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Best MySQL Server Under $10K?


Posted by Artem Russakovskii on June 11th, 2008 in Databases

Updated: January 4th, 2009

Server picture I want to get opinions from outside of my daily circle of people on the best server hardware to use for MySQL. I remember from the conference somebody (Pipes?) mentioning a particular Dell server with multiple disk RAID10 that could supposedly be had for about $6k but I completely misplaced the model number (Frank, did you get my email?).

I know that a multi-disk RAID array with a bunch of fast disks (15k RPM?) is probably the most important method of improving performance, followed by the amount of RAM, so I'm trying to find the best combination/balance of the two. However, server prices on the Internet range so much that I don't even know where to begin to tell a good deal from a bad one. I don't think SSDs can play a role here, because we need at least 200GB of usable space per machine. For comparison, we currently use the following spec: Dual quadcore Intel, 16GB RAM, 200GB RAID1 + 1TB RAID1 using SATA drives (eww?) in a 2U rack (a bit too chunky, isn't it?) made by Zantaz. It performs quite nicely but I think it chokes on the amount of writes way too early.

So, what does everyone think the best configuration is under $10,000? Bonus points if you can provide a link to the vendor site or at least a model number!

Edit: so, here's the final configuration and quote I got from Silicon Mechanics, which I'm quite happy about. It is way under the $10k budget, so mission accomplished:

  • RakX 2U chassis
  • 2x Intel Xeon E5420 Quad-core 2.5Ghz, 12MB cache CPUs
  • 32GB (16x 2GB) 667Mhz Fully Buffered RAM
  • 2x integrated gbit NICs
  • IPMI 2.0 remote management card with KVM over LAN
  • 3Ware 9690SA-4I RAID controller with 512MB cache and battery backup
  • 12x 74GB Seagate Cheetah 15K.5 15KRPM SAS drives
  • redundant 700W power supply
  • sliding rail kit
  • 5 year advance component exchange warranty
  • OS RAID: 73GB HW RAID1
  • DATA RAID: 365GB HW RAID10

Total price: $6176 + tax, free shipping.

● ● ●

Artem Russakovskii is a San Francisco programmer, blogger, and future millionaire (that last part is in the works). Follow Artem on Twitter (@ArtemR) or subscribe to the RSS feed.

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  • Mikael Berglund

    You can purchase a HP Proliant DL380 G5 with dual Quad-Core Intel 2.33GHz with 16GB and 8x 15k 72GB SAS for about $10k. We run the AMD version and it has been stellar so far in RAID 1+0 (with upgraded HD controller). You should shop around for the RAM and HDs. The price above is from HPs website.

  • Arjen

    You could have a look at the Sun Fire x4240. They have a 'fully loaded' version with 20% off. It has 2x Opteron 2356, 32GB memory and 16x 146GB (10k, 2.5") disks. All that in a 2U-package.

    According to Sun's website it costs $9745

    The system can also be equipped with 73GB 15k disks, but I have no idea what it'd cost with such a configuration.

  • http://beerpla.net Artem Russakovskii

    Thank you for your responses so far! This is exactly what I was looking for – versatile solutions from different vendors. I would like to still see more input, to get more choices, so please share what you know.

  • Nils

    The main question is, how much RAM do you need? CPU should be pretty straightforward, just go 8 core and you're done, but depending on your write load you either need more spindles or more RAM.

  • Sébastien Arnaud

    I would highly recommend to have a look at Sillicon Mechanics (http://www.siliconmechanics.com/) We've been buying from them for the last 2-3 years and we have been enjoying their great price/performance.

    You can get the exact same config with SAS drives and more memory 32GB for lest than $10K

  • Raul Metsma

    We have had create experience with Dell PowerEdge 2950 series servers.

  • http://beerpla.net Artem Russakovskii

    Sébastien, wow, thanks for the tip. I've done some research and made a few quotes, and it seems these guys from Silicon Mechanics are awesome. Here's what I found:

    Excellent video describing the company and its true geeks: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7975046039033766208

    Good reviews: http://bmaurer.blogspot.com/2008/02/silicon-mechanics.html

    Sample quote I got from them:

