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Server 5.5 drives question


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Thanks to the wisdom gleaned from this board, I've avoided purchasing a new computer to run FMS 5.5 (now I can take everybody out for ice cream!), and will be adding a SATA interface and 10,000 RPM Raptor drive to an older machine (running OS X) instead. The built-in interface for the existing drive is ATA, and runs the optical drive as well.

My question is: what would be the best way to use the two drives to optimize FMS performance? Ditch the old one and put the OS and data on the fast one? Put the OS on the old one and the data on the new one? Make a software RAID out of them (or out of partitions of one)?

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If you are running Server 5.5 on the Mac OS, I would consider a different configuration. We maintain 5 Mac Cubes running Server 5.5 using this configuration and have something like 20 server years experience with it. I would not run OS X or (necessarily) go to high performance drives. The configuration would be:

Mac OS 9.2.2

1 Gig RAM (or more if the machine allows)

RAM disk using RAMBunctious (www.clarkwoodsoftware.com)

Processor allocation using Peek-a-Boo (www.clarkwoodsoftware.com)

This is a FASTER and more STABLE configuration than ANY disk drive. It was pioneered about 5 years ago by Caltrans (Calif. Dept. of Transportation). They used to fragment their high quality Ultra 3 SCSI drives to failure in several days and wear them out in 3 months, thus the need for a better configuration.

This configuration will work for you assuming your files fit in the RAM disk space available. Peek-a-Boo prevents speed degradation when the Finder is clicked into the foreground. You'll also need a UPS. I would not use OS X with Server 5.5 due to unresolved problems with FM Sever corrupting files when suspending and performing server scripted backups. The is absolutely no speed advantage using OS X on a machine which will boot both OS X and OS 9, if anything there is a slight penalty. The RAM disk configuration is more stable than a disk based configuration. We only service the servers running this configuration every 6 months.

-bd

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While Brent is correct in his recommendation...I will chime in with a more direct answer to your actual question. I would put the OS on the old drive, put Filemaker Server application and all databases on the new drive. Or you could replace the old drive entirely and put everything on the new drive (this will help with caching). Do not both with OS X, OS 9.04 stipped to the barest essentials is really all that is required and will improve performance.

Aside from the above comment...the solution recommended by Brent is actually the one with highest performance and I would definately recommend this if at all possible.

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Thanks, guys! As it turns out, the machine in question boots into OS 9 and has 1.75 GB of RAM, which I thought I may have to lower (based on browsing the boards), but using the RAM disk would definitely make good use of that. Plus, the 10,000 RPM Raptor that I have coming in will be put to very good use in my development machine!

Cheers,

Don

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The fastest way I've found of doing things is striping two 10,000rpm drives.

Lightning fast now!!

Doesn't really matter how much memory you stick in there after say 256MB.

If it's a dedicated machine (which I strongly recommend it is) then two 10,000rpm drives striped together is so the way to go!!!

Forget mirroring - just run backups every 5-6 hours (maybe an offsite overnight backup via FTP which is what I do).

Thanks

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The fastest drives you can buy pale in speed to RAM disk. The latency of a 10,000 rpm drive can be 6 ms, assuming no seek time. RAM speed is on the order of 1,000,000 times faster. If your data can fit on a RAM drive, it is much cheaper and faster for FM Server 5.5 on the Mac. Put the drives in your fileserver.

I agree about mirroring, it really provides minimal protection. Most serious data corruption is caused by software problems which mostly affect both mirrored drives.

For backup, we burn a CD on the FM server every night triggering an AppleScript to Toast. Again, if your data fits, this gives you a day by day history of your files that is never overwritten.

-bd

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