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My experiment with an SSD-based server

jauburn

Well-known member
#1
Thinking that a server with SSD drives (solely) would dramatically increase the speed of my xenforo board, I moved the site to a SSD server.

Boy was I surprised--not at how much faster it was but at how much faster it was not.

In fact, I noticed very little, if any, speed improvement--certainly not enough to warrant the price premium involved in leasing an SSD server.

My conclusion: save your money. Probably a "normal" server with enough RAM and good caching will perform every bit as quickly as one outfitted with SSD drives.

Does your experience agree/disagree with this?
 

Tracy Perry

Well-known member
#3
Where the SSD's will really help is with mySQL (an as a result your forum) when your DB increases in size.
My sites are running on a dual E5620 with 96GB RAM, 8x1TB SATA HD's, using ProxMox to create VPS's for them. Seems plenty fast enough for me. I debated on SSD's but decided against it for now.
 

Tracy Perry

Well-known member
#5
My sites are hosted on an E3-1225 V2 @ 3.20GHz server with 2 x 120GB Intel SSD DC S3500 Series in raid1, and the sites fly. Went with the SSD's as I don't need 1TB of disk space, and it was only £4 a month more.
Try 3.3TB of disk space. :p
The cost of SSD drives in that capacity was a "little" cost prohibitive for my hobby sites/server that I have. If I was running them to make money off of - then that would have been another matter. For what I do with them the SATA 7200RPM drives are plenty fast enough. (y)
I am looking at eventually purchasing my own server and having it co-lo'd with my current host, but that will be a bit down the road. That server will have SAS drives in it.
 

WSWD

Well-known member
#8
Does your experience agree/disagree with this?
Most people, with normal sites, will never notice the difference. That's because disk i/o is rarely a limiting factor for standard, low-medium traffic sites. For most sites, you wouldn't even notice the difference between a SSD array, and a single slow SATA drive. Sure the access time might be better on the SSD, especially if you're doing disk intensive operations, such as heavy database usage, etc., but honestly, the end user is hardly going to notice the difference.

Where we do notice a difference (and the reason we switched from SAS to pure SSD on all our VPS offerings) is on VPS servers, for example, where the i/o is almost always the limiting factor. You put 30 relatively disk intensive VPSs on a node, and that's where the mechanical arrays start to experience problems, the VPSs slow down, loads increase, etc. Under the same loads, the SSD arrays won't even be working up a sweat.
 

Tracy Perry

Well-known member
#9
Where we do notice a difference (and the reason we switched from SAS to pure SSD on all our VPS offerings) is on VPS servers, for example, where the i/o is almost always the limiting factor. You put 30 relatively disk intensive VPSs on a node, and that's where the mechanical arrays start to experience problems, the VPSs slow down, loads increase, etc. Under the same loads, the SSD arrays won't even be working up a sweat.
And since all my VPS forum nodes meet that (low use) that's why for me right now 7200RPM platters fit the bill. I don't have a ton of VPS's on the server (17 at last count) and none of them are high traffic. If/when the sites get where they need it (and justify it) the hardware will be upgraded. QuadraNet offers some nice servers and I've been really pleased with them so far.

The buying my own server is still a little ways out as I can't justify the 6 digit figure for hardware for a hobby to my boss (the wife). :p
Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 5.35.47 PM.png
 
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WSWD

Well-known member
#10
QuadraNet offers some nice servers and I've been really pleased with them so far.
I knew you would be! :D They are a great provider.

A lot of people are quick to jump on the SSD train because it's the latest and greatest and the talk of the town, but if people really looked at their disk i/o they'd see that they just don't need it. Most people don't do that though, which is why SSD has become so popular in the hosting world. If I were building a dedicated server and didn't need the disk i/o, I would much rather have a RAID10 SATA array just for the redundancy, if nothing else. In a lot of cases (perhaps most), it's still cheaper to put a RAID10 SATA array together than it is a RAID1 SSD setup. Of course the SSD setup will smoke the SATA setup any day of the week and twice on Tuesday, but if you don't need the i/o you're just wasting money.
 

Tracy Perry

Well-known member
#11
I knew you would be! :D They are a great provider.
Yep, and I'm glad I asked you about them!

