Keep linux server or get used G5 xserve?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by nullx86, Nov 7, 2009.

  1. nullx86 macrumors 6502a

    nullx86

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    Jun 26, 2009
    Location:
    Wilmington/Jacksonville, NC
    #1
    Ok guys, my current server is starting to lack in some departments, and I was wondering if I should go and upgrade it or just get a used G5 Xserve? I have found some on ebay and other sites that are in good condition and are going for cheap, and I know that they wont be able to run snow leopard, but thats why I am coming here and asking. The current server I have is just a crappy dell (Q6600, 4GB ram, 500GB HDD) running linux (ubuntu server 9.04). So should I get the G5 xserve or keep my current one and upgrade it? I am seriously thinking about getting the G5 xserve, because the dell can get pretty slugish at times with the Q6600 and 4GB DDR2 Ram. I was thinking that the Dual G5s and more ram would be a better option for a server, rather then the dell. Thoughts on this? Thanks.
     
  2. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816

    Dr.Pants

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    #2
    Wait.... Core2Quad Q6600 @2.4GHz?

    In terms of sheer processing power, it blows the G5 XServe out of the water. Even the top end dangerously liquid cooled model.

    If you want to speed it up, make sure that it has a Gb Ethernet connection, with the appropriate router, CAT5e or CAT6 cable.... etc. If you're pulling files from home off the web, you need to contact your ISP for a service upgrade. If you're using it as a fileserver on a network, make sure that everything's running on Gb ethernet (as stated before). If you're already on Gb ethernet, RAID a couple/four massive HDDs in RAID-0 or RAID-10 for optimal speed.

    I think that HDDs/ethernet is your main concern on a home network, ISP uplink speed over the internet. Maybe there's some protocol around that's griming up the process (getting into networking mantra isn't my thing, somebody else needs to chime in on that)
     
  3. Angelo95210 macrumors 6502a

    Angelo95210

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    #3
    As you are already used to Ubuntu I would stick with it. Linux is very economical and powerful for servers. Maybe do some upgrades on your server if you need.

    The last versions of Ubuntu do not run on the PowerPC architecture so it would be a massive change...
     
  4. nullx86 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nullx86

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    #4
    networking as actually my thing, its the actual computer thats being slow. Its running on the fastest speed broadband cable I can get and has gigabit ethernet on the mobo. Right now its only got 1 500GB hdd. I am using that server to pretty much everything (SMB/AFP -netatalk, DNS, FTP, and downloads). Cat6 cabling wont help much... and most everything minus the server is wireless anyway. But the computer is just being sluggish. Network wise its fine, but if I get on it to do something it just starts being slow. My netbook can do stuff faster. Thats why I was wondering if I should be looking at the G5 xserve.

    crap, forgot about that.

    so basically stay with my current server? I saw a thing for a intel xserve mobo for really cheap. how much do xeons run? :p
     
  5. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

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    #5
    Seems like you server have some kind of software or hardware problem then.
    The Q6600 should outperform the G5.
     
  6. nullx86 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nullx86

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    #6
    idk what its problem is. its got all updates, and everything is in place and working fine, minus the fact its being sluggish. Everything else has worked fine. I would just say *uck it and get the intel xserve but I dont have like 3 grand to drop on a server.:mad:
     
  7. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816

    Dr.Pants

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    #7
    When I said make sure you're using CAT5e or CAT6 cable, I was just giving some extra information. And in this case, it wouldn't work. Have you checked to see if its sluggish on the network it happens to be on (not over the internet)?

    Have you pinged it over the internet? ((Dunno, but this could help narrow down certain problems. As I said, networking beyond physically plugging in cables is a mystery. If the server has a fast ping but is being slow to transfer/respond, it might be software... ech.)) Just something that came to mind.

    How full is your 500GB HDD? That would definitely be a factor on the speed, as data on the inner tracks would be slower then the outer ones in addition to the fact that seek times increase. Data to be accessed on a separate, larger HDD might be the way to go if Linux reads from disc a lot (which it shouldn't, since RAM is a-plenty).
     
  8. nullx86 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nullx86

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    #8

    Anything internet related is fine, its the internal stuff. The hard drive is only about half way full (i think I got like 200GB left...), but the hard drive has both Data and OS stuff on the same disk, so thats likely the problem. So, get another hard drive and keep data on one and OS files on another?
     
  9. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    #9
    That's always a good idea. Get a cheap HD (like 30 GB or whatever) and stick it in there and use that for the OS, and use the 500 GB for data.

    The first reaction I would have to that sluggishness is to reformat/reinstall the OS, but that's a huge pain if you have data/OS on the same HD.
     
  10. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816

    Dr.Pants

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    #10
    Nullx86, that's the best way to go. The OS will simultaneously need access to its files that are on the same HDD as the data, so that would add time due to seeking out the different parts of the disc.

    Another extremely good reason to keep OS and data separate.
     
  11. nullx86 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nullx86

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    #11
    well, that makes sense why its being laggy. So just get another disk for the OS (anything will work?) and use the 500GB for the data. Alrighty, any other suggestions?
     
  12. donb123 macrumors newbie

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    Jul 15, 2008
    #12
    1/ Plumb your iMac up with GigE!

    2/ check to make sure your hardware is natively suported, especialy the south bride. Many times Linux support for modern SATA controllers is ATA100 emu only!

    3/ get more spindles!

    4/ get a natively supported hardware (LSI) RAID controller for the above spindles.

