Results 1 to 34 of 34
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    UK and Hong Kong
    Posts
    243

    Buildinga VPS Server

    Hello all,

    We run a number of VPS servers using standard hardware

    i.e. Single CPU, 4GB RAM, 250 - 500GB HDDs in RAID1

    and are considering consolidating all of our servers into 1, or at least fewer more powerful machines.

    I have been thinking this would be a good solution.

    Intel I7 970 (6 Core)
    24GB RAM
    3[Or More] x 1TB HDD (in Raid 5)

    Running XEN virtualizer.

    I am leaning towards this over a Dual CPU Xeons with the same RAM as i7 setup is significantly cheaper. Not so much the CPU, but the RAM. Being in HK, most hardware is relatively cheap compared to the U.S. and Europe.

    My question is, does anyone have any experience with both the i7 and Xeon configs with regards to VPS? Does the XEON perform better? Is the extra cost worth it?

    Appreciate the opinions.

    Cheers!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Colombia
    Posts
    2,143
    It mostly performs the same, talking about CPUs, but a Dual Xeon with HT will do best, also, try using RAID 10
    Diego Rodríguez B. - https://diegorbaquero.com
    CS Student, Geek, Software Engineer, Developer

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    UK and Hong Kong
    Posts
    243
    Well I am mainly concerned with weather or not the extra cost of a XEON is going to provide me any real improvment in performance or reliability. I can do RAID 10 on either config.

    What makes the XEON so expensive is the RAM. ECC reg ram is MUCH more expensive than standard DDR2/3.

  4. #4
    With a small budget I'd buy a few (5?) 1U nodes (Supermicro duel Motherboard), say quad core, with as much ram as you can afford to put in.

    Then have one (or two) storage servers Core 2 Duo, RAID 10+ and link the storage server up on a separate V/LAN.

    It all depends on your budget though .

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Atlanta, Jawja
    Posts
    3,066
    Another strong vote for RAID10 over a RAID5 set up.

    An even better config would be a RAID1 (OS) + RAID10 (Customer accounts) configuration.
    Douglas Hazard - Certifiable Sports Junkie and Sports Community Enthusiast

    Host of Two Cents Radio - Follow @TwoCentsRadio on Twitter (@BearlyDoug on Twitter)

  6. #6
    I would definitely go with Xeon, because ECC ram is critical to running a reliable server. Sure, if you're renting one dedicated server, and you don't mind if it crashes a bit more often, or silently corrupts your data, you can get by without ECC to save a couple bucks. When you're running a dozen VPS servers for clients who have no idea what kind of hardware you're running, it's pretty important to use ECC, because even one extra system crash a month is going to be a big deal when it's multiplied by dozens of clients. Also, when someone buys a VPS, they haven't made the tradeoff to use desktop hardware like they might if they bought the whole server; they assume you're using proper gear.

    If you're *just* interested in performance, and not reliability, then yes, the i7 is perfectly fine, and you can use that instead of the xeon line. The same clocked i7 will perform the same as a Xeon and save a bit of money.

    The xeon platform doesn't have to be *that* much more expensive, as even ecc / registered ram has come way down in price. If you're only doing 16gb ram, you can also get away with ECC unregistered ram, which is about 25% cheaper than registered. The Xeon X3460 is the sweet spot for price / performance right now in the Xeon line, and I would certainly recommend that instead of a dual socket setup, as the dual socket xeons cost more and clock lower. The main reason to go with dual socket is if you need boatloads of ram, but even that is less important these days, as the X3460's can support 32gb in 4x8gb sticks, and the 8gb sticks have come way down in price recently.

    I would also definitely strongly recommend raid 10 over raid 5. Not even a close comparison.
    Phoenix Dedicated Servers -- IOFLOOD.com
    Email: sales [at] ioflood.com
    Skype: iofloodsales
    Backup Storage VPS -- 1TBVPS.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    UK and Hong Kong
    Posts
    243
    So what exactly is the benefit over RAID10 over RAID5 (assuming raid is achieved using HW rather than software.

    As for budget, hard to say. We are just trying to get the biggest bang for our buck so to speak.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    UK and Hong Kong
    Posts
    243
    Thanks for your detailed reply FunkyWizard. Perhaps you are right but I seriously doubt I can buy ECC Reg ram for anything close to the price of non ECC ram.