A lot of people are quick to jump on the SSD train because it's the latest and greatest and the talk of the town, but if people really looked at their disk i/o they'd see that they just don't need it. Most people don't do that though, which is why SSD has become so popular in the hosting world. If I were building a dedicated server and didn't need the disk i/o, I would much rather have a RAID10 SATA array just for the redundancy, if nothing else. In a lot of cases (perhaps most), it's still cheaper to put a RAID10 SATA array together than it is a RAID1 SSD setup. Of course the SSD setup will smoke the SATA setup any day of the week and twice on Tuesday, but if you don't need the i/o you're just wasting money.
My Munin reports for the ProxMox server. I'm not unhappy with it for what I'm paying and doing with the server. :love:
Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 5.54.04 PM.png Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 5.54.15 PM.png
 

woei

Well-known member
#14
Sorry to hijack the thread a little, but I'm thinking of moving to pretty much the same spec. as you have there from my current VPS... How do you find their reliability/uptime?
They can be ok, stay away from the cheapest series and have a good offsite backup. They have a bang for buck, but when you pay peanuts you will get monkeys. So don't expect the support to be all that great when something happens. I had a storage server for my backups with a faulty disk and it took 2 days before the drive got replaced. And it was dirt cheap, so I did not complained much. But there are lots of people who have no problems at all, so it just a guess. Almost everywhere you have the chance that you will experience downtime. But it is important how it's handled. And I don't like the French ;)
 
#15
They can be ok, stay away from the cheapest series and have a good offsite backup. They have a bang for buck, but when you pay peanuts you will get monkeys. So don't expect the support to be all that great when something happens. I had a storage server for my backups with a faulty disk and it took 2 days before the drive got replaced. And it was dirt cheap, so I did not complained much. But there are lots of people who have no problems at all, so it just a guess. Almost everywhere you have the chance that you will experience downtime. But it is important how it's handled. And I don't like the French ;)
Thanks for your response :)

My main worry is response to hardware failure to be honest, as I'd read a few bad reviews on that front. It seems good value in terms of bang for buck, but I'm a little apprehensive that I'll end up with a couple of days downtime here and there. I guess I'll have a scout around and then decide on whether or not it's worth the risk knowing that response can be slow :)
 

WSWD

Well-known member
#16
My main worry is response to hardware failure to be honest, as I'd read a few bad reviews on that front.
I have been told that this has been added in a SLA somewhere recently. Of course, an SLA is just that. It can still take days to replace hardware, you're just going to get something (probably a percentage of your monthly costs) refunded, or credit, or whatever.

Their hardware replacement used to be attrocious. I'm not exaggerating in saying that it can take days to replace hardware. That might have changed now with the new SLA. Who knows? I guess somebody could always test it by "failing" a component intentionally in the BIOS or such and seeing how long it takes them, but that really isn't an appropriate use of their support personnel resources.
 
#18
whats OVH like? I've head such bad things about them but they are so cheap.
Decided to give them a try and migrated my server to a new dedi with the same spec as @MattW this weekend.

Server was ready within a few minutes of order, which I wasn't expecting!

So far so good, running like a dream and much faster than the fairly beefy (and more expensive!) VPS from VPS.net I was previously using. Just hoping it carries on this way.
 

MattW

Well-known member
#19
From my server:
Code:
[root@host library]# uptime
19:17:25 up 94 days, 10:52,  1 user,  load average: 0.00, 0.02, 0.07
It's much faster than the VPS I was on previously, and 50% cheaper! I've had no issues with them so far, but I have stuff in place where if something goes wrong, I'm only a few hours away from setting it all up elsewhere.
 
#20
From my server:
Code:
[root@host library]# uptime
19:17:25 up 94 days, 10:52,  1 user,  load average: 0.00, 0.02, 0.07
It's much faster than the VPS I was on previously, and 50% cheaper! I've had no issues with them so far, but I have stuff in place where if something goes wrong, I'm only a few hours away from setting it all up elsewhere.
Yeah, that's what I intend to do too... I've not even particularly tuned my database settings or anything yet either, but it's mega fast in comparison.