    5/ if you're running X, gnome, or any other crap not needed on a server, get rid of it.

    I'm running a freenas server on an EPIA 533 board with pci RAID controller and it has no trouble servicing my mac, pvr, vista laptop, etc... I also use it for file archival, ssh, download server, dns, etc... And it never bogs down.

    I can't imagine a single reason why a Q6600 based server would ever be slow at anything if setup correctly.
     
  13. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #13
    Think about it like this: My desktop is using an old, slow, CPU, and a single HDD (unpartitioned). If it's slow, it shouldn't be because it needs to read the OS and the data, which are stored in separate places. the OS should be in memory. It's slow because it's doing too much at once.

    So if everything you have it doing is HDD intensive, such as downloading torrents, uploading torrents, streaming music off of it, and file transfers all at once, the HDD and maybe the FSB is the bottleneck. If it's doing calculations, the CPU might be the bottleneck.

    Going to hardware/slower software won't help, but I don't know how much help moving the OS to another hard drive will help either, I would think you'd be better off reinstalling the OS and seeing if that doesn't help (that usually helps me when it comes to Ubuntu :p). And get raid.. the backup one, I think it's raid 0?
     
  14. rowsdower macrumors 6502

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    Jun 2, 2009
    #14
    That server should easily handle SMB/AFP -netatalk, DNS, FTP, and downloads. With 4GB of RAM having the OS and data on the same disk shouldn't be an issue since the OS stuff will be cached. Have you run top? Or checked log files?
     
  15. Darth.Titan macrumors 68030

    Darth.Titan

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    Austin, TX
    #15
    Says who? Karmic Koala Server is available for PPC, and so was Jaunty Jackalope and Intrepid Ibex. I ran 9.04 Server on a G3 iMac for awhile.

    I'm confused :confused:
     
  16. nullx86 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nullx86

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    #16
    my iMac has GigE :p

    i really dont know why its being slow, i checked logs and everything is fine apparently.. doesnt show anything...

    Ok, well that might explain the sluggishnish, because normally it is downloading, and streaming either video or music almost 24/7. No way in hell I am doing Raid 0 though, had too many problems with it. I will go Raid 5 if anything.

    :p

    I think Debain has their latest releases with PPC support..

    Ok so heres the plan so far, get a extra hard drive (or two/three) and set up a raid set for my data to go on and copy the data to that, and reinstall linux on a separate drive. Anything else I need/should do?
     
  17. donb123 macrumors newbie

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    #17
    Only flaw is is the HD is the bottleneck. The HD is by far the slowest part of any computer. This is why enthusiasts look to multi-drive RAID 0 setups or anti up the big bucks for WD Raptor hard drives.

    RAID is not backup at any level!

    RAID 0 == Striping == more performance, higher risk of data loss

    RAID 1(10), RAID 5(50), RAID 6 offer parity which mitigates data loss when hardware fails but it is not a substitute for backup!
     
  18. donb123 macrumors newbie

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    Jul 15, 2008
    #18
    As someone mentioned earlier run and watch top for a while.

    To quickly assess system performance look at:

    CPU:
    id == idle, if there is 0 idle figure out what is consuming all the CPU (I would guess unlikely with a Q6600)
    wa == io wait, any amount of this is bad. There are many, many long posts found via google that are written by people who know have forgotten more about Linux than I will ever know - bottom line, io wait == latency == slow
    Swap: Look at Used - anything is too much considering you have 4 GB of RAM IMO. Look at what programs are consuming the most memory, can they be tuned to use less? Additionally, as I mentioned before, if you're low on system memory turn off as much as you can that you are not using.

    If you're feeling adventurous, navigate /proc and find your sata controller. See what modes it is supporting. If you are not fully supporting your SATA controller Linux will always be slow since you'll never reach the full potential of your SATA bus.

    And that's about it.

    FYI: A colleague of mine runs Hyper-V on a Q6600 with 8 GB of RAM. He has three VMs, a DC, Exch 2K7 Mbx and Exch 2K7 HUB. his Exch hosts about 100 people - its fast! What the secret sauce? He uses a Perc6i RAID controller with eight 320 GB drives (Seagate ES) in a RAID 6 configuration. More spindles, more IO, more performance.
     
  19. jzuena macrumors 6502a

    jzuena

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    Location:
    Lexington, MA, USA
    #19
    You don't necessarily need to install the OS on a separate drive, but it would be a good idea to use a separate partition on a server. I haven't used Ubuntu server much, but I know the default for the desktop version is one big partition, which isn't really the Unix way. I used to run Debian for a server and software RAID is fairly easy to set up, but finally got a dedicated NAS box and reformatted the server with Ubuntu to run an SSL VPN.
     
  20. donb123 macrumors newbie

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    #20
    This makes sense, not because it isn't really the UNIX way, but because this prevents a disk full scenario from hindering or even crashing the server. There is really no need to create "old school" partition schemes anymore since we now have BIG drives and LVM even if we run out of space.

    I've been using SSL Explorer for years now but it was purchased by Barracuda Networks and that halted the availability of the "free" version. What SSL VPN package are you using? How do you like it?
     
  21. donb123 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    #21
    One last note on this thread - you could always install Munin on your server to keep track of system stats over time. Munin/Munin-node will generate a number of graphs related to IO, CPU, Disk, eth, etc... This could assist you pinpoint the source of the sluggishness you describe.
     

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