AnandTech Upgrade

To keep up with the AnandTech tradition, we'll open the covers on the latest upgrade performed at the AnandTech NOC Facility a few months ago. This latest upgrade focused on an enterprise database platform change, and a security infrastructure upgrade. We apologize for the delay, but there has been so much going on after the upgrade that this article took a bit of a back seat.

Planning for the upgrade started back in October of 2003. Our planning involved a review of the storage requirements of the databases, and growth predictions for the next 2-3 years. Next, we started research on a Firewall for the network. If you can believe it, we had been running Windows 2000 servers on the public internet with no firewall. Were we lucky? Probably, but we were meticulous in applying security updates as they came out and made good use of local security policies in Windows (especially after SQL Slammer hit us one morning).

It seems that all of our trips to the NOC to perform the various upgrades over the years have always been eventful to say the least. This upgrade actually went extremely well, which is attributed to some careful planning and the excellent staff at Elite Internet Communications (our ISP).

The Database Upgrade


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  • JasonClark - Sunday, August 22, 2004 - link

    #15, we used a quad opteron from the last review we did, Tyan also has a board out now, which is supposed to be decent.

    #16, tens of millions ;) Funny enough the most popular searched word on the main website is ASUS. Last month there were around 300,000 searches.
  • bobbozzo - Sunday, August 22, 2004 - link

    Hi, How many Page Views does AnandTech get each month?

    How many searches do your users do?

  • kaborka - Sunday, August 22, 2004 - link

    The article identified the CSI Designs RMHR 9000 case for the RAID array, but I didn't see which case and motherboard you picked for the computer. Did I miss this? We need to build a similar rig at work, and I'd like to know. Reply
  • JasonClark - Sunday, August 22, 2004 - link

    #5, Yep windows 2003 enterprise 32 bit, 64 bit is still beta. Yes it supports 8GB of memory, it supports a maximum of 32GB of memory. SQL uses the AWE (Address Windowing Extensions) extensions to access all 8GB. It cost a fair bit, that's for sure. But, it was necessary, especially the firewall.

    #9, RAID 10 is faster, and is just as reliable. It is just more expensive as you get less space due to the mirror. Parity checks are expensive on databases, you would need a very expensive raid card to get close to RAID 10 performance.

    #13, you betcha, we're tired of it as well. It won't be long now at all, we're talking weeks or less.
  • nourdmrolNMT1 - Sunday, August 22, 2004 - link

    " since we've had a few "issues" with ColdFusion under load on the forums recently."

    JRUN JRUN, RUN J RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY FINALLY!!!

  • DeeSlanger - Sunday, August 22, 2004 - link

    Nice, lil tech tidbit for a Sunday read. Reply
  • Filibuster - Sunday, August 22, 2004 - link


    Raid 10 is just as reliable as Raid 5 but is not impeded by write performance because there is no parity to compute during writing.
    It is 2 sets of 4 drives in a mirror.

    In Raid 5 you'd have 8 drives and if _any_ two go out your array is dead, plus writes will be slower. If one drive goes out the performance will be even worse while it is not in service and during rebuilding.

    In Raid 10 with 8 drives you could potentially lose up to 4 drives and still be ok, depending on which 4 they are, and writes will be signigicantly faster (and the controller doesn't have to be as expensive). The only time a 2 drive failure will lose the array is if they are the same pair of drives in the mirror. If you lose a drive your performance will not suffer either except during rebuilding, which again, does not require calculating parity to do it so even this will be faster.
  • DopeFiend - Sunday, August 22, 2004 - link

    #1: That appears to be a buffer expansion slot for an onboard RAID controller. I've seen them before at work with the rackmounts we make, but I'm not entirely sure why it's an SDR slot! Reply
  • DopeFiend - Sunday, August 22, 2004 - link

    (oops, blank post above).

    Why RAID-10 and not RAID-5? I can understand the need for performance, but surely RAID-5 would make more sense from a reliability standpoint?
  • DopeFiend - Sunday, August 22, 2004 - link


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