Questions

What is the best 2003 Server Drive and Memory Configurations

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What is the best 2003 Server Drive and Memory Configurations

LFNEO
Please respond with specifics. I have read all of the theories and am looking for concrete responses to affirm my own conclusions. I am looking to maximize what I have. I would like recommendations for the best drive configuration, memory settings and pagefile. Thank you.

Three servers (All HP DL380s). 4GB memory, 32-bit Windows 2003 Server Standard (all servers < 20 users)

Assume I have as many drives as needed for the best drive configuration.

First Server - DC only - Two disk RAID 1 with dedicated third disk (same controller) for pagefile. Split Pagefile - 4096 on C: (RAID 1), 4096 on third disk. Performance Options: Processor Scheduling: Background Processes, Memory Usage: System Cache.

Second Server - App Server (SQL, ACT!, QuickBooks databases) - RAID 1+0 with additional dedicated pagefile disk (same controller). Split Pagefile - 4096 on C: (RAID 1), 4096 on dedicated disk. Performance Options: Processor Scheduling: Background Processes, Memory Usage: System Cache. /3GB /userva=3030 /PAE in boot.ini (/PAE recommended by HP to get back 512 memory stolen by PCI - otherwise server only reports 3.5GB).

Third Server - Terminal Server - RAID 1+0 with additional dedicated pagefile disk (same controller). Split Pagefile - 4096 on C: (RAID 1), 4096 on dedicated disk. Performance Options: Processor Scheduling: Programs, Memory Usage: Programs. /PAE in boot.ini (/PAE recommended by HP to get back 512 memory stolen by PCI - otherwise server only reports 3.5GB).

I am open all opinions and ideas. Like I mentioned, I have scoured all the best practice info I could find and this is what I came up with...
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    Bruce Epper

    My assumptions: You are starting a completely new setup and not replacing an existing environment. If that is not the case, gather performance metrics from your current setup first since that data can be used to make better decisions regarding the configuration of the replacment servers.

    First, if you can avoid putting a pagefile on a RAIDed drive, do so, especially with your RAID 1 configurations. Every write generates a write to EACH disk, and if it is using the pagefile with any regularity, it can severely impact your performance, so keep pagefiles off of your RAID disks.

    With your DC only config and so few users, you probably will not even require a pagefile at all. If you do find that it is required, put it on one or more additional drives OUTSIDE of your RAID configuration. Or you can start with the disks in the system and a pagefile configured. After monitoring pagefile usage vs RAM usage over time, you can later disable the pagefile if its usage is next to nonexistent. (In most cases, Windows will use a small amount of the pagefile, but the amount never changes and Windows never actually reads or writes anything after the system stabilizes after startup. If you have enough free RAM with this condition, you can simply disable the pagefile with no negative impact to performance.)

    Since you are mirroring, are you using just one single-channel controller in each system? If you are using dual-channel controllers, separate the drives and mirror across the channels. It generally gives better performance. You may also want to consider two controllers in each server to eliminate the controller as a single point of failure in the system..

  • +
    0 Votes
    Bruce Epper

    My assumptions: You are starting a completely new setup and not replacing an existing environment. If that is not the case, gather performance metrics from your current setup first since that data can be used to make better decisions regarding the configuration of the replacment servers.

    First, if you can avoid putting a pagefile on a RAIDed drive, do so, especially with your RAID 1 configurations. Every write generates a write to EACH disk, and if it is using the pagefile with any regularity, it can severely impact your performance, so keep pagefiles off of your RAID disks.

    With your DC only config and so few users, you probably will not even require a pagefile at all. If you do find that it is required, put it on one or more additional drives OUTSIDE of your RAID configuration. Or you can start with the disks in the system and a pagefile configured. After monitoring pagefile usage vs RAM usage over time, you can later disable the pagefile if its usage is next to nonexistent. (In most cases, Windows will use a small amount of the pagefile, but the amount never changes and Windows never actually reads or writes anything after the system stabilizes after startup. If you have enough free RAM with this condition, you can simply disable the pagefile with no negative impact to performance.)

    Since you are mirroring, are you using just one single-channel controller in each system? If you are using dual-channel controllers, separate the drives and mirror across the channels. It generally gives better performance. You may also want to consider two controllers in each server to eliminate the controller as a single point of failure in the system..