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Old 06-21-2007, 07:50 AM   #1
TL_CLD
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Slackware and Firebird


Hey all,

I have in my company an application that uses Interbase, running on a Windows server. This server is being hammered into the ground, hitting 100% CPU multiple times a day. The application does not support any kind of multicore CPU setup, so I'm stuck at single core. It is currently running on one of the fastest AMD single core CPU's available.

One of the culprits is Interbase. When the server hits 100%, its usually due to Interbase sucking up massive amount of CPU cycles.

So I was thinking: Why not move the database of this server, and unto a Linux server, where it could actually benefit from a multicore CPU? And while I'm at it, why not move from Interbase to Firebird?

I've contacted the supplier of this application, and to their knowledge there should be no issues with going from Interbase to Firebird, and there should be no problems moving the database off of (or is it of off?) the application server, as long as there's a nice gigabit connection between the two.

So my question: Anybody here got any experience with Slackware, Firebird and gigabit interfaces? This is a mission critical application, so stability is an issue. As it is, I'm already having enough problems keeping the Windows server alive and kicking, so if Firebird on Linux is crap, then this is obviously not the route for me.

What ethernet chipset should I look for, if stability is key? Should I steer clear of the onboard gigabit ethernet chips?

Any and all suggestions are welcome!

Sincerely,
Thomas
 
Old 06-21-2007, 09:31 AM   #2
MensaWater
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If its mission critical you might want to look at a commercially supported distro rather than Slackware. RedHat is the biggest in that space and Suse is number 2 (though many of us are annoyed at Suse for singing an agreement with M$).

The DB of choice on Linux by most folks is MySQL. Not saying Firebird won't work (haven't used it or seen it in use) but that you might find a lot more help in forums on MySQL than with Firebird.

There is a forum here for hardware compatibility. You can check that to see whether a specific Gigabit NIC is known to work with the distro you ultimately decide upon.

Going back to your original problem. If the app won't use Multi-cores properly you might want to look at the BIOS settings on your system. Sometimes they let you disable presenting it as multi-cores to the OS so that the OS only sees it as one processor and the work of the cores is done by the CPU itself. Setting such a thing might give you a little more CPU power. However, I would almost always recommend running DB on a separate server from the app. Typically what works well for the DB doesn't for the app and vice-versa and by having separate systems you can tune them for the specific needs of the tier they are running.

Finally, Your app vendor should have some sort of compatibility matrix rather than saying "there should be no reason it won't work". You rather want to do it the way they "support" it otherwise they can walk away from any problem by saying "that's a non-supported solution". So they should recommend both the DB to use and the Linux distro (if any) or give you something up front saying they'll support the solution you come up with.
 
Old 06-21-2007, 12:12 PM   #3
TL_CLD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlightner
If its mission critical you might want to look at a commercially supported distro rather than Slackware. RedHat is the biggest in that space and Suse is number 2 (though many of us are annoyed at Suse for singing an agreement with M$).
I'm using Slackware extensively in my company for other mission critical tasks. I'm quite happy with this. I primarily build servers for a select few and simple tasks. Slackware has served me well this past year. (I migrated from Trustix).

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlightner
The DB of choice on Linux by most folks is MySQL. Not saying Firebird won't work (haven't used it or seen it in use) but that you might find a lot more help in forums on MySQL than with Firebird.
MySQL is not an option. It must be either Interbase of Firebird.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlightner
There is a forum here for hardware compatibility. You can check that to see whether a specific Gigabit NIC is known to work with the distro you ultimately decide upon.
Thanks. I'll look into that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlightner
Going back to your original problem. If the app won't use Multi-cores properly you might want to look at the BIOS settings on your system. Sometimes they let you disable presenting it as multi-cores to the OS so that the OS only sees it as one processor and the work of the cores is done by the CPU itself. Setting such a thing might give you a little more CPU power.
Depending on what you mean by "a little more CPU power", I'm afraid this won't solve my problem: This machine is being hammered completely, and I "know/believe" it's because the current implementation of the application has the DB on the same machine as the application.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlightner
However, I would almost always recommend running DB on a separate server from the app. Typically what works well for the DB doesn't for the app and vice-versa and by having separate systems you can tune them for the specific needs of the tier they are running.
Exactly. Hence my question: Anybody here have any experience with Firebird and Slackware?

I've used MySQL and PostgreSQL quite a lot, but for this specific application I'm forced to use Firebird/Interbase.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlightner
Finally, Your app vendor should have some sort of compatibility matrix rather than saying "there should be no reason it won't work". You rather want to do it the way they "support" it otherwise they can walk away from any problem by saying "that's a non-supported solution". So they should recommend both the DB to use and the Linux distro (if any) or give you something up front saying they'll support the solution you come up with.
This application is build specifically for my company (and a few others) by a fairly small vendor. Heck, sometimes I feel I know more about the software than they do!

On the plus-side, if they say "go with Linux for the DB", I know from experience that they will do their best to support their application. I'm one of their biggest customers.

This is more about me wanting/needing some information on Slackware and Firebird, and a wee bit about gigabit ethernet and Slackware.

Sincerely,
Thomas
 
Old 06-21-2007, 01:24 PM   #4
H_TeXMeX_H
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I'd say that Slackware is much more secure (as long as you know what you're doing) and infinitely more stable than Red Hat anything (as least by the kind of stuff I've seen from Red Hat).

Of course, it's all up to you. I can't guarantee anything ...

Last edited by H_TeXMeX_H; 06-21-2007 at 01:25 PM.
 
Old 06-28-2007, 12:29 AM   #5
TL_CLD
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First step done: Firebird is running and working like a champ. It was probably one of the easiest DB installs I've ever done. Download source package, run install.sh.

So in case anybody else is wondering: Firebird and Slackware 11 seems to be playing really well with each other.

Next up: Finding a gigabit chipset with good speed and great stability.

Thomas
 
  


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