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Disk Performance: SATA vs. SCSI vs. SSD
04/25/2012 06:58 AM

Question

I'm in the process of buying some servers for my site. So the host has different servers that use different disk types and configuration (Such as RAID, SATA, SSD, SCSI etc). So in terms of performace for XFileSharing Pro, what type of disks are an ideal choice ?

Answer

While what is about to be said on this article isn't intended to be used as true advise but rather information to help you understand your options more clearly.

Main-Server
Because this server is more important  due to the fact it holds the key data for your site, such as the database.  To ensure the main-server remains at its optimal I/O operations; you can use 10K rpm SATA disks.  Be sure to get 2 of them so that one used as "home" and the other disk will  be used as "daily back-up".  Redundancy, speed and backup makes an ideal main server.
Alternatively; you can also check SCSI type disk since they are just as good.

What about SSD? The reason why SSD isn't recommended is because the database is constantly writing information, this causes a lot of I/O operations but SSD doesn't like this behavior on an XFS Pro site.  
However though SSD's are still a new technology, so if you want to use SSD on the main-server , then it is best to have a LOT of ram  (less stress on paging the disk) and SSD disks must be in RAID config. (if one fails, other disk will still work since both data is 100% identical).  SSD can be useful if your site has a very big database.


File-Server(s)
SSD's on a file-server are not recommended, so no further explaination is required.    
Any RAID-SATA disks will be okay for file-servers (7.2K or 10K),  but ofcourse 10K rpm disks help keep I/O operations at optimal performance, since many users downloading different files at different times can use bottlenecks on the disk thus impacting download transfer rates (especially during peak periods)
To help file-servers and the SATA to stay on low load , it is recommended to ensure there is a lot of ram on the file-server (...yes that's correct, plently of RAM allows offloading data in to the memory to reduce disk paging)

Notes;
- If you are not sure if your server can take RAID configuration or maybe you are not sure of your server support other aforemention disk types, then make sure to seek support from your host. This is because they know the servers on their datacenter better.

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