Hardware

The Need for SPEED

Recently, I was talking to a client about performance issues they were having with their primary database server.  Their business has taken off in recent months and they have added additional staff.  That has resulted in an increase in both the amount of data in their system, and the number of users accessing it.  They had come to me a while ago about ways to speed up some workstations that they use for CAD work.  I had suggested trying solid state drives.  They followed my recommendation and saw drastic improvements in the performance of those systems.  Because of that positive experience, they wanted to try the same thing with this database server.  But, putting solid state drives in servers with large storage requirements can be a much more complicated and expensive undertaking than putting one in a laptop or PC.

We initially investigated solutions from the major SAN and server manufacturers, but the costs were two to three times what the customer’s budget would allow.  We then started brainstorming alternative solutions.  I knew that Intel is one of the best manufacturers of solid state drives.  I also knew that they have been winning awards with a new line of servers.  So, I looked into the Intel solution and found the perfect combination of price and performance.  It was exactly what the client was looking for.  To make things even better, Intel had a case study of another organization that had implemented the exact server configuration we were considering.

If you are still reading this, I appreciate it.  Here’s where it gets interesting.  The case study is about a photography project called Paris-26-Gigapixels by Kolor.  It is the third project of its type in the world.  Continue reading

Geek Toys, Hardware

My love for solid-state drives is SOLID.

I was talking to a colleague today and the topic of solid state drives came up.  He had been considering using a solid-state hard drive, but had heard too many “horror” stories about performance or data loss.  I was surprised to S128hear this.  I have been using solid state drives for well over a year now and have had nothing but success.  When I originally investigated using a solid-state drive, I read many poor reviews on certain models of solid-state drives.  So when I selected my first drive, I was careful to read all of the reviews I could, and check all of the specs.  I settled on a drive from Corsair that had excellent reviews and decent specs for the price.

The first system I built with a solid-state drive was a terminal server for demo purposes.  That was the fastest terminal server I ever worked on.  The server would boot in about 30 seconds, logins took 2 seconds, and applications would launch instantaneously.  From that point forward, I was sold. 

I am currently running a Lenovo Thinkpad T500 with a Corsair CMFSSD-128GBG1D solid state hard drive.  I swapped out the standard hard drive that came with the laptop.  It was as simple as Continue reading