March 19, 2009

What type of storage should I use for my server?

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I am a consultant, so.... It depends. :)

Low volume/archive server:

Just about any type of storage will do for this type of server, and it can be the same for the metadata, the archive data and the logs volumes. I don't mean a single volume, just the same type of storage for each volume.

  • NAS
  • SAN
  • Local disk
  • (RAID 5 configuration)
  • etc.

Medium volume server:

For the metadata and the logs volumes:

  • Good performing, low latency SAN
  • Local disk (RAID 10 preferred, RAID 5 may be acceptable.)
  • NAS not recommended

For the archive volume, the same options as the low volume server as acceptable.

High volume server:

For the metadata and the logs volumes:

  • Excellent performing, low latency SAN with a large amount of cache on the controller. Should be a dedicated SAN.
  • Local disk (RAID 10 with 15k rpm SCSI drives with a high spindle count in the configuration)
  • In extreme situations, your site may want to use a RAM based device (Solid State Device, not a volume in memory) to host the metadata. This will provide the ultimate in Perforce performance.
  • NAS not recommended

For the archive volume, the same options as the low volume server as acceptable.

In all cases, you should use the XFS file system on Linux, the ZFS file system on Solaris, and your only choice for Windows is NTFS. The are other file systems that will work, but these are the best performing choices per OS.