    In HK, 4GB DDR3 RAM with 1,333MHz is only US$40

    The ECC stuff I'm sure cost more than twice this much.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    7,200
    RAID5 is designed for storage system redundancy so performance is very subpar. RAID10 combines aspects of RAID1 and RAID0 for both redundancy and performance benefits.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    UK and Hong Kong
    Posts
    243
    So a raid 10 would mean I need 4x drives and I would get the capacity of 2?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    The Not So Deep South
    Posts
    929
    Quote Originally Posted by HHKNet View Post
    So a raid 10 would mean I need 4x drives and I would get the capacity of 2?
    At least 4 drives or multiples of 4 and yes, you get 50% of the space as usable.
    Hostigation.com - High Resource Hosting
    WHM/cPanel Servers for Hosting and Dedicated Needs
    SolusVM VPS Hosting - Big Features, Small Prices
    Like us on Facebook or follow @hostigation on Twitter

  12. #12
    raid 5 performs like crap for writes, raid 10 doesn't.
    Phoenix Dedicated Servers -- IOFLOOD.com
    Email: sales [at] ioflood.com
    Skype: iofloodsales
    Backup Storage VPS -- 1TBVPS.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    UK and Hong Kong
    Posts
    243
    << removed response to removed post >>


    How about SSDs? I realize they cost an arm and a leg and they have limited number of read/writes, but the performance is supposed to be amazing. Any opinions?

    As for RAID 5, I have a hardware raid5 card that does 600MB/s write speed.
    Last edited by writespeak; 02-09-2011 at 05:40 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    The Not So Deep South
    Posts
    929
    Quote Originally Posted by HHKNet View Post
    Haha.


    How about SSDs? I realize they cost an arm and a leg and they have limited number of read/writes, but the performance is supposed to be amazing. Any opinions?

    As for RAID 5, I have a hardware raid5 card that does 600MB/s write speed.
    SSD is not going to be a good solution as it has much slower write speeds but can be useful in combination with spinning platters.

    RAID5 is more suited for long term, rarely accessed storage, where RAID10/50/60 would be much more suitable for active filesystems such as needed for a VPS. You say you have a RAID card already, which make/model, I highly doubt it only does RAID5, more likely RAID0/1/5/6/10/50/60 or some combination.
    Hostigation.com - High Resource Hosting
    WHM/cPanel Servers for Hosting and Dedicated Needs
    SolusVM VPS Hosting - Big Features, Small Prices
    Like us on Facebook or follow @hostigation on Twitter

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    3,077
    Dont do it, as others have said you ideally need to be looking at RAID10.

    If you are working with 7200RPM SATA disks, then I would want 6/8 disks in RAID-10 with a strong hardware RAID controller for a machine with 24GB RAM.

    Again as others have said, Xeon CPUs support multiple bit error correction on memory (ECC) giving you better stability. It's more initial cost, but it's worth it in the long-run.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    UK and Hong Kong
    Posts
    243
    I cant remember the model off the top of my head but I believe it was a 3Ware. No it does other kinds of raid as well. It supports up to 8 drives and as I recall also supports RAID 6 and Raid 10. It was an expensive bit of kit to say the least!

    There is a battery backup which attributes to it's fast write speeds of 600MB/s.

    SSDs have slower write speeds? Perhaps the cheap ones... In any case, I couldn't justify the cost of SSD's. When 500GB HDDs cost a mere US$35, you're better off buying 8 of them and having it all in RAID10 :-)

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    3,077
    3Wares are good, but as they are not made any more (Bought out by LSI) they tend to be expensive.

    I would strongly reccomend Adaptec 2405 for 4 disk setups, or Adaptec 5405 for larger setups.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    UK and Hong Kong
    Posts
    243
    Thanks for the input PCS Chris. I may take your advice. After all, failure of a production VPS server will be much more costly than the initial investment.

    Now the question is, is a dual CPU worth it?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    The Not So Deep South
    Posts
    929
    Quote Originally Posted by HHKNet View Post
    When 500GB HDDs cost a mere US$35, you're better off buying 8 of them and having it all in RAID10 :-)
    As long as your case will accommodate 8 drives, but do not buy desktop drives, check the 3ware site for compatible drives, you will not see any desktop drives listed except the Hitachi 7k Deskstar's, you are looking at $70-80 per 500gb drive for enterprise class 7200RPM drives new, but you can find $40-50 used as well from time to time.
    Hostigation.com - High Resource Hosting
    WHM/cPanel Servers for Hosting and Dedicated Needs
    SolusVM VPS Hosting - Big Features, Small Prices
    Like us on Facebook or follow @hostigation on Twitter

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    UK and Hong Kong
    Posts
    243
    I have been using the 3ware RAID card for years (and I do mean YEARS) and they have worked perfectly fine with my standard Seagate 7200RPM 160GB HDDs.

