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SSD Optimizer - ramdisk/PCIe SSD - 10Gbe alleviate write bottleneck help



I am working to remove/reduce the write bottleneck for my new file server and had a few questions on the best route to take. I've read some really great support answers/suggestions on these forums so anyone is welcome to throw in their $0.02 if they think I'm barking up the wrong tree.


Purchased DrivePool for whs 2011 back in 2012 and have really enjoyed the flexibility for my current file server. Plan to use it on my new file server build as well but I require much higher write speeds than a single sata SSD can offer. My main PC connected to the file server via direct connect twinax through my intel x520-da2. The only bottleneck at this moment is write speed and I want to find the best option to alleviate this using SSD Optimizer.




I have a PCIe OCZ RevoDrive 480GB I am currently running write tests over 10Gbe. Write speed is acceptable but I only have one PCIe SSD so I loose duplication. Would pairing this with a sata SSD like a Crucial bx100 drop the write speed to the speed of the slowest drive (the sata based Crucial)? I value my server PCIe ports but I do have room for two PCIe SSDs to add another if its the only feasible option. My wallet dislikes this choice as well.



Just brainstorming here so apologies if this thought process seems derpy to the more advanced haha. I have a number of sata 250GB SSDs on hand I could re-purpose. Is there a way to stripe data across multiple SSDs to bump up the write performance, while maintaining duplication? Would I need 4 total SSDs to do something like this (2 separate raid-0 arrays) or can it be achieved with less?

Raid-0 with two SSDs and partition the array so SSD Optimizer has 2 drives for duplication?<--reading this back quickly before posting seems like it may not get the performance I am looking for with SSD Optimizer but I haven't tested it.



My new server has 128GB of ECC ram of which I can spare 64GB of, if it's compatible with the SSD Optimizer. I have not personally used ramdisks in the past but understand how they function. I was looking into primo ramdisk but wanted to check here before I started to really research it. If this method would work the write speeds would be great but I'm assuming I would loose duplication which I obviously need.


Thanks in advance!

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Honestly, the best solution would probably be 2x PCIe SSD cards. 


If you do use a SSD, the write speeds will drop to the slower drive. Also, I would NOT recommend a BX100 for this. They are economy drives and suffer from much slower write speeds. You'd want an MX100 or MX200 for this. 


If you're using an Intel board and use the RST drivers, I believe that these still pass on TRIM commands to any RAIDed SSDs. But I'm not entirely sure of this.  If this is the case, then you could use a RAID0 array with the PCI-e card and get at least similar performance (depending on the number of SSDs in the array, 2-3 should be good, I think).  



As for RAM Disks, we really recommend against these for a number of reasons. But if it can be added to the pool or not? That depends on how the software presents the disks. If it doesn't go through the normal Windows API (eg, showing up in disk management and the like), then it won't be available to add to the pool.  Also, in this case, larger is better. 

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Thanks so much for such a prompt reply Chris! You are a one man forum support squad.


That makes my decision easy but my wallet won't like me haha. I'll most likely be grabbing 2 x 400gb intel 750's (been itching to run some tests on this drive for a while) and put my revodrive back in my primary PC. I got the revodrive refurbished 2 years ago and absolutely love the thing, but I'll feel better with the intel 750's in my server.


A slightly cheaper alternate option with comparable performance:

Buy two m.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 adapters and go with two Samsung 950 pro's (m.2 nvme 256gb). I don't know as much about the 950 pro's as I do the intel 750 but I plan to do some more digging before I pull the trigger on any purchases.


Unrelated to my hard drive question: Would you recommend Windows Server 2012 R2 as the OS of choice? I've been on WHS 2011 for a while with my current file server and Windows Server 2016 seems to be at least 6 months out. Server 2016 makes me nervous too with all the Windows 10 telemetry nonsense.

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Thanks! :)



Well, the RevoDrives are nice. But intel drives are very nice (maybe I should get a couple of these :P), and NVMe in general is just fantastic!

But yeah, it's a hit to the checkbook. :)





Unrelated to my hard drive question: Would you recommend Windows Server 2012 R2 as the OS of choice? I've been on WHS 2011 for a while with my current file server and Windows Server 2016 seems to be at least 6 months out. Server 2016 makes me nervous too with all the Windows 10 telemetry nonsense.


Server 2016 is tentatively Q3 for release, so more likely Q4 or close to it. That's 6 months or more.  

As for telemetry, it shouldn't have half that stuff. at all. Telemetry is good for a client OS (for various reasons, and despite controversy.... because let's be blunt, nobody bitches about this when Google and Apple has been doing it for years).


And yes, I'd recommend Windows Server 2012R2 Essentials. It's very close to WHS2011 plus some domain stuff (and stuff like Windows Deployment Services which requires domain functionality, but allows you to boot the restore disk without a disk, over the network). 

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