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NVMe, SSD and M.2

NVMe, SSD and M.2

Most people currently understand what precisely a Solid State Drive (SSD) is and most likely have got one mounted in your notebook.

Opposed to a regular spinning hard drive, an SSD is much more quickly – which usually is why we suggest putting in an SSD as the ideal way to boost the overall performance of an older computer system, laptop computer or server.

The fact that is right up until we started out trying to play around with the new SSD standard – the NVMe M.2 SSD.

The new way to boost your server overall performance is installing an NVMe M.2 SSD. NVMe is an abbreviation for “Non-Volatile Memory Express” and is the latest standard protocol for being able to access high-speed storage media and it has many strengths compared to legacy standards.

An NVMe disk drive is also an SSD, but rather of hooking up it via a SATA III cable, it plugs straight into the motherboard via the M.2 PCIe slot, or in a regular PCIe slot working with an M.2 PCIe Adapter.

The M.2 part refers to the form factor and so how the drive attaches to the mainboard. Surprisingly, the disk drive is just about the size of a stick of RAM memory. And whilst an SSD will significantly boost the overall performance over a regular spinning hard drive, an NVMe M.2 is smoking fast in comparison, we can get 3,000 Mb/s in PCIe 3.0 x 4.

High-Performance VPS

High-Performance VPS

High-Performance VPS is relatively a new web hosting term in the industry, We named it as high-performance is to differentiate them from the standard VPS.

They have more RAM, better CPU priority and higher disk read and write output. Especially good for the applications rely on database read and write a lot.

While it is competitive in the web hosting market, similar to VPS, its price is cheaper. A lot of the hosting providers tend to host more guest machines than before.

As such, it only makes sense to introduce high-performance VPS to guarantee its performance. In most cases, the performance of our High-performance VPS  outperforms the dedicated server with hard drives especially the IO segment.

All of our high-performance VPS have RAID 10 SSD and not 4 but 8 units write intensive SSD minimum. In the high-performance VPS, the number of guest machine is limited by its guaranteed performance. Because of this reason, IOPS is high.

If you are looking at the dollars per Gigabyte, the conventional spinning hard drives are definitely cheaper. For performance, high chance the VPS will take the lead.

Another big advantage of these VPS is the backup snapshot. The backup snapshot works on 10 GbE network internally is really fast. It is taking less than 15 minutes to do a full backup of a 200Gb guest machine.

Yes, a full backup is not an incremental backup. We can call it a stateful backup. Next time when you want a dedicated server, you might want to check out the full-managed high-performance VPS.

 

Dedicated server or a high performance VPS?

Dedicated server or a high-performance VPS?

This has been always in my head, should I deploy a dedicated server or a high-performance VPS? The tricky part is ‘high performance’, how high is high? Higher than? We ask this question ourselves. Yet today, I had have found the answer.

In my dictionary, high performance means better than its class and the enhancement should be speed, not quantity. If you ask me on what to choose between a dedicated server and a high-performance VPS, I will go for a VPS if my application runs well.

There are a few reasons why I go for a VPS. Basically, you can scale whenever you want. Today, I can choose a lower plan but I will scale up when my user’s base grows. The cost is definitely lower while you might see little utilisation on a server.

However, this is only a reason. The major reasons are the recovery time and possibility. It is possible to restore a VPS using a snapshot and the restoration is much quicker. If the snapshot is portable, high chance you can restore it at any host using the same type of virtualization. They are flexible and feasible.

I cannot deny that in some situations, a dedicated server is the only choice. But if the situation has allowed, I will choose to stick with a VPS. Given the advantages, probably you save more per Gb in hard Disk storage. However, if space is not an issue I do not mind paying more for restoration speed.

A common mistake of choosing a dedicated server?

What is the common mistake of choosing a dedicated server? Does size matter? Or the price is a matter. Basically, we put them into 2 categories; the value and the performance.

From my past experience, customers are looking at the disk size and the RAM. Yes, the more the merrier but this most time doesn’t help in performing but larger in quantity. For me. I will go with performance than value.

A 2.6Ghz CPU A if different to 2.6Ghz CPU B. CPU B have the same speed but it is the later generation consume 30 watts while CPU A use 60 watts. It meaB performs better and consumes power lesser.

Next, we come to storage, we have hard drives, SSDs and NVMe now. Even the Hard  Drives are different. The slower one spins at 5400rpm, follow by 7200rpm, 10,000rpm and 15,000rpm. The spin speeds give you better read and write performance. SSD reads at about 500Mb per second and NVMe is 2000MB per second. Hard Drives, the most common is 7200rpm gives you 150Mb.

A common mistake of choosing a dedicated server?

So, today you got a big hard drive which means you can store more but the server can only host 2 websites as compared to those with SSD 3 time more for the same website loading speed.

For a dedicated server, the priority should be the power, the performance unless you use it for files archiving and you need the pace. A website with images probably less than 10GB if you have a 6TB server, I will guess you used it for archiving.

On the other hand, big hard drives like 4TB are common now, who sells you 1 or 2 TB drives. Most probably, they are old stock if they do. The spin speed is still important if you stick with the hard drives., otherwise SSD at least.

More RAM please?

More RAM please?

This is not a difficult question, most will say the more the merrier. YES! In theory, more RAM helped to “speed” things up. The questions are what kind of applications? And by how much?

