speccing an NFS server -- smp good or bad?

Danial Thom danial_thom at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 9 06:42:43 PST 2006

--- Wojciech Puchar <wojtek at tensor.3miasto.net>

> > For a FBSD (or Solaris 10) based server that
> is only acting as an NFS server 
> > and nothing else, is there any advantage to
> using an SMP machine?  Any
> no. one CPU is powerful enough. pentium 200
> class machine does have no 
> problems working as NFS server for 100Mbit/s
> LAN at full speed, assuming 
> disk is able to cope with.
> > disadvantage?
> >
> > Does CPU speed play any great factor (ie, use
> a 1.8ghz opteron instead of a 
> > 2.2ghz opteron for example)?
> no. with slowest available AMD64 CPU it will
> still be much overpowered. 
> consider using that machine for other tasks
> too.
> but you will need motherboard with something
> better than 33Mhz 32-bit PCI 
> and lots of ATA/SATA ports, or extra
> controllers plugged if you like this 
> server to really be able to do 1000Mbit/s
> speed.
> > card.  I assume lots of RAM for the OS to use
> to cache would be desirable and 
> > GB ethernet.
> >
> all depends of the type of workload. in case of
> mostly large file streamed 
> big cache won't help much. in case mostly small
> subset of files will be 
> used, big cache may be a benefit.

I agree and disagree :)

As for CPU speed (where you can assume linear
performance benefits as GHZ increase), "Faster"
is always better, although not "necessary". With
a faster cpu and faster ethernet card your
responses will be faster. Every millisecond
counts. Faster machines react faster to requests
and faster machines can fill a wire more
effectively. It won't be overloaded with a slow
processor, but it will be snappier with a faster

Your premise that 2 processors are faster than 1
is faulty, since FreeBSD sucks at SMP. So avoid
SMP because your performance may even be worse
than with 1 processor. I haven't tested 7.0 yet
but its becoming the story of the OS that cried
"WOLF"; they may get it someday but I'm getting
tired of believing them.

 "GB ethernet" is meaningless, since gigabit
controllers and 100Mb/s controllers (these days)
are the same. Many on-board "gigabit" interfaces
are only on 32bit/33Mhz busses. You want a
64-bit/133Mhz card that has a good driver in
FreeBSD. All cards are different. Intels are
good. Some others may be good also.


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