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Re: What's the best hardver for PostgreSQL 8.1?

From: David Lang <dlang(at)invendra(dot)net>
To: Alex Turner <armtuk(at)gmail(dot)com>
Cc: pgsql-performance(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: What's the best hardver for PostgreSQL 8.1?
Date: 2005-12-26 23:27:18
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-performance
On Mon, 26 Dec 2005, Alex Turner wrote:

> Yes, but those blocks in RAID 10 are largely irrelevant as they are to
> independant disks.  In RAID 5 you have to write parity to an 'active'
> drive that is part of the stripe.  (They are irrelevant unless of
> course you are maxing out your SCSI bus - yet another reason why SATA
> can be faster than SCSI, particularly in RAID 10, every channel is
> independant).

I don't understand your 'active' vs 'inactive' drive argument, in raid 1 
or 1+0 all drives are active.

with good components you need to worry about maxing out your PCI bus as 
much as any other one (this type of thing is where the hardware raid has a 
definante advantage since the card handles the extra I/O, not your system)

> Sorry - my math for RAID 5 was a bit off - I don't know why I was
> considering only a three dirve situation - which is the worst.  It's
> n+1 you are right.  still, for small arrays thats a big penalty.
> Still, there is definately a penatly contrary to the assertion of the
> orignal poster.
> I agree totally that the read+parity-calc+write in the worst case is
> totaly bad, which is why I alway recommend people should _never ever_
> use RAID 5.   In this day and age of large capacity chassis, and large
> capacity SATA drives, RAID 5 is totally inapropriate IMHO for _any_
> application least of all databases.
> In reality I have yet to benchmark a system where RAID 5 on the same
> number of drives with 8 drives or less in a single array beat a RAID
> 10 with the same number of drives.  I would definately be interested
> in a SCSI card that could actualy achieve the theoretical performance
> of RAID 5 especially under Linux.

but it's not a 'same number of drives' comparison you should be makeing.

if you have a 8 drive RAID5 array you need to compare it with a 14 drive 
RAID1/10 array.

> With RAID 5 you get to watch you system crumble and fail when a drive
> fails and the array goes into a failed state.  It's just not worth it.

speed is worth money (and therefor number of drives) in some cases, but 
not in all cases. also the speed penalty when you have a raid drive fail 
varies based on your controller

it's wrong to flatly rule out any RAID configuration, they all have their 
place and the important thing is to understand what the advantages and 
disadvantages are for each of them so you can know when to use each one.

for example I have a situation I am looking at where RAID0 is looking 
appropriate for a database (a multi-TB array that gets completely reloaded 
every month or so as data expires and new data is loaded from the 
authoritative source, adding another 16 drives to get redundancy isn't 

David Lang

> Alex.
> On 12/26/05, David Lang <dlang(at)invendra(dot)net> wrote:
>> On Mon, 26 Dec 2005, Alex Turner wrote:
>>> It's irrelavent what controller, you still have to actualy write the
>>> parity blocks, which slows down your write speed because you have to
>>> write n+n/2 blocks. instead of just n blocks making the system write
>>> 50% more data.
>>> RAID 5 must write 50% more data to disk therefore it will always be slower.
>> raid5 writes n+1 blocks not n+n/2 (unless n=2 for a 3-disk raid). you can
>> have a 15+1 disk raid5 array for example
>> however raid1 (and raid10) have to write 2*n blocks to disk. so if you are
>> talking about pure I/O needed raid5 wins hands down. (the same 16 drives
>> would be a 8+8 array)
>> what slows down raid 5 is that to modify a block you have to read blocks
>> from all your drives to re-calculate the parity. this interleaving of
>> reads and writes when all you are logicly doing is writes can really hurt.
>> (this is why I asked the question that got us off on this tangent, when
>> doing new writes to an array you don't have to read the blocks as they are
>> blank, assuming your cacheing is enough so that you can write blocksize*n
>> before the system starts actually writing the data)
>> David Lang
>>> Alex.
>>> On 12/25/05, Michael Stone <mstone+postgres(at)mathom(dot)us> wrote:
>>>> On Sat, Dec 24, 2005 at 05:45:20PM -0500, Ron wrote:
>>>>> Caches help, and the bigger the cache the better, but once you are
>>>>> doing enough writes fast enough (and that doesn't take much even with
>>>>> a few GBs of cache) the recalculate-checksums-and-write-new-ones
>>>>> overhead will decrease the write speed of real data.  Bear in mind
>>>>> that the HD's _raw_ write speed hasn't been decreased.  Those HD's
>>>>> are pounding away as fast as they can for you.  Your _effective_ or
>>>>> _data level_ write speed is what decreases due to overhead.
>>>> You're overgeneralizing. Assuming a large cache and a sequential write,
>>>> there's need be no penalty for raid 5. (For random writes you may
>>>> need to read unrelated blocks in order to calculate parity, but for
>>>> large sequential writes the parity blocks should all be read from
>>>> cache.) A modern cpu can calculate parity for raid 5 on the order of
>>>> gigabytes per second, and even crummy embedded processors can do
>>>> hundreds of megabytes per second. You may have run into some lousy
>>>> implementations, but you should be much more specific about what
>>>> hardware you're talking about instead of making sweeping
>>>> generalizations.
>>>>> Side Note: people often forget the other big reason to use RAID 10
>>>>> over RAID 5.  RAID 5 is always only 2 HD failures from data
>>>>> loss.  RAID 10 can lose up to 1/2 the HD's in the array w/o data loss
>>>>> unless you get unlucky and lose both members of a RAID 1 set.
>>>> IOW, your RAID 10 is only 2 HD failures from data loss also. If that's
>>>> an issue you need to go with RAID 6 or add another disk to each mirror.
>>>> Mike Stone
>>>> ---------------------------(end of broadcast)---------------------------
>>>> TIP 6: explain analyze is your friend
>>> ---------------------------(end of broadcast)---------------------------
>>> TIP 4: Have you searched our list archives?

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