On a VPS or dedicated server, you can buy more RAM or some called it ‘memory’ somehow to improve performance but you are buying, they aren’t free. When you add RAM, do you know the limitation of the OS? The applications? Addin more RAM to a 32bit OS, might not improve the situation. Because there is a limitation on the OS.

However, if you have a database has a lot of transaction, more RAM will help. But if the database is simply serving web content and does not have much transactions or updates. Anything at 4Gb is probably enough.

Here is my point, understand the server’s performance is relatively important. Paying more to buy more RAM every month might not solve your problem. On the other hand, should you pay more to buy more RAM to get rid of the bottleneck?

Actually, it is a debatable question, on many occasions, it is the ‘feel’ that counts. Metrix on performance are usually in very detailed value like millisecond (ms). Unless the gap is big, otherwise it is difficult to tell with a pair of naked eyes. So, understand your applications. Not forgetting RAM too has different speed, a larger RAM in capacity but slower speed or a faster RAM with lesser RAM is a debatable question too. Maybe in my next discussion.

 

Power Supply in a Server

Power Supply in a Server

You might not have seen but a good server power supply supplies enough current to the parts to ensure smooth operation. The reliability will greatly reduce downtime. The power supply generates a lot of heat which is not healthy to a server. Thus, manufacturers introduce fans to reduce the heat to prolong life span.

Some use 2 fans and some use bigger fans due to its size. Hence, it is different for a 1U server and 2U server power supplies. Size is not the crucial factor to determine how fast you can bring down the temperature but CFM. CFM stands for cubic per feet, the airflow is the crucial factor to reduce the heat. Usually, the higher CFM spins faster, hence more noise is generated but not the size matter.

There are brushless and ball bearing fan. The later lasts longer, bettter MTBF compared to a brushless fan. Of course, they are many other components like capacitors are crucial too. So, if the power supply is cheaper than usual, either it is an imitation of a certain brand, pre-owned or its components’ price are lower. These are the power supplies you should avoid.

A Snapshot vs a Backup

A Snapshot vs a Backup

Many have not understood what is a snapshot? What are the differences? Which is better? Today, we are here to explain to you the differences, the pros and cons of the backups and the snapshots.

Snapshot is only available to a VM. Whether they are called VPS or something else. If the instance is virtualized, a snapshot is possible. Backup is installing an agent into the guest OS or the dedicated server, transfer the partition or files into a backup storage device.

Snapshot takes an image of the instance of its current state and dumped into a compressed file format like LZO. It is only possible to restore the entire VM. to restore files, you will have to extract files after you have restored the VM to another instance which is very time-consuming.

However, you can restore files from a backup. Even a bootable partition for some backup solutions. To restore a partition, you must have a temp portable partition on the memory to restore the restored bootable partition backup. This is a very slow process especially the restoration involved a huge partition.

Files restoration is the fastest and if you need to roll back the entire server, a snapshot restoration is much faster than restoring a bootable partition. However, if your backup retention is longer, you will need lesser space on your backup devices.

Most snapshot use NFS. It is cheaper to build an NFS storage than a proprietary backup solution. Nowadays, VM snapshot uses LVM-Thin to conserve disk space, it helps reduce disk space usage significantly. There is a drawback using LVM-Thin, the server must have a faster write and read space especially restoration, otherwise, it will affect the speed on other guest machines on the same server.

Dedicated Server? The common mistakes

If you put a website on a dedicated server, mainly there are 2 reasons. Either the website has a lot of users or visitors that you require resources or physical security is your concern. But there are many dedicated servers out there. How do you choose a server for your website? Price? Specification? or Brand?

Today, we gonna share the common mistakes we have seen to help you to make a better choice.

  • We have seen servers used less than 10% resources in our datacentre. Always do homework, if a server is required? There are alternative like VPS, VM, EC2 computing etc. They perform like a server with less expensive are they suffice for your need? Yes, if they are. They can be a much cheaper option.
  • 2. The more the merrier? The bigger is better?  Actually, this might not be the case. You are paying for more or bigger resources, however, your application might not utilize them optimally.  Example, if you are given 32Gb of RAM, 10 users will consume about 14Gb. In other words, you need 16Gb the most but you are paying 32Gb. Unless the price difference is small, otherwise it might be a good idea to stick to 16GB, Another example, you are given a 4Tb storage. Compare to 10 years ago, 4Tb is huge. What does 4Tb mean to you? More storage? or more websites? More storage means you need more storage to backup. As far as I’m aware, most hosting companies charge the storage space used. Using more storage on a server, you might be paying on a higher backup storage bills. I can add more websites. Yes, you can. Provided your CPU and RAM can cope with. Simple mathematics, let say the same CPU can host 20 websites. For 20 websites you are using 32GB of RAM and 2Tb of storage. Now, with 4Tb I get more spaces to host 40 websites haha I can make more money. Eventually, you will get more complaints and all the websites are affected, and they are slower than before. It is good to have more spaces. The additional storage space gives you an allowance. You can either allocate more spaces to a website or use it for backup to roll back. The less important task can be useful sometimes.
  • Prepare to pay more. When you own a dedicated server. Most things are physical. Example, firewall, backup, RAM etc. These items cost more usually. Basically, this can be your hidden costs and not likely there is a cheaper option.
  • Load balancing & High availability – They are more complicated and expensive to implement. Like I have mentioned, they are physical appliances, you need physical works unlike the virtual machine takes maybe only a couple of days and the costs are significantly lower.