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Hardware Suggestions

Hi All,

I was wondering if some of you larger Solarwinds users could lend me some advice on how to beef up my Solarwinds system.

I am currently running 2 x DL360 Servers running 3GB RAM & 2GB RAM (Both Servers are around 3Ghz Processer) Both Servers are running Windows 2003 Server Std Edition (SP2). They are both located in the Heathrow area and are in the same building.

We have a large network covering the entire UK, and we have the SL2000 Licence for NPM. Whilst we have about 900 or so devices most of them have several interfaces, of which we can only monitor 1 or 2 (sometimes none) due to licence (Something I am working on with the Senior Management).

However at the moment the Solarwinds always appears sluggish or slow. I admit it used to run one the slower of the two machines, and I had severe problems with the machine crashing, so I tried to split the Database off, and since then things have never really been the same.

I would like to know what people think I could / should do to improve stability / performance on my Solarwinds setup. Should I keep the SQL & NPM on Seperate servers, or put them back on one more powerful machine. Is the location Ok for the number of nodes I am monitoring, or should I co-locate servers around the network.

I am at the moment contemplating either a simple re-build on the two machines running the NPM & SQL, or building a spare server with Win2k3 and putting them both on that instead. (DL380 G5 4GB RAM)

Any help / suggestions are welcome, I would be grateful for the feedback.

Cheers

- David Smith
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7 Replies
Level 9

Here's a good blog as well:

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Your third (currently spare system) is the best for the SQL Server. Change the RAID5 configuration to a RAID10 and ensure that if you are using a 32bit version of SQL server and O/S that you are at least using AWE to allocate the full 8Gig memory to SQL Server (perhaps not all - leave a couple of Gig for the OS).

Memory is cheap - add more if you can (32bit SQL Server supports up to 64Gig - http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms187499.aspx)

Of course 64bit versions of Windows server and SQL server make memory management easy.

The 72Gig drives are likely to be fairly slow 7200rpm drives (given the G5 server model). These are quite slow compared to the newer 15k drives. The RAID card you are using on this server is also probably not battery backed (which meams that you won't be able to enable the write cache. These all impact the performance of your SQL server.

Dave.

Edit: The current DL360G5 poller should be fine for 2000 elements. I wouldn't see a need to split this into two pollers  unless you have significant growth plans. Our DL360G6 servers run 6000 elements, and plenty of people seem to run up to the 8000 recommended limit. While the G6 servers are quite an advance performance wise, I would think the G5 poller could run at least to 4000 odd elements - others may have some 'real world' numbers for this type of hardware.

Edit2: It's not recommended to locate pollers remotely from the database server. Keep them together.

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Hi Guys,

Thanks for the responses. I will check that blog out.


Dave, I rebuilt the spare server last night using Windows 2003 64bit so I could utilise the full 8GB RAM (And potentially more if I can get some money). Sadly I can't change the HDD I just don't have the budget at the moment.

As for the RAID, I didn't have RAID10 as an option or did you mean RAID1+0?

I copied my Database over to the new server, so I think I will just try pointing the existing NPM Polling Server to this Database now instead.

Wish me luck.

- David Smith
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Yes, RAID1+0. This will give you less database space, but better performance.

We all work within budgets - Windows 64bit and RAID1+0 should at least make best use of the available hardware! Will you also be using a 64bit version of SQL Server?

Dave.

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I thought as much, after I saw your last reply I rebuilt the Server again and changed the Raid Array to match what you suggested. I installed Win 2003 64bit so I have use of the full 8GB RAM, and I made sure to put my MDF and LDF Files on the larger drive and keep the C:\ Drive for the OS itself.

I moved the Orion NPM to point to this, and so now I will monitor the server and see if it makes a difference. I am sure it will, as the old server was constently running out of HDD Space which didn't help with performance.

I have ordered some more memory for both the SQL Server and the NPM Poller, but eventually I will order a new server for the Poller or beef up the existing one using spare kit.

Thanks again for the help Dave much appreciated. Now I'm off to run through the NCM Tutorials as it looks like a handy application and I have a 100 node licence to mess around with 😉

- David Smith
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Level 13

We run dual processor DL360's for our pollers and they do a fine job (although we buy them standard with 8Gig RAM and 64bit O/S).

Your database server however needs much more RAM and fast disk (you didn't specify your disk configuration). Our database server is a dual processor quad core (low stressed CPU wise) with 24Gig RAM and 8 15k drives (with a P410i 512Meg RAID card).

The system drives utilise 2 of the drives in a mirror, and the other 6 drives are in a RAID10 configuration for the database. This supports 15k elements over three pollers, with headroom for >10k flows/sec with the Netflow module and a small IPSLA and APM implementation. In terms of disk, this is about the best you can do within the server chassis without going to something like SSD fusion i/o drives (which hopefully we will get to test shortly). 

In short - RAM and drives is what I think you need.

Dave.

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Hi Dave,

Thanks for your quick response.

The current NPM machine is running on a DL360 G5 Win2k3 32Bit with 2 x 72GB Drives running in RAID0 as one 136GB C: Drive. (I am guessing that's not ideal?) with 4GB RAM (Shows as 3.25). The processor shows Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5440 @ 2.83Ghz

The current DB machine is running on a DL360 G4 Win2k3 32Bit with 2 x 32GB Drives running in RAID0 as one 67GB C: Drive. The Processor shows Intel(R) Xeon (TM) CPU 3.00Ghz (Not sure on if this is Dual Core or Quad etc, how do I tell?)

The spare server I have is a DL380 G5 Currently Win2k3 32Bit (But can be wiped) with 2 x 72 GB Drives running RAID1 (As 1 72GB C: Drive mirrored) and 5 x 72GB Drives running RAID5+0 (As 1 240GB 😧 Drive). The server has 8GB RAM, but due to currently being 32bit Win2k3 only using 4GB.

Based one what your saying, maybe I should have the 3rd Spare server as my Database Server, and the other 2 as pollers? I could leave one here in Heathrow, and send the other to a site we have in the Midlands. Although I don't know how to split polling, or if our support licence would even cover having 2. If not I can just pick the best out of those two old machines and have that running NPM as the Poller ?

What do you think?

- David Smith
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