PCIe for Dell r610 and citrix application server

Discussion in 'SSD Beginners Guide and Discussion' started by Scott McCollum, Jul 31, 2015.

  1. Scott McCollum

    Scott McCollum New Member

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    I have a Dell R610 that is running 2012 R2 HyperV core.

    Goal of this server was to speed up our EHR application. I bumped up the processor from 2.4 to 3.2 - made a few BIOS memory tweaks and then started experimenting with RAM drives. I successfully had a 2008 R2 application server running inside a 40gb RAM drive and LOVED the performance. I didn't like that the checkpoints and VHD growth would fill up the drive. So, I compromised... I installed SoftPerfect RAM drive for the application inside the OS and it definitely helped the application become snappier. Part of the reason is the program uses local storage to load templates and these started loading from RAM.

    Main issue is the application takes a while to load...it loads a ton of .Net files on startup.. Mainly because it loads a TON of .Net application files that are in the Windows folder thus not allowing me to place in a RAM drive.. when the whole OS was in a RAM drive it only took 4 seconds to load... now it takes over 12 seconds. If you count the time it takes for the Citrix profile to load plus a few clicks, it takes my Doc 30+ seconds for the EHR to be usable.

    So, my question is - what would be a good SSD solution to run the VHD files from? If I could buy a BPLus M2P4S and slap in a Samsung SM951 or two? That, if it worked, would be relatively inexpensive and much faster then the 10K SCSI drives housing the VHDs... or... Intel 750 400gb PCIe card?

    Any other recommendations?

    I guess card would need to be 2012 R2 driver compatible.... do the BPlus cards work with 2012 R2?

    Any help would be appreciated. I know it doesn't sound like a big deal, but with all the extra clicks the Docs have to do with MU measures and new data points... factor in most EHRs are poorly written and not intuitive.. I"m trying to do whatever I can to make the system a little more tolerable.
     
  2. Sean Webster

    Sean Webster Das Schweebie Staff Member

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    A PCIe card like the Intel 75o would probably be the best bet over the Samsung when it comes to blind compatibility. There could be an issue where the motherboard will be limiting in terms of max performance, running at PCIe 2.0 x4 rather than 3.0 or even PCIe 2.0 x2 or x1. I would message Dell and make sure it would operate at at least PCIe 2.0 x4 speeds before buying. If it does you should see great improvement loading at ~1.6GB/s vs what you are now.

    The amounts of writes you do may be a concern as well, if you think you will surpass the warrantied 127TB of writes over 5yrs (70GB per day), you may want to look into Intel's higher endurance enterprise options.

    You could even just go with a cheaper SATA drive, if you have the space and want to ensure compatibility. It will still run much faster than those 10K spinners, if you have a SATA/SAS 6GB/s connection.
     
  3. Scott McCollum

    Scott McCollum New Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I was definitely leaning the Intel 750 way but didn't want to spend 400$ to try it. I will hopefully be saving 5-8 seconds on load time so I decided to try the more inexpensive solution first.... Lycom card and 128gb Samsung SM951. I will post results once I get the card and try....

    I don't think the SSD will wear out anytime soon... if this works, I'll order another card and drive and have 1 application server on each... with maybe 6-9 users max at one time. Our Citrix servers mainly run the EHR and Outlook with occasional Word/excel usage. I'll look at some of the SSD OS optimizations too.. that should help with writes...

    I did order from the Amazon store on this site because I appreciate the info this site provides...
     
  4. Scott McCollum

    Scott McCollum New Member

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    Update:

    Installed the Lycom card and a 128gb Samsung SM951 in my Poweredge r610. I had some trouble initally because 2012 r2 server had the drive set to readonly. I had to use Diskpart to clear that flag. Also, using disk management remotely did not work, had to create the volume and format using diskpart.
    Once formatted I put a new application server VHD file on the drive . Crystal Disk was hitting 1600mb sequential reads with 2 threads. Anvil was getting 3600 score for read performance. The real test , was opening our EHR application. I retested the EHR app opening time on a server with four drive RAID ten ( 10k scsi) and no users logged in. Application took 10 seconds to open. The SSD application server took 6 seconds to open. Also, when our clinicians click on the Patient tab to do a search, that particular box takes 4 seconds to open on first launch.... on SSD application server it takes 2ish seconds. App is definitely snappier. For the price, i think it's worth it.

    Next step... bought Bplus card and another 128gb Samsung.... I installed it last night - and setup a RAID 1 software mirror between the Samsung in the Lycom card ..... going to test today. I did run a Crystal Disk last night... was getting 3200mb sequential...

    One question... random 4k performance is only 36-38mb... is this normal for a single or RAID SSD drive setup?
     

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