    1. 1 Rackform iServ R276-SAS "Mysql machine" $7464.00 $7464.00

    Details:
    CPU: 2 x Intel Xeon E5420 Quad-Core 2.50GHz, 12MB Cache, 1333MHz FSB, 45nm Hi-k
    RAM: 32GB (16 x 2GB) 667MHz Fully Buffered DIMM – Interleaved
    NIC: Dual Intel 82563EB 10/100/1000 Mbps NICs (w/ I/OAT) – Integrated
    Management: IPMI 2.0 Card with Management Interface, Additional NIC, and KVM over LAN
    SAS RAID Controller: 3Ware 9690SA-4I4E SAS/SATA RAID Controller with 512MB Cache and Battery Backup
    Drive Set: 10 x 73GB Seagate Cheetah 15K.5 – 15KRPM SAS
    RAID Configuration: RAID 10: Mirroring & Striping
    Optical Drive: Low-Profile DVD-ROM Drive
    Power Supply: Hot-Swap Redundant 800W Power Supply with PFC
    Rail Kit: Sliding Rail Kit
    OS: No Item Selected
    Warranty: Standard 3 Year – Return to Depot – Advanced Component Exchange

    Configured Power: 656 W, 673 VA, 2240 BTU/h, 6.1 Amps (110V), 3.2 Amps (208V)

    ===================
    Tax (0%): Unavailable*
    Total: $7464.00

    I think that looks VERY decent.

  • http://mikehillyer.com Mike Hillyer

    Decent right up to the return to depot warranty. The last thing you want to do on a production database server is pull it off the rack, box it up and ship it back to the manufacturer. If this is a serious production machine you'll need it fully redundant with that kind of warranty.

    Who am I kidding, you want it fully redundant anyway, but I'd sleep better with on-site warranty service, even if it was next-day.

  • http://ronaldbradford.com Ronald Bradford

    I was just reading the comments, and I see Mike said exactly my thought.

    Also you need at least 2 NIC's for bonding, you have that, but they are integrated. A cheap component as in a single network card can bring down your entire server, and make it useless if you can't get physical access. I'd like to see a redundant (ie. not integrated) option for NIC's.

    Likewise, it's uncommon now to not have dual power supplies.

    Also, how many DIMM slots do you have?

    Historically I've seen a lot of Dell 2950 servers, they can usually be configured as above for < $10 k, with a very quick onsite warranty.

    HP also as mentioned, has expensive (very) memory, so source after market.

    Also as mentioned by Arjen, don't discount heavily discounted Sun servers, just stay away until you benchmark from Sparc chips with 10/20+ cores on single processor. Stick to a dual cpu/dual core type option.

  • http://beerpla.net Artem Russakovskii

    Ronald, the quote above actually has an extra NIC in the remote console management part. It also has a hot-swap redundant power supply. My guess is the machine comes with 16 DIMMs.

    What did you mean by don't discount heavily discounted Sun servers. Did you mean they're discounted in terms of price and I shouldn't ignore them? The whole last part confused me a bit.

    P.S. How's PBXT going?

  • http://beerpla.net Artem Russakovskii

    Mike, you got a good point there, I'll consider upgrading to something better for a few extra hundred. It wouldn't be worth our sysadmins' time when something happens to them.

  • Sébastien

    Well, I only meant to provide a pointer for the best price/performance in my knowledge in regards to linux based servers and storage. We've been very happy with their hardware, they know their stuff and sending back to depot is not as bad as it sounds. So far only usual parts have failed over the years (memory, HDs, PSU). We only had one rare care of CPUs failing but that was partly our fault as the system ended up being poorly cooled. Please note that they ship replacements parts quick, so most of the time it is just a 5-10 min for a sysadmin to preform the replacement.

    Now that being said, there is always more to consider than the price, performance and service. This leads to how much downtime can you afford. Personally all of our system are fully redundant so it is not a big deal if one of those servers fails.

    HP make the best engineered servers I know, but you pay big bucks for it. For businesses trying to save money and who can deal with some downtime I think it is a sounder investement.

    This being said, ultimately it is your decision to see what company & particular hardware can fullfill your unique business requirements. Sillicon mechanics have lots of choices and option and offer a very personal service and excellent support.

    Artem, if you open a business account with them (does not cost anything), they will give you a 5% discount usually on the quoted price on their web site.

    Let us know what you end up getting and how it goes!

  • http://beerpla.net Artem Russakovskii

    Ron, oops, the additional NIC in the spec is actually for the KVM over LAN, so you're right, an extra NIC would be nice.

    Sébastien, I personally had a chat with SiMech today and so far I'm very happy with how they're responding. The tech was sound, quick, and knowledgeable, and it took roughly 10 seconds to get him no the line when I asked the sales manager.

    Thanks for the business account tip, I'll be sure to mention it if we order from them. Currently, we're considering a few options, you know how the competitive vendor world works, especially in the very beginning, while trying to win the business over.

    I think we too can afford to lose machines as they're mostly redundant.

    I'll post the final quote of whatever we'll decide to go with when we are ready.

