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Need help configuring new server

Discussion in 'Server Configuration and Hosting' started by cmeinck, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. cmeinck

    cmeinck Well-Known Member

    I'm in the process of switching hosts and need help understanding the most important factors when configuring a server. My current server specs are:

    • 2 – Intel 330 240GB
    • 1 – Riser Card - PCIe
    • 1 – X9SCM-F
    • 4 – 8GB DDR3 1600 ECC
    • 1 – Hardware RAID controller Adaptec 6405e - 128MB cache
    • 1 – Intel Xeon E3-1230
    • 1 – 1000GB SATA Caviar
    • 1 – CSE-813MTQ-350CB
    • Network Port Speeds: 100Mbs Public + Private

    I have a few sites, but most do very little traffic. My main site can see upwards of a million pageviews per month or more.

    I've been offered the following:
    • 3.5GHz Quad-Core E5-1620 v3 Haswell Xeon
    • 64GB DDR4
    • 480GB Intel S3500 SSD + 2TB SATA
    • 500Mbps Unmetered
    • cPanel
    • 50GB Cloud Storage

    Is this a good move? For similar pricing they would offer (2) 1 TB SATA in a RAID.

    How would you advise setting this up? Also, what's the smartest and cost effective backup plan? They offer 50GB of cloud storage, but automated backups come at a $39 per month fee.

    I should note that this new server would also represent a significant cost savings.

    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014
  2. jwright

    jwright Active Member

    The new server will be massive overkill, but if it saves you money and gets you a beefier server, I'd say absolutely go for it! I'd recommend getting 2x main drive and doing at least RAID1 though. Single drives are just baaad for your primary data.
  3. cmeinck

    cmeinck Well-Known Member

    My last server was overkill. :D

    How would a host typically configure a setup that had a single SSD and (2) SATA HDs in RAID? I'm assuming OS on the SSD and sites, databases (primary data) on the SATA HDs? Would that result in a performance hit?
  4. Andy.N

    Andy.N Well-Known Member

    You always pay cheaper for better spec'ed servers if you move often. That's how cheap the hardware is getting these days.
    I moved my main site to another host and pay half what I paid before. The specs are much faster.
    As for backup, you can use a backup addon available here to back up your data and database and set up a cron to move it off site.
    I'm using Centminmod by @eva2000 and it helps me a lot with running my server better.
    SneakyDave and eva2000 like this.
  5. jwright

    jwright Active Member

    How we'd configure it (can't speak for others) would be RAID of the two SSDs which would host your OS and all of it's data. The SATA would be used for backups then. Putting databases on the SATA drive would definitely not be a good move as you'd not be taking full advantage of the SSDs.
  6. cmeinck

    cmeinck Well-Known Member

    Trouble is that the configuration offered includes (1) SSD and (2) 1TB SATA Drives.
  7. jwright

    jwright Active Member

    In that case what I'd do is setup everything on the main drive and a cron to backup files to the SATAs like once an hour or something and the database to dump to the backup drives like every 5 mins or so. I'd hate to not run everything on the SSDs for speed but data loss is no fun either so frequent backups are very important in a single-drive setup.
  8. WSWD

    WSWD Well-Known Member

    Now THAT is massive overkill. Backing up a server every 5 minutes? (y)

    @cmeinck You are definitely going to want to backup your data, but you're going to want to anyway, regardless of the drive setup. Since your sites get little traffic, once every night should do. That's really what you should be doing anyway, on any server. If you lose your drive, you'll lose a day's worth of posts, which likely won't be many anyway, from what you're saying. Yes, if something fails, RAID is going to be by far the better options, but drives just don't fail all that much anymore. We've gone through pallets of SSD drives and have yet to have a single failure. We have actually burned RAID cards up, but never lost a single drive.
  9. jwright

    jwright Active Member

    If you've got the ability to do backups often, and nothing else to do with the resources and space that they'd use, I say backup often. Data loss isn't something to take lightly, at least not in my position.
    WSWD likes this.
  10. cmeinck

    cmeinck Well-Known Member

    So if I were to go with the single SSD drive, I could keep the OS and my primary data on that. Nightly I could backup to my 2TB SATA. Subsequently, I could figure out how to add a service like Backupsy for $20 additional per month.

