RW AD-7170S black Coolermaster Hyper 212 plus Windows 7 Ultimate x64 
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Asus LCD 1680*1050 Microsoft Natural 4000 Antec Truepower 2.0 480w blue Coolermaster Centurion 5 (blk/slvr+windw) 
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post #8 of 9
That's where it came from smile.gif
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Haha, love it. So I am a newb- wondering if it's worth migrating the OS (domain controller, etc) to a new server rig. I think it's probably a waste. It's Win Server 2008 R1.
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250G B'cuda, 1T Samsung Sony Optiarc DVD-RW AD-7170S black Coolermaster Hyper 212 plus Windows 7 Ultimate x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Asus LCD 1680*1050 Microsoft Natural 4000 Antec Truepower 2.0 480w blue Coolermaster Centurion 5 (blk/slvr+windw) 
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Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
250G B'cuda, 1T Samsung Sony Optiarc DVD-RW AD-7170S black Coolermaster Hyper 212 plus Windows 7 Ultimate x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Asus LCD 1680*1050 Microsoft Natural 4000 Antec Truepower 2.0 480w blue Coolermaster Centurion 5 (blk/slvr+windw) 
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