My database is 3+ gigs, I have 1.5 million posts, nearly 700k members, and my database seems to not be handling too well (I've done optimizations on the server and am running LiteSpeed), So I feel it is time to get a 2nd server added which will run my database.
What server hardware/software is most important for the 2nd server which will only be running my database?
1. Is high amount of ram important? Roughly how much would you recommend?
2. Are the hard drives important? Are these okay WD Raptor 10k drives + hardware raid 1? or Should I get SSD hard drives for this server?
3. Will Raid make a difference for this database server? With a tight budget in mind what would be a good raid set up for money wise.
4. Is the quality of the server the most important? Would this do the job good Dell 1U x3220 Quad-core CPU ? OR should I be looking at getting something else?
5. What software would you recommend be installed on this database server to make the most of it.
Generally, get as much RAM as you can. If you are building a box, you need to at least populate all DIMM channels. (4/ CPU for LGA 2011, 3/ CPU for LGA 1355/ 1366, 2/ for LGA 1155 and 1156.
If you can, best to get enterprise firmware drives when doing RAID. They handle unrecoverable bit errors better when in redundant arrays because they assume there is data to rebuild the lost bits rather than go into heroic recovery mode possibly causing system hangs for the several second duration.
RAID 1 is great as is RAID 10. Software RAID 1/ 10 is generally pretty good if you can.
A Xeon X3220 in a 1U will consume quite a bit of power from the CPU and fans to move the heat if power is a consideration. Speed wise, the X3220 is going to be about equivalent to a Sandy Bridge dual core + hyper threading and something like a E3-1230 will be much faster.
You absolutely should get an SSD. "database starting to run slow" is almost always a disk i/o issue. There may be other issues such as ram, cpu, etc, but almost always disk i/o becomes an issue way before that. A decent SSD can provide 40x the performance of a regular sata drive, or even 10x the performance of a couple of 15k scsi drives. You might even find that getting an SSD in your current server to store the database on will be sufficient that you don't need a separate database server at all.