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MIS Systems Thread, New SIMS Server RAID 5 or 10 in Technical; I am in the process of speccing (is that even a word?) a new SIMS Server. Its going to be ...
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    fiza's Avatar
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    New SIMS Server RAID 5 or 10

    I am in the process of speccing (is that even a word?) a new SIMS Server. Its going to be a DellT710 with 2 Processors and loads of RAM. I am going for RAID 1 for the OS but am not sure if I should go RAID 5 or 10 for the Data and more essentially SQL. Will I see a noticeable difference in SIMS performance with RAID 10 over 5? As its primarily going to be a SIMS Server I am not concerned with losing disk storage to RAID 10 but want to know if its worth the effort.

    If any of you SIMS experts could comment I would be greatful.
    Last edited by fiza; 9th May 2011 at 07:34 PM.

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    jinnantonnixx's Avatar
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    I'd suggest Raid 5 for the data and raid 10 for the log files.

    I've got some excellent articles which explain why this is a good choice, but they're bookmarked in work. I'll post them tomorrow.

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    The general advice is to never put SQL (or heavily used DBs) onto RAID 5. RAID 1, 10, maybe 6. It's to do with poor I/O performance. Our SIMS server is on RAID 1 (as the server only has two disks!) and works nicely. Obviously it'll have downtime if a disk fails though.

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    zag
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    I would never use RAID on a Sims/SQL server.

    Personally I would put Sims on a hyper-v server and make it redundant that way.

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    fiza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zag View Post
    I would never use RAID on a Sims/SQL server.

    Personally I would put Sims on a hyper-v server and make it redundant that way.
    So you would virtualise the whole SIMS Server? I have never dipped into Virtualisation but with buying a new Server it might be an option. How easy/hard is it to accomplish? I have purchased 2008 R2 Enterprise which I think comes with 4 licences to virtualise but do I need to purchase anything else?

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    jinnantonnixx's Avatar
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    Here's one of the articles I mentioned. It's well worth taking the time to digest this. There's an excellent section covering RAID and databases starting on page 11.

    http://www.computationpress.com/imag...sk_001_10a.pdf


    As an aside, we've virtualised our SQL server, the OS is on a general virtual disk, the data volume is on a RAID 5 RDM disk, the log volume is on a RAID 10 RDM disk. The OS's temp and SQL tempdb is on yet another volume.
    Last edited by jinnantonnixx; 10th May 2011 at 10:21 AM.

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiza View Post
    So you would virtualise the whole SIMS Server? I have never dipped into Virtualisation but with buying a new Server it might be an option. How easy/hard is it to accomplish? I have purchased 2008 R2 Enterprise which I think comes with 4 licences to virtualise but do I need to purchase anything else?
    Definitely virtualise the whole thing, if you are going for something new, then defo virtualise, it's so handy to snapshot prior to an upgrade and just undo if things go wrong. You'll need to choose a virtualisation provider, either free/built-in with windows hyper-v or something else, such as vmware or citrix xen amongst the mainstream.

    We toyed with hyper-v but decided it was worth the expense (it's costs a lot, per proc), to go with vmware as we have limited resources and it's very good at handling them well, with little waste.

    All the recommendations that @jinnantonnixx mentioned are a given, though unfortunately we don't have a large SAN or NAS that we can use with our blades, so unfortunately the whole thing has just been lumped on one big raid 6 array.

    It is very easy to accomplish, there are plenty of other threads regarding this, from choice of VM technology to how to set it up. You can convert your old physical server to a virtual one, and start using straight away, that's what i did and ran it for a year, then at easter moved to a new VM based on 2008 R2 over easter.

    If you do go with Hyper-V, i'd recommend doing the basic bare metal install, so it's a cut down version of Windows, so you can maximise resources. You'll still lose a spot of RAM to run the OS, but it's acceptable for the cost savings.

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    fiza's Avatar
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    @vikpaw - Money is an issue for us. We have purchased Enterprise 2008 R2 so will have to use Hyper-V. Never touched virtualisation so its a bit daunting. I have looked at DISK2VHD from Sysinternals(Microsoft) and this looks like it may work for virtualising our current SIMS Server. Can you virtualise the SIMS Server whilst its running ? (Obviously not when users are accessing it). The idea would be to virtualise it and then switch the original off. See if the new virtualised one works otherwise switch the old one back on again. I also need to upgrade from Sql 2008 express to SQL Standard 2008 R2 so best to do this before or after virtualisation?
    Last edited by fiza; 14th May 2011 at 11:01 PM. Reason: spelling mistake

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    Sysinternals are ace, so i'd use them, there are other converters out there, i'm sure there was another one for Hyper-V, but maybe it is that one. Not such a great issue which flavour you use, personal preference really, the new Hyper-V is getting better and better. Just make sure you use the pure virtualisation mode, so it does a minimal OS install, not full fledged windows.

    You would have to do the convert while system is on, sims doesn't have to be running, it's not bothered what is running, so ideally the more services that are off the better, plus it maintains integrity of your system by not having users logged in accidentally.

    Do it prior to upgrading SQL, you don't want to mess with your working server if you can help it.

    Depending on how old / clean your old server is, you might want to just do a clean install instead of a conversion. So just start a fresh virtualised server, especially if you might plan to upgrade OS at some point too.

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    fiza (15th May 2011)

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    fiza's Avatar
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    Our SIMS server is about 4 years old and SIMS was moved onto it from an older Server. I like your idea of creating the Virtual Server then moving SIMS to it. As the current SIMS is on SQL Express I guess I would It be better installing SQL Express in the virtual server, installing SIMS and then upgrading to SQL Full?
    When you say "pure virtualisation" mode do you mean install Server Core or is this a setting in Hyper-V?

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    Yes, server core, that's what it's called, so you don't install the extra gumpf that comes with standard windows. There is a really good thread somewhere that discussed hyper-v and also one where it mentioned particular security flaws in it. It still needs patching like windows, but it's not as bad as full fledged windows.

    One thing to bear in mind when virtualising is how you will backup, and if your current software will still work, our Backup Exec needs an update.

    I did a physical to virtual migration because i wanted less hassle and needed the physical server for something else. You could just make a clean virtual machine, you'll want to be making a base install that you can clone for other uses anyway. I wouldn't bother installing express, just go straight for full SQL, and you should be fine to move the files over. Again, there is another thread that discusses the move of SIMS to a new machine. Somewhere i documented my new Server 2k8R2 and SQL 2k8 R2 install as well. Very straight forward using the SIMS Spring installable media from 2010, then upgrading to Spring 2011.

    Shout if you cant find the other threads or need anything else.

  13. Thanks to vikpaw from:

    fiza (15th May 2011)

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