    Thank you everyone for your input so far. This conversation doesn't have to be over, more opinions are welcome!

  • http://techblog.tilllate.com leo

    We bought some new Dell Server lately. You find the infos here http://techblog.tilllate.com/2008/02/22/new-db-servers/. For us a lot of ram and fast disk are very important, the cpu doesnt matter at all.

  • http://beerpla.net Artem Russakovskii

    How much did those set you back, leo?

  • http://beerpla.net Artem Russakovskii

    So, here's the final configuration and quote I got from Silicon Mechanics, which I'm quite happy about:

    • RakX 2U chassis
    • 2x Intel Xeon E5420 Quad-core 2.5Ghz, 12MB cache CPUs
    • 32GB (16x 2GB) 667Mhz Fully Buffered RAM
    • 2x integrated gbit NICs
    • IPMI 2.0 remote management card with KVM over LAN
    • 3Ware 9690SA-4I RAID controller with 512MB cache and battery backup
    • 12x 74GB Seagate Cheetah 15K.5 15KRPM SAS drives
    • redundant 700W power supply
    • sliding rail kit
    • 5 year advance component exchange warranty
    • OS RAID: 73GB HW RAID1
    • DATA RAID: 365GB HW RAID10

    Total price: $6176 + tax, free shipping.

  • http://id.devgalt.com Dimon

    For our needs, this config(got from SilMech, too) is the best i've seen between 5 or 6 vendors, inc. Dell, apaq digitall, RME, etc.:
    CPU: 2 x Intel Xeon E5450 Quad-Core 3.00GHz, 12MB Cache, 1333MHz FSB, 45nm Hi-k
    RAM: 32GB (16 x 2GB) 667MHz Fully Buffered DIMM – Interleaved
    NIC: Dual Intel 82563EB 10/100/1000 Mbps NICs (w/ I/OAT) – Integrated
    Management: IPMI 2.0 Card with Management Interface, Additional NIC, and KVM over LAN
    Low-Profile PCIe x8: No Item Selected
    Low-Profile PCIe x4: No Item Selected
    LP PCI-X 133MHz – 1: No Item Selected
    SAS RAID Controller: 3Ware 9690SA-8I SAS/SATA RAID Controller with 512MB Cache and Battery Backup
    Hot-Swap Drive – 1: 300GB Fujitsu Max (3.0Gb/s, 15Krpm, 16MB Cache, NCQ) SAS
    Hot-Swap Drive – 2: 300GB Fujitsu Max (3.0Gb/s, 15Krpm, 16MB Cache, NCQ) SAS
    Hot-Swap Drive – 3: 300GB Fujitsu Max (3.0Gb/s, 15Krpm, 16MB Cache, NCQ) SAS
    Hot-Swap Drive – 4: 300GB Fujitsu Max (3.0Gb/s, 15Krpm, 16MB Cache, NCQ) SAS
    Hot-Swap Drive – 5: 300GB Fujitsu Max (3.0Gb/s, 15Krpm, 16MB Cache, NCQ) SAS
    Hot-Swap Drive – 6: 300GB Fujitsu Max (3.0Gb/s, 15Krpm, 16MB Cache, NCQ) SAS
    NOTE: Fixed HDDs are connected to onboard Intel SATA controller unless otherwise specified
    Fixed Drive: No Item Selected
    Fixed / Floppy Drive: 1.44MB Low-Profile Floppy Drive
    Optical Drive: Low-Profile DVD-ROM Drive
    Power Supply: Redundant 700W Power Supply with PFC
    Rail Kit: Sliding Rail Kit
    OS: No Item Selected
    Warranty: Expert Included plus 3-year Expert OnCall Support, 8 x 5 NBD

  • http://rene.glembotzky.com Rene Glembotzky

    Well it sounds interesing, we're currently planning a large scale MySQL environment and this your article really helpfully. Hope to post our configuration in about two weeks :-)

  • http://www.nomadicnation.com/ Interesting Information Collector

    I don't think I would use SSD technology in a database server anyway. I've heard that the difference between the write and read speeds is huge when compared to traditional drives. If you've got a database that's going to need plenty of writes and reads both – then you'd really pay a performance penalty for the SSD.

  • Miklas Bulski

    Great setup, and likely there is no need to go with SSD. Just spend some time optimizing MySQL queries. Siliconmechanics are great guys, you can also count on http:\\www.abmx.com, or dell. Instead of 3Ware you probably would be better of with LSI, but nothing wrong with 3ware thoug. As of chassy supermicro would be a more straight forward solution. Bounding onboard nics should be no prob.

  • ABBY

    Xeon Processor
    http://bit.ly/bly1m2