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I've used Slack for a few years now (since slack 7), and now I'm venturing into the entry-level-ish server area that's kind of gray to me. I manage my own dev server with all kinds of services, but it's small time. I've researched a lot so far, and haven't come up with a definitive answer..
I am going to receive an MSI K7d master with 2 gigs of ram and dual 1900's (hand me down). It will be used as a colo for my very small business. The site will host about 10 small to med. sized "web applications" that all use php/mysql/apache for the most part (which I will change say to pg if the need arises). They're not large, but accessed by many visitors it becomes a different story. They will all connect to the db, and given apache 1.3 and php 4.x's stateless nature, I will at least have to deal with db connects on every page, not to mention the reads and inserts on these dynamic pages.
Either way, I will probably do a lot of reading, moreso than writing to disk.. this btw is Apache/xxSQL/PHP ONLY, no mail server, etc. Well nothing major.
I plan on having little to no downtime, since these apps are my businesses livelyhood. So I chose a RAID solution.
Looks like IDE RAID 5 is the best way to go for the $. Keep in mind I don't have deep pockets. I can also hesitantly accept (due to cost) SCSI w/ software RAID 5. On both I'll have to have a separate drive for backups, with a second backup done off site.
Psuedo hardware controllers (Adaptec 2400A, 3ware 7500, Promise SX4000) I know can be a pain.. well actually only promise.. So I have learned anyway
OK.. I have a few q's
Can linux with software IDE RAID auto re-build the array if one drive fails? Can it auto re-build when a replacement is brought in (or with some commands)? What about SCSI? Can hotswap work automatically? Or do I have to monitor it and enter commands when the tech replaces the drive?
What about the same questions with the 'hardware' IDE RAID controllers I mentioned? I suppose 3ware's are the best for compatibility, aside from the adaptec with its higher cost.
I've seen performance tests, but I still don't know what has the best performance and efficiency for my type of server (DB / Apache) is in RAID 5:
On a Software only solution using say 3 (small) U160 drives or 3 WD Raptor's.. or going cheap with 3 or 4 8MB WD IDE drives.
Will the array eat away at my resources?
On any of the three psuedo hardware RAID controllers I mentioned above with say 3 or 4 8MB IDE's.
All I want is a fairly scalable server for decent growth so hardware config isn't the performance bottleneck (with apache & SQL bieng on the same server). I don't want to spend much time obsessing over my server's maintinence aside from security..
...All with nice performance and enough redundancy to have as little downtime as possible for a lower-ish budget price..
Thank you all for reading this far, and for all your input. I apologize for the HUGE post and possibly bad spelling! heh.