    Our cases support only up to 6 drives (at least 6 hot swap ones). However, I think we may just go for 4 drives and get larger disks.

    I do have 1 query about RAID 10. As it works using RAID 1 and RAID0, I take it this means that potentially up-to 2 drives can fail and the system will still run providing the 2 drives are part of the same 'cluster'? Not that I plan on allowing more than 1 drive to fail.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    The Not So Deep South
    Posts
    929
    RAID10 is two RAID1 sub-array's stripped via RAID0, so you can lose 1 drive from each sub-array without data loss, but you are correct, if you have two drive failures in the same sub-array, the entire array is lost.
    Hostigation.com - High Resource Hosting
    WHM/cPanel Servers for Hosting and Dedicated Needs
    SolusVM VPS Hosting - Big Features, Small Prices
    Like us on Facebook or follow @hostigation on Twitter

  22. #22
    I'd go for RAID10 too.
    <<< Please see Forum Guidelines for signature setup. >>>

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    UK and Hong Kong
    Posts
    243
    Alright, I'm convinced! RAID 10 over 5. I'm still not convinced about the ECC RAM though... without any added performance, paying twice the price seems a bit much.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by HHKNet View Post
    Alright, I'm convinced! RAID 10 over 5. I'm still not convinced about the ECC RAM though... without any added performance, paying twice the price seems a bit much.
    It's about stability and reliability, not performance. An ECC system is less likely to crash, and less likely to corrupt data. If those things don't matter to you, then sure, going without ECC is fine. It's a choice I personally might make running my own servers, but it's not something I would want someone to choose for me without me knowing.
    Phoenix Dedicated Servers -- IOFLOOD.com
    Email: sales [at] ioflood.com
    Skype: iofloodsales
    Backup Storage VPS -- 1TBVPS.com

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    UK and Hong Kong
    Posts
    243
    Quote Originally Posted by funkywizard View Post
    It's about stability and reliability, not performance. An ECC system is less likely to crash, and less likely to corrupt data. If those things don't matter to you, then sure, going without ECC is fine. It's a choice I personally might make running my own servers, but it's not something I would want someone to choose for me without me knowing.
    That's a fair comment. But in all honesty, how MUCH more reliable is it? Are there any figures or statistics around?

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by HHKNet View Post
    That's a fair comment. But in all honesty, how MUCH more reliable is it? Are there any figures or statistics around?
    Good question:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-10370026-264.html

    4,000 errors per year
    That may not sound like a high fraction, but bear these factors in mind, too: each memory module experienced an average of nearly 4,000 correctible errors per year, and unlike your PC, Google servers use error correction code (ECC) that can nip most of those problems in the bud. That means an correctable error on a Google machine likely is an uncorrectable error on your computer, said Peter Glaskowsky, an analyst at the Envisioneering Group (and member of CNET's blog network).
    Phoenix Dedicated Servers -- IOFLOOD.com
    Email: sales [at] ioflood.com
    Skype: iofloodsales
    Backup Storage VPS -- 1TBVPS.com

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    UK and Hong Kong
    Posts
    243
    Am I understanding this correctly?

    Previous research, such as some data from a 300-computer cluster, showed that memory modules had correctable error rates of 200 to 5,000 failures per billion hours of operation. Google, though, found the rate much higher: 25,000 to 75,000 failures per billion hours.
    Now, 1 billion hours is equal to 114,000 years. That would suggest that there are approx 1 - 3 correctable errors every 5 years?

    Now would that be per memory module or per server?


  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by HHKNet View Post
    Am I understanding this correctly?



    Now, 1 billion hours is equal to 114,000 years. That would suggest that there are approx 1 - 3 correctable errors every 5 years?

    Now would that be per memory module or per server?

    It's not clear to me from the report, as they seem to be showing conflicting values. I would think per module.