    I don't like the idea of losing posts or having downtime. That being said, things are not as active on my site and I guess I could live with the worse case scenario – that being a day's worth of posts lost. I could probably limit my risk by having multiple backups done during the day. Again, since this server is overkill, I've got some power to spare.

    I'm leaning towards to the 480GB SSD with 2TB SATA (for backups).

    WSWD likes this.
  11. WSWD

    WSWD Well-Known Member

    That's exactly how I would do it.
  12. Xon

    Xon Well-Known Member

    @cmeinck, a few thousand page views a month? You can probably put the entire site onto a $5 per month Digital Ocean VM and have performance left-over.

    About the only gotcha is that MySQL's max connections can strongly influence memory usage if you aren't careful.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014
  13. cmeinck

    cmeinck Well-Known Member

    A million pageviews. ;) Fixed my original post.
  14. cmeinck

    cmeinck Well-Known Member

    For a few dollars more, I could opt for 2 x 300GB SSD with RAID + BBU + Fastpath (LSI card).

    That wouldn't provide me any backup solution, so I'd have to factor in cost for an off-site backup (which I planned in any event).

    My sites take up about 46GB. Can I allocate part of those SSDs for local backups? Seems odd to not have backups at the host, no?
  15. eva2000

    eva2000 Well-Known Member

    if new server is overkill, just downgrade your memory from 64GB to 32GB and see if the revised monthly price is enough to cover the additional cost of automated backups = same price or cheaper than before just with automated backups :)
  16. cmeinck

    cmeinck Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, these offers don't have downgrade options.

    Would you recommend bundling the server mentioned with a service like BQBackup or Backupsy? I'm looking for great performance and of course, I want the security of having a solid backup plan in place. With my current host, they are backing up cPanel accounts to a 1TB drive. I could get a similar setup if I go with the 480SSD and 2TB SATA. That option is also $50 less per month.

    Here are my options.
  17. WSWD

    WSWD Well-Known Member

    Either option is going to work fine. But between the two, I would go with the 2x300's in RAID1, and the offsite backup, which you are definitely going to want regardless. The reason being, the RAID1 setup is (normally) going to save you from downtime should the drive fail. Having the 2TB drive in the same server is only going to make the restoration process quicker, but there is still going to be downtime if the single SSD drive fails, as it will need to be replaced, OS reinstalled, etc. Restoring the cPanel accounts from an off-site provider (i.e. Backupsy...who is VERY good, by the way) is going to be plenty fast. If your sites only take 50GB of space, you can go with the smallest Backupsy plan for $10/mo. and just upgrade if and when you need to.
  18. cmeinck

    cmeinck Well-Known Member

    Sorry for all of the questions, but I have one more. They have 160GB SSD RAID. Here's my current usage on my existing 240GB RAID 1 + 1TB SATA.

    /dev/sda2 9.9G 4.3G 5.1G 46% /
    /dev/sdb1 917G 53G 818G 6% /backup
    /dev/sda1 487M 40M 422M 9% /boot
    /dev/sda8 167G 46G 113G 30% /home
    /dev/sda7 2.0G 36M 1.9G 2% /tmp
    /dev/sda6 20G 14G 5.3G 73% /usr
    /dev/sda5 20G 14G 5.2G 73% /var

    Would I be able to get by with the 160GB RAID 1 option? I'm also thinking about offloading older sites which are no longer seeing any traffic – allowing this dedicated server to truly be dedicated.

    This would put me at $214 for the dedicated and $29/month for the VPS for the 6/7 older sites.

    Thanks everyone for the help. This stuff can get incredibly confusing and since this is a decision I'll live with for the next year or so, I want to make the right move.
  19. cmeinck

    cmeinck Well-Known Member

    In the end, I decided to just move the whole lot to the new server. To help facilitate that, I opted for the 300GB SSD RAID 1 option and will do backups offsite using one of the various services. There's also a 50GB Cloud Storage option that comes with it, so plan on having someone setup some sort of regular backup to that as well.

    Thanks again for everyone's help. It's greatly appreciated.
    Xon and WSWD like this.

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