Advice for New CentOS 6 Server

Issues related to hardware problems
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swallowtail
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Advice for New CentOS 6 Server

Post by swallowtail » 2011/08/23 12:01:44

OK, after running my CentOS 5.x Xen host box for 3 years now, with the release of 6 I am looking to build a new Xen host. I was going to use an Socket 775 board (Asus P5Q) that I have, but can't get any 4GB DDR2 sticks for it, so that's out (I want to run 16GB instead of the current server's 8GB).

I have spent HOURS trying to find a new motherboard that meets my needs... and have just ended up boggling my brain with options. So I thought hey let's post on the CentOS fora...

I need support for minimum 6 ideally 8 SATA drives (I set up 2 x RAID 1 for OS, 4 x RAID 5 for data, and 2 pluggable backup drives) If the board supports only 6 I can use a SATA card I have for the backup drives, but would prefer mobo support as the backups run so much faster that way. An eSATA port would be useful too, as I store copies of the Xen VMs externally. Has to support minmum 16GB DDR3, and other than that the board doesn't really matter. Don't need USB3, don't care about cutting edge performance, just need LOTS of SATA supportable under the CentOS 6 kernel (2.6.32?)

There are all sorts of P67, H67, X67 boards I can get, but all of the Intel CPU boards that I see with lots of SATA appear to use Marvell 912x chips for the extra SATA ports, which I think is 2.6.35 or later...

So I looked at AMD boards, and the Asus Sabertooth 990FX or M5A99X EVO look pretty good - 6 SATA on an AMD SB950, 2 SATA on a Jmicron JMB362, both of which I think are natively supported in the CentOS kernel. And cheap too, even with a Phenom X6. But I read some funny stories about the AMD CPUs under Linux. I've always run Intel CPUs in my servers, so was hoping for any general and / or specific advice on the options.

Once I get the new box up I plan on moving over the existing Xen DomUs and using the extra memory headroom to then slowly migrate the functions over to new CentOS 6 guests.

Any comments would be gratefully listened to! :-D

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TrevorH
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Re: Advice for New CentOS 6 Server

Post by TrevorH » 2011/08/23 12:29:07

If you were thinking of using an S775 board then you can't be that concerned about being out on the bleeding edge of hardware. Did you look at socket 1366 boards? I'm pretty sure they all have 6 SATA ports on the Intel ICH chipset and many have more than that on additional controllers.

swallowtail
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Re: Advice for New CentOS 6 Server

Post by swallowtail » 2011/08/23 21:11:12

[quote]
TrevorH wrote:
If you were thinking of using an S775 board then you can't be that concerned about being out on the bleeding edge of hardware. [/quote]

Correct - I'd be over on the Ubuntu forums or somewhere if I wanted cutting edge. All I need is lots of RAM and lots of disk. I don't run X, and the server is headless 99% of the time. Only reason I'm not sticking with the S775 board is I can't put enough RAM into it.

[quote]Did you look at socket 1366 boards? I'm pretty sure they all have 6 SATA ports on the Intel ICH chipset and many have more than that on additional controllers.[/quote]

Not yet, have been looking at 1155 / 1156 boards. Will take a look. Thanks.

Can anyone comment on any issues running the latest AMD CPUs?

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TrevorH
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Re: Advice for New CentOS 6 Server

Post by TrevorH » 2011/08/23 22:09:55

LGA1366 boards support up to 24GB RAM and generally have 6 DIMM slots.

swallowtail
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Re: Advice for New CentOS 6 Server

Post by swallowtail » 2011/08/24 02:10:13

[quote]
TrevorH wrote:
LGA1366 boards support up to 24GB RAM and generally have 6 DIMM slots.[/quote]

OK, 1366 boards available locally all have Marvell 9128 or 9182 secondary SATA, neither of which are supported in the CentOS 6 kernel I don't believe.

The only one that MAY be an option is the Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R - whilst it has a Marvell 9128 it also has a Jmicron SATA controller AND a Gigabyte SATA2 chip in addition to the 3Gb SATA South Bridge, which I believe are fine in the CentOS kernel, thus giving me the required number of SATA ports without the Marvell chip needed.

I can get that board plus an i7 960 for a combined $540 AUD.

Or I can go AMD, and get a Asus M5A99X-EVO 990X with 6Gb SATA on the SB950 and a secondary Jmicron SATA chip; with a Phenom quad core for about $300 AUD. Six core X6 for a total of about $400.

I need to do some more research on these AMD CPU issues I think.

swallowtail
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Re: Advice for New CentOS 6 Server

Post by swallowtail » 2011/08/26 10:12:44

Hmm.

Looks like the AMD should be fine, so will probably go that way.

But just found out that CentOS6 has no Xen support builtin. So looks like I am going to have to learn a whole new world of virtualisation. I have backup scripts setup using xm and all sorts... ah well, the never ending march of progress!

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