    Which, even though that number of errors is a big deal to google, is probably not a big deal in general. The main thing is where they show that if you have one correctable error on a module, you tend to have a lot more errors. So ram that is defective will show a lot of errors, and ram that is not defective is unlikely to show any (big surprise there), whereas ECC can mask the effects of bad ram for a period of time until you can replace it.
    Phoenix Dedicated Servers -- IOFLOOD.com
    Email: sales [at] ioflood.com
    Skype: iofloodsales
    Backup Storage VPS -- 1TBVPS.com

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    UK and Hong Kong
    Posts
    243
    Quote Originally Posted by funkywizard View Post
    It's not clear to me from the report, as they seem to be showing conflicting values. I would think per module.

    Which, even though that number of errors is a big deal to google, is probably not a big deal in general. The main thing is where they show that if you have one correctable error on a module, you tend to have a lot more errors. So ram that is defective will show a lot of errors, and ram that is not defective is unlikely to show any (big surprise there), whereas ECC can mask the effects of bad ram for a period of time until you can replace it.
    Also a very good point. This brings me back to, is it really worth the extra cost?

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by HHKNet View Post
    Also a very good point. This brings me back to, is it really worth the extra cost?
    To me it is, to you, I can't answer that question for you. If you look around, you can find ECC ram for around $75 per 4gb, and non ECC for around $40-50 per 4gb. On a server with 32gb of ram, so maybe $600 vs $400 or so. If the total system has a $350 cpu, $200 motherboard, $200 case + psu, 4 hard drives at $150 each, you're looking at a total system cost of around $1700 vs $1900. So the cost difference isn't *that* huge looking at the total cost of the system.

    Now, on the other hand, if you go with a desktop case to save some money ($50 vs $200), go with a desktop motherboard to save some money ($50-100 vs $200), and maybe use smaller or fewer hard drives, then sure, the extra money for ECC is a lot more substantial at that point, and I wouldn't see the point in going with it.
    Phoenix Dedicated Servers -- IOFLOOD.com
    Email: sales [at] ioflood.com
    Skype: iofloodsales
    Backup Storage VPS -- 1TBVPS.com

  31. #31
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    UK and Hong Kong
    Posts
    243
    Our company is based in HK and parts are significantly cheaper. Particulary those which are popular amongst the general population. Server equipment is not so popular and therefore pricing is generally more than double.

    Certainly, most of what you have listed is much more than what we would be looking to spend.

    For example, we can purchase cases (the same cases sold in Europe and USA) for less than half the price, simply because we can source them direct from the manufacturer in China. We need not pay hefty shipping fees, not TAX (no TAX in HK).

    4GB DDR3 RAM at 1333MHz from Kingston or Corsair would cost a mere US$35.
    A good 2U Case with 6 hotswap drive slots cost just $125.
    (Non hotswap is just $50-$60.)
    1TB Seagate Hard drives are closer to $90 for Segate 7200 SATAII
    A high quality PSU for $30 or (Dual Redundant PSU for $100)

    The cost is therefore mostly down to CPU/Motherboard and RAM.

    I would expect a server motherboard to be twice that of a normal ATX motherboard of 'similar quality'. Normal being $150 - $200 and server being $300 - 400.

    A Xeon X5670 (2.93Ghz) cost over $1,500. On the other hand, an Intel i7 970 (3.2Ghz) cost less than $890. Both are 6 cores.

    So if we assume

    i7 Version cost = (Mobo = $200, CPU = $890, HDD = $400, PSU = $30, Case = $60, RAM = $300) TOTAL = $1,880

    Xeon Version (w/ ECC) = (Mobo = $300, CPU = $1500, HDD = $400, PSU = $30, Case = $60, RAM = $600) TOTAL = $2,890

    A total difference of $1010, assuming more upper price bound for the i7, and the lower price bound for the Xeon. Considering the Xeon has a clockspeed of 0.3Ghz less than the i7, it seems that the performance could be even worse while spending 54% more.

    Don't get me wrong, I fully understand the need for high quality equipment that is slightly more reliable than others. But anyone who needs that kindof reliability would probably get a dedicated server for themselves... wouldn't they? After all, there are far more things that could go wrong than RAM when it comes to sharing a server.
    Last edited by HHKNet; 02-10-2011 at 08:11 PM.

  32. #32
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    The Not So Deep South
    Posts
    929
    maybe a better way to look at this is cost over time.

    1900/36=53
    2900/36=80

    So a mere $25/mo over the average usable life of the server. You can already charge a premium for the service being based in Hong Kong, but you can also charge a premium, or retain more customers just on the advertising value of the hardware.

