Forum OpenACS Q&A: Storage

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Posted by Li-fan Chen on

Could you share with everyone what sort of storage do your OpenACS installation use? What hardware? Why? What broke? Recommendations? Are there highly sophisticated Linux SCSI cards that provides separate channels for data splitting, mirroring, configuring, monitoring and hot plugging? (like the one ArsDigita prefers to use) Are you back-ing up your database using unusual hardwares? Share a tip with us! :-)

This post should not be in OpenACS Development - Porting, but something like OpenACS Development - Hardware Discussion, people are painfully aware of the limits associated with the hardwares we often find Linux and FreeBSD on and are making plenty frequent changes (many worthy of mention here on OpenACS). And I bet we love to talk about our hardware so I think it would be great to have a OpenACS Development Discussion Forum for Hardware.

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2: Response to Storage (response to 1)
Posted by Ben Adida on
well, here's what OpenACS.org runs on: a dual Pentium II-400
w/256 MB RAM and 2 Ultra2 SCSI drives. Only one SCSI
interface, I know, bad, but that's the way it is. Also, since I'm not
sure I trust mirroring software for Linux just yet, the drives aren't
mirrored. The data is backed up from one drive to the other on a
nightly basis, and I can boot from either drive in case one fails.
pg_dump happens around midnight, and the backup to the other
drive happens around 3am.

In the near future, we're going to be moving to the server
ArsDigita donated to help us with OpenACS. Single Pentium III
(not sure what speed exactly), with mirrored drives. It's a VA linux
box. I've heard good things about both VA and Penguin boxes for
Linux, and they both offer hot-swappable drive bays with RAID
controllers, so I'd recommend that if you have the cash.

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3: Response to Storage (response to 1)
Posted by Don Baccus on
  • check out Net Express, who've been selling Linux servers (alpha, sun, and x86) with Linux installed for eons. Nice thing about this site is that all the components listed are links to pages of recommended parts, which in turn link to manufacturer pages. They know what works and what doesn't. Oh, you'll probably groan at their recommended rack enclosures that clock in at hundreds of dollars, etc, but they have more modest options as well. They're conservative in their manufacturing, more savvy than VA Linux by a long shot, IMO. Also far more flexible, you can mix and match any components they stock for a box with total freedom. If you like to build yourself, they'll even sell you the parts unassembled (at the same price, of course, they're not stupid!) Their prices tend to be 15% or so higher than my best "scrounge 'round Portland" prices, which isn't bad considering they'll build the system for you...

  • I mirror my database on a single Adaptec 2740UW controller, using two $180 4.5 GB 7200K RBM LVD drives. I'll add a second controller someday, perhaps. If I have to go back to my nightly backup, I'm OK with that for now and frankly silent controller failures are rare. The real problem is that my machine will go down if the controller croaks. At the moment, I'm a step or two ahead of Ben in the backup department, as I backup on a UDMA drive (i.e. that's a different controller than the mirror) and ftp a copy to California and another to my home machine (I've got a DSL line) from the ISP's downtown Portland, Oregon office. It will take a really big earthquake to wipe me out...

  • UDMA drives are fast even under Linux (which as distributed currently only drives them at 33 MB, not 66). That's what I use for my development machine, backing up on a second machine on my LAN (the old P200 that used to run my sites).

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4: Response to Storage (response to 1)
Posted by Mike Sisk on
Another option is Dell.

We've just bought a bunch of their 2450 Poweredge servers.
These can be ordered with RedHat 6.2 pre-installed. The
configuration we ordered has dual 350-watt power supplies, a
733 MHz PIII (dual processor capable), 133 MHz bus, 512 MB
RAM, an integrated Ultra3 SCSI RAID controller with 64 MB cache
and 2 18 GB 10k Ultra3 drives. This is in a 2U case. It has room
for 4 hot swap drives, a CDROM, floppy and one open bay for a
tape drive. Cost is about $7000. This includes the rack mounting
hardware and 3 years of next day on-site service if something
fails.