Understanding Server Hardware

Learn how to identify your current servers and processors, evaluate different servers for performance, choose the most appropriate new server for your budget, and maintain server hardware; applicable to anyone who uses servers or is responsible for evaluating and choosing new servers
Course info
Rating
(188)
Level
Beginner
Updated
Oct 25, 2012
Duration
3h 0m
Table of contents
Introduction
Hardware Identification
Hardware Evaluation
Hardware Selection
Hardware Maintenance
Servers in the Real World
Description
Course info
Rating
(188)
Level
Beginner
Updated
Oct 25, 2012
Duration
3h 0m
Description

How do you know what the capabilities of your server are? How do you choose a new server? Which processor should you select? How can you avoid having to pay exorbitant amounts for licenses, or wasting money through over-provisioning a server? This course answers all these questions and more. The course begins be explaining basic server terminology, and then explains how to decode Dell and HP server model numbers, along with Intel and AMD processor numbers so you can figure out what current servers and components you have. It then describes and demonstrates the common application, processor, memory, and disk benchmarks you can use to evaluate the performance of your current and new servers. After that, it explains all the choices you need to make when choosing a new server so that you make the best use of your hardware budget, considering the anticipated workload plus OS and application licensing limitations. Finally it covers how to maintain your servers, including how to limit maintenance downtime using high-availability technology, and then how to maximize your hardware budget through negotiation tactics, consolidation, and virtualization. This course is perfect for beginners with little knowledge of server hardware, through developers, DBAs, managers, and other IT professionals who need to understand how to successfully evaluate and provision new servers

About the author
About the author

Glenn works as a Principal Consultant at SQLskills.com. He has been a SQL Server MVP since 2007, and he is also an Adjunct Faculty member at University College - University of Denver. He is the author of the book SQL Server Hardware (Redgate 2011), and he wrote chapters for both SQL Server MVP Deep Dives books.

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Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

Hardware Identification
Hi, this is Glenn Berry from SQLskills. com. I'm recording this course for Pluralsight. This course is about Understanding Server Hardware, and this is Module 2: Hardware Identification. In this module, we're going to be talking about how to gather information about your hardware. It's really important that you know exactly what components you have, and how they're configured and what their current status is, whether they're operating correctly or not. There's several easy to use hardware identification tools that we're showing here including msinfo32 and CPU-Z. We'll also talk about some of the server management tools that the major server vendors offer such as Dell and HP. And we'll also talk about how to understand server model numbers so you can look at a server model and understand the capabilities of the server. And we're going to do some detail about how Dell and HP actually use their server model numbers. And then, we'll get into actually how do you identify Intel and AMD processors, because that's extremely important when you're specking out a server? And then we will talk about how to understand your server's limits, both licensing limits and physical limits of how much memory and how many expansion slots that you might have at particular server.

Hardware Evaluation
This is Glen Berry with SQLskills. com. I'm recording this course for Pluralsight. This is Understanding Server Hardware: Module 3 Hardware Evaluation. Here's what we'll be talking about in this module. First, we'll be talking about how to understand your workload. Different types of servers will place different demands on a different components in your server so it's important that you know your workload type as you're picking out the components for the server. Next, we'll be talking about application benchmarks such as TPC-E and TPC-H and also SPEC Java Benchmark. And now we're getting into component benchmarks that stress different parts of your server. And we're talking about disk benchmarks like CrystalDiskMark, HDTune Pro, ATTO and SQLIO. And we'll also be talking about processor benchmarks. Some examples are Geekbench and the SPECCPU2006 benchmark and Cinebench. Finally, we'll be talking about memory benchmarks. There's a memory component of Geekbench and there's also a SiSoft Sandra 2012. And then we'll finally, we'll be talking about understanding hardware tradeoffs. It could be that you don't an unlimited for your server and also as you're picking different components, that can sometimes affect the other components and affect the overall performance of your server.

Hardware Selection
Hi, this is Glenn Berry from SQLskills, com. I'm recording this course for Pluralsight. It's about Understanding Server Hardware. This is Module4: Hardware Selection. So what we're going to talk about in this module? Well, first, we'll talk about choosing the server vendor. We'll talk about how to choose between the major first tier server vendors then we'll get into how to choose a server form factor whether it's going to be a rack-mount server, a tower server, or a blade server. Then we'll talk about how to choose a processor vendor whether it's going to be AMD or Intel. Then we'll going to do how to choose a particular server model from a preferred server vendor that has to do with the motherboard and the processors, the available memory and available storage. And we'll talk about how to determine the amount of RAM put it in your new server. And then we'll get into talking about how to choose a storage type for this server, whether it's going to be internal drives or PCI-E storage cards, or direct-attached storage, or maybe a SAN. And we'll also get into RAID levels and understanding the difference between them and RAID storage overhead. And finally, we'll talk about how to choose components for redundancy because you want avoid single points of failure were possible.

Hardware Maintenance
This Glenn Berry with SQLskills. com. I'm recording this course for Pluralsight. It's Understanding Server Hardware, Module 5: Hardware Maintenance. This module is going to be talking about the importance of hardware maintenance. System vendors frequently release firmware updates that you need to be concern with. Knowing what has to be maintained is also very important. You have your Main BIOS, your NIC firmware, your RAID controller firmware among other things. You also need to know when are hardware-related update actually needed. Do you need to apply them when they're released? Or do you need to wait when you actually have issues? Also, I'll be talking about planning and testing for hardware updates. And the ideas that in an ideal situation you would have identical hardware to do your testing on and if not, how to do it in a maintenance window. We'll be talking about when operating system updates are needed. These are released on Microsoft Patch Tuesday every month. We'll get into planning and testing operating system updates. And the idea that in a perfect situation you would have regression testing on test servers and how to plan a maintenance window. And finally, I'll be talking about how to use rolling maintenance techniques. And this will let you minimize your (inaudible) and reduce the risk when you apply these sorts of updates on your servers.

Servers in the Real World
This is Glenn Berry from SQLskills. com. I'm recording this course for Pluralsight. This is Understanding Server Hardware, Module 6 Servers in the Real World. So what we're going to be talking about in this module, the first topic will be how to justify the purchase of a new server. So I'll give you some successful tactics and negotiation strategy you can use when you're trying to get a new server. Next we'll talk about how to know what hardware tradeoffs to make when you have a limited hardware budget, show you how to maximize your hardware budget for the available dollars you have to spend. Next we'll talk about how to choose your hardware to minimize your software licensing cost. This is very important with socket base or core based licensing that's becoming more popular now. Next we'll talk about server consolidation where you can consolidate multiple existing servers onto a fewer number of new servers. Finally we discuss hardware virtualization. This is where you can run multiple server virtual machines on a virtualization host and also save money and save operating cost in some cases.