    I think you might want to look closer at costs as I don't think you are very close on a few items, as I've seen SuperMicro motherboards for that socket in the $225-$275 range in the US

    Also, I really don't think clockspeed is much of a factor when we are only talking 300MHz, and with both chips being 6 core, you are not going to want to load up more then about 16gb of ram in either configuration as the I/O with RAID10 on 4 SATAII drives is going to bottleneck along with CPU when you've used about that much memory, maybe a little less, maybe a little more.

    I think you might be making yourself crazy in the head without knowing the type of service you want to roll out and the type of service your customers are going to want in more detail to make smarter purchasing decisions. And rolling something out on a slimmer budget might give you a better look at what to use for the longer term to meet those needs.
    Hostigation.com - High Resource Hosting
    WHM/cPanel Servers for Hosting and Dedicated Needs
    SolusVM VPS Hosting - Big Features, Small Prices
    Like us on Facebook or follow @hostigation on Twitter

  33. #33
    Yeah, I think a few things are off compared to how I would configure it. It's more of a fair comparison to look at the x3460 on the Xeon side, as it costs about $350. IIRC, the equivalent i7 is about $100 cheaper. Sure, you could go with a 6 core cpu, but you'd really just be better off in real dollar terms getting a whole second server.

    2 servers each with 16gb ram, 2 hard drives, and an X3460 cpu, is going to be quite a lot cheaper than one server with 32gb ram, 4 hard drives and a 6 core intel processor. It'll use a bit more power to have 2 such servers, but each server will use a bit less power individually as it has less ram and drives.

    As to hard drives, yes the seagates are pretty cheap. I personally won't touch those, but yes, you can get them for about the same price over here as well. Certainly a case + psu with 6 hot swap bays for under $200 total is a great deal, we can't touch that over here.

    As to motherboards, the server grade ones I'm using are more in the $200 range. I wouldn't expect to pay $400+ unless I want something that supports dual cpu sockets. Similarly, I expect the kind of desktop grade boards I would consider buying to be in the $100 range.

    Either way, I would probably go all or nothing in terms of cheap vs expensive:

    Cheap:

    desktop board
    desktop ram
    i7 quad core processor
    desktop hard drives
    cheap case (tower or non-hotswap)

    not necessarily a bad system, and quite a lot cheaper than the more expensive "server grade" stuff:

    Server board with IPMI
    ecc ram
    xeon quad core processor
    western digital raid edition hard drives with TLER
    hot swap rackmount case with 80+ or better power supply

    the above is clearly a better system but will be significantly more expensive. I don't really see much point in going halfway between the two extremes, getting all server grade everything and then cheaping out on the ram, or getting all expensive everything and then getting crappy hard drives. The incremental cost difference is small for each of those options, so there's no point in having a system that is cheap everyone but one place, nor much point in having a system that's server grade, except for one thing that's not.

    Overall though, isn't bandwidth really the limiting factor here? I was under the impression that quality b/w in HK is so obscenely expensive, that the cost of the hardware itself really isn't a major factor in the cost of the system?
    Phoenix Dedicated Servers -- IOFLOOD.com
    Email: sales [at] ioflood.com
    Skype: iofloodsales
    Backup Storage VPS -- 1TBVPS.com

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    UK and Hong Kong
    Posts
    243
    Haha.

    All very good points. Although the reliability may only be slightly better, I am starting to lean towards it a little more.

    And yes you are right, the X3460 is a much cheaper option. Looking at the price of the X3440, at only US$220 a piece, this may very well be an option worth exploring. I am actually considering a Dual Xeon model now as it may very well be cheaper.

    Actually I was really thinking of only 24GB RAM, but hey, why not go all out and get the 32GB instead .

    Overall though, isn't bandwidth really the limiting factor here? I was under the impression that quality b/w in HK is so obscenely expensive, that the cost of the hardware itself really isn't a major factor in the cost of the system?
    This is very true! International bandwidth is a real killer. But local bandwidth is not... I'm hoping we can promote our service more to the local market. Strangely our client base is almost entirely overseas...

    But the main reason for the high amount of RAM is that overselling on RAM is not something I want to be doing on a VPS. In fact, I don't think HyperVM allows the overselling of RAM... so even if it is unused, the more the better.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 7
    Last Post: 09-26-2009, 11:22 AM
  2. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 05-05-2009, 04:19 PM
  3. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-08-2006, 09:32 PM
  4. Replies: 17
    Last Post: 09-25-2006, 09:27 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •