help configuring a db server

Eric Rostetter rostetter at
Wed Feb 10 15:35:06 CST 2010

Quoting "John G. Heim" <jheim at>:

> to go) and mysql. We have databases  for spamassassin bayesian rules,
> drupal, moodle, imp (webmail), and our own private data.  Our private data
> is pretty small with the biggest table containing under 10,000 records. We
> do have a table with about 4,00 PDF docs in a blob field.
> I think we can get a machine with a quad core, 32 Gb of RAM, and 300 Gb disk

Sounds fine to me.  I recommend, when possible, a minimum of 1 CPU and 1 GB
memory per database.  Since you mention 5 databases, that means 5 CPUs (cores)
and 5 GB memory minimum.  Since you can't buy 5 cores, a single quad core
would be okay (a dual quad core even better).  But your spec sounds fine
to me.

> for under $6000. But I'm confused about disk. I would think disk pspeed
> would be fairly important. How can I configure a machine with a fast disk?
> What are my options from Dell in that regard?

Get the fastest RAID controller you can and are comfortable with, and as many
of the fastest disks you can afford as you can fit in the machine.

Since you want to stay under $6000, using SSD or FusionIO is probably out.
I would think (haven't verified) that you could buy 4 (or 5) 15K RPM SAS
drives in your price range, setup as a RAID 10.  If not, try 10K RPM SAS
drives.  If that fails, well, there is always SATA...

I personally like to buy 7 drives: 2 RAID-1 for the OS, 4 RAID-10 for the
MySQL databases, and 1 hotspare.  But, if you need to keep costs down, you
can dump the RAID 1 and just do 5 drives (RAID 10 plus hot-spare).

You'd have to spec all that one Dell's web site to see if it comes in
under $6K.  If not, just start dropping down until you hit your mark
(from 7 drives to 5, from 15K SAS to 10K SAS to SATA).

Eric Rostetter
The Department of Physics
The University of Texas at Austin

Go Longhorns!

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