Server hardware discussion. Any server Owner Must Read !

Discussion in 'Server Admin Area' started by Greedseed, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. Greedseed

    Greedseed New Member

    Oke this thread is about the "Hardware" part of servers and server hosting.

    Lets get some base thread rules down first!
    This will NOT become a AMD Vs. Intel thread!
    Only post FACTS. Do not post things that might be true.
    No flame wars about "my machine is bigger then yours"

    Thread Facts!
    VPS = Small hosted server on a shared machine in the cloud.
    Dedicated Machine = Full rented machine in the cloud. This is NOT shared.
    Managed Hardware = Server or PC Owned by YOU and hardware managed by YOU.

    So lets begin.
    Oke if you are new to hosting or running a server this thread is a good starting point for you! Read it carefully.

    Of you are renting a VPS or Dedi Machine, Make sure you know what you are getting for your money.
    With this i mean. if the service website is NOT displaying what CPU you run on or Ram specs, Go to the support and ask them. If they are not willing to tell you, Change host...

    Unlike you may have bin told, The server hardware you have is VERY important! And it is not just a matter of "WE NEED MORE RAM", There are a lot of factors about hosting a good minecraft server. We will try and discus them here one by one.

    Hard Drive or SSD ?
    So this is something most of the people i talk to don't even want to go into. The response i get is "Man it is way to much overkill". This is NOT the case. It is very simple and easy to see why. A HDD is a "Hard Drive Disk" This means it is a Spinning disk with a moving reader head, so if you want data from point A and then data from point B, your HDD speed will be as fast as the Reader arm can move from point A to point B. So this is more of a "Analog" system of data storage.
    But a SSD "Solid State Drive" is a solid drive. It is a Storage Drive that has NO moving parts. Like a "Digital" data storage, this means you are not limited to the speed of your Disk spinner motor and your Reader header moving to the point it needs to. Also a SSD will have multiple "Threads" it will be able to read and write data to the drive, on different locations at once. With a HDD it cant be done since you have only 1 Reader arm. This is called "IOPS" or "Input/Output Operations Per Second".

    Some small facts about HDD and SSD.
    A HDD only has 75 up to 175 IOPs.
    a SSD in that matter has from 8.400 up to 12.000.000 IOPs.

    Why is this so important? Your files like your world files or flatfiles, will be constantly read/rewritten by your server. So if you have a larger map where you got a couple of players + your operating system is running. you already goble all those IOPs down. You dont need a Fancy 12 Mil IOPs SSD. A 10.000 will do perfectly fine for a very large server. And those are very cheap these days. you can get a small SSD for 70$ these days.

    The Ram!
    Your ram is something that you need, but not the huge amounts some of you think.
    To clear out my point. From the moment you have 5Gig or more, your CPU will probably bottleneck your system. So dont go buying 16Gig of ram, you really dont need it.
    And for the guys here that say "Ramdisk Ramdisk Ramdisk Ramdisk", Please take in account that you might have a fast "Drive" but it will limit your world size by a LOT due to the cost of Ramdisks. And, it is VERY insecure due to the fact that it is unstable. And if you lose power or a crash, you lose the data on the ram disk.
    But back to Ram.
    Ram 2 main things next to the total Gig.
    The speed of the ram, put down in Mhz. And the Latency.
    So the lower your latency the faster your info will be in and out of your ram towards or from the CPU or other media. Again the faster your Mhz, the faster data gets handled.
    You dont need more then 1600Mhz. Most mainboards run on 1333Mhz anyway and will need overclocking to run the ram on 1600Mhz.
    The latency on DDR3 1333Mhz is LC8 or LC9. Even LC10 is still acceptable, but don't go much higher than that.

    The CPU!
    First off I will talk about intel since intel is at this point the biggest CPU's you can get.

    Your CPU is your server's heart. Everything will go to and from your CPU. So don't cut out on it.
    You have some main specs that you need to look at on a CPU. First you need to know that minecraft (At this point in time) is a SINGLE core application. Apart from some mods that will use a second core you will have no need for 16 Core servers. A 4 Core server will do perfectly fine!

    The Ghz. This is a tricky one. A lot of you here compare all CPU's with there Ghz. This is not how CPU's work. Oke a Ghz is in perspective the "speed" of the CPU. But, there Ghz are NOT equal over all brands and series of CPU's.

    So this means. If we take 2 CPU's and both compare them on single core performance.
    A Core 2 Duo on the 775 socket @ 2.8Ghz.
    Vs.
    Core I7 Socket 1366 @ 2.8Ghz.
    Both the Ghz are equal but still the newer series I7 will be a lot faster then the Cure 2 Duo. This is due to the fact that it uses a different architecture. It is build differently. In main terms, The newer CPU's dont go "faster" but then can handle bigger data packets, where older CPU's needed to split them up and do them part by part.

    Intel works on "Tick" and "Tock", Every "Tick" is a new Architecture. And every "Tock" is on the same architecture but improved a lot. At this point we are on the "Tock" with the socket 2011 Sandy-Bridge series
    [​IMG]

    This all counts for AMD as well. There current bulldozer series is really not so amazing as we hoped it to be, but we can just hope they will get back on top with there new series.

    But back to intel. There is more to a CPU. You need to look at your Cache as well. Dont use a 1MByte cash. The cash is used to cover a small backlog of data to the CPU. So it can catch it. So the bigger your cash the better.

    Also look at what the max memory size is that your CPU can handle and what the Memory bandwidth is.
    Just google your CPU number and check on benchmark websites like this.

    The Network!
    I hope most of you can see the importance of this. You NEED a good Uplink. Your download speed wont be used. You are fine with 1Mbit download. Your upload is what you need. Get at least 10Mbit upload speed.
    Since on a modded server you have use up to 1Mbit per player thanks to all the extra special data blocks. Just look at micro blocks of Redpower. This block will contain:
    Block ID. Position of the block inside the 1 by 1 cube. And all the data of all the other blocks in the same 1 by 1 cube. This is a TON more data over the vanilla 1 block 1 ID.
     
  2. Xaviorm

    Xaviorm New Member

    Upload speed is variable. I am running 20 slots easily with a 1 gig pipe. I also stream while doing it. Not an hd stream but none the less. CPU is almost always the bottleneck. Ram does matter but not as much as everyone thinks.
     
  3. Spasticon

    Spasticon New Member

    All of this advice seems geared towards very large servers (50+ players) which is a little odd since the vast majority of the server advertisements look like they are 20 players or less.

    What may be a more worthwhile discussion for this community are the different options available at the different tiers (5, 10, 20, 50, 100 user, etc) and things like recommended RAM per user or at what point it is an absolute must to graduate from HDD to SDD, etc.

    Some thoughts for discussion:

    CPU:
    This table may be more accurate at the moment since the server is still single threaded: http://www.cpubenchmark.net/singleThread.html

    Network:
    In my testing the various FTB packs (including RP2 or not) do require more throughput than vanilla, but not a drastic amount. Some results:
    • Vanilla: Idle at about 25Kbps, burst up to 500Kbps. Average over a lengthy normal play session ended up at 35Kbps.
    • Direwolf/Mindcrack: Idle at about 125Kbps, burst up to 500Kbps. Average over a lengthy normal play session ended up at 150Kbps.
    In both cases I spent my time doing normal activities, although both were near other players (a few chunks away) so I was never truly "alone".
     
  4. Greedseed

    Greedseed New Member


    Added the link.

    Also RP2 is the most pain on your network. Like it sed you can have "up to" 1Mbit. This is not stating you run constantly on 1Mbit per player.

    Also this is aimed ad ALL server owners.
    Everyone should know what you pay for. You dont go throwing money at something you have no clue of what you are using. This post just adds info on all levels.
     
  5. BeastCrafter

    BeastCrafter New Member

    great thanks for the info. Also i must say (not hardware related, well kinda) Java 7 IS EXTREMELY RESOURCE HEAVY. Like i updated (idk why i thought it would be nice to have 7 over 6) and woah god my cpu and ram usage has never been higher. is this because of forge? my friend who makes mod told me its cause forge is mostly in 6. You guys wanna share your knowledge? as i am still new to server administration.
     
  6. spudy12

    spudy12 New Member

    Cheers, nice guide. You said to me don't overclock as it makes it unstable, however it's not tricky to achieve stable overclocks (obviously stress test first before running server on it 24/7) and surely having overclocked the CPU means that even for older CPU's even though it processors small packets, it will process these quicker?

    another thing is RAM disks, you say they limit your world size, how is this so? If you have a 2-4gb RAM disk (RAM is so cheap these days) surely thats more than enough space for a mc server? My largest map size etc is 200mb including all server files. I know about power cuts, loss etc surely thats also true of SSD's and standard harddrives? cheaps UPS solve this problem.

    Not disagreeing with you, just curious.

    Spud

    Edit: One other thing is, is minecraft really not multithreaded yet? Just as weather I'm running it on a dual core or a octicore, all cores share the same cpu load ie 60%. or is this the java virtual machine it runs in?
     
  7. Greedseed

    Greedseed New Member

    yes HDD are extremely slow if you send it to do mulitple things. VS SSD's that can handle multiple tasks.

    Also the Ramdisk is more limited. I have worlds that are up to 5 Gigs big. This happens when you have a lot of players exploring :p

    The overclocking will make your CPU faster, but at a cost. You will use more power, but this you can cover with a good PSU. But your CPU will generate more heat. And yes you can get a better CPU cooler, but still your lifespan of your CPU will shorten drastically. also you are probing it to corrupting data faster due to the overclocked state
     
  8. Zach

    Zach New Member

    Can i remove micro blocks but keep the rest of redpower2 working? like the tools? And if so how? Just remove there item ids from the config? Will removing the microblocks cut the lag from redpower? Do i just need to compleletly remove the mod?
     
  9. chibill

    chibill Active Member

    What about swap on Linux for my server would that help?? And if so about how much??
     
  10. Cheest

    Cheest New Member

    So, what server hosts would you recommend?
     
  11. CaelThunderwing

    CaelThunderwing New Member

    unless the Swap is located on an SSD, its going to serve verry lil benifit. windows has been using an "Swap" since its early days (i belive the oldest to use it was "3.1" under the name "Page File" (its more like an exented Cache. nothing really more ) but just like the windows Page file your really getting no better than just Double your Ram, so if your server has 8GB set your swap to 16GB etc it can be ok w/ smaller than your total ram but dont exceede more than 2x larger or smaller.)

    @Cheest Stay the *** away from creeperhost if you plan to have anything bigger than 15 people. (you will not know unles syou pay a good premium if you get stuck w/ a VPS or not. while the OP has not mentioned, VPS's depending on host and the VPS host Machine specs will more often than not. Lag like hell. (see the nearby nations old Modded server. it was a 200slot nearby was paying a fair ammount