[CentOS] 3Ware 9550SX and latency/system responsiveness

Simon Banton centos at web.org.uk
Wed Oct 3 08:47:13 UTC 2007

At 13:49 -0400 2/10/07, Ross S. W. Walker wrote:
>Sounds like the issue is more of a CPU issue then a disk issue, so
>just upgrading the hardware and OS should make a big difference in

Yeah, that was the plan :-) Basically, we worked out what we needed 
to do (alleviate peak load CPU bottleneck by upgrading hardware), 
sought what we imagined would be suitable (dual faster CPU, hardware 
RAID 1, lots of RAM), and then ran into a brick wall with disk 
performance while testing - something that's never been an issue to 
date on the existing webservers which have a single IDE disk each.

>but I would profile the SQL queries to make sure they are
>not trying to bite off more then they need to.

Fair point - we've done a lot of database tuning in the 5 years this 
app's been under development, so that's pretty well covered. With the 
existing hardware, (the back-end dbserver's a 1GB 1.6GHz P4 with 
mdadm RAID 1) the dbserver load barely reaches 1 even under peak 
traffic - we're not SQL- or IO-bound, we're CPU-bound on the front 

>Well when you created the file system the write cache wasn't installed
>yet right?

True, but there have been many wipes and installs since the BBUs have 
been available and the same long pauses when the inodes are created 
(much more noticeable with CentOS 4.5 than 5, but then the default 
nr_requests is 128 in 5 rather than 8192 in 4.5) that initially drew 
my attention are still apparent.

>And it may be that when you were creating the file system it was right
>after you created the RAID1 array and the controller may have been
>still sync'ing up the disks, which will slow things down tremendously.

I noted that from the documentation at the outset and did an initial 
verify of the RAID 1 through the 3ware BIOS before doing the original 
install. A previous life as a technical author makes me a bit of a 
RTFM freak :-)

>I agree that it is the edge cases that can come back and bite you
>just be sure you don't over-scope those edge cases for situations
>that will never arise.

That's why I'm now building the machine as if there wasn't an issue, 
so I can hammer it with apachebench and see if I'm tilting at 
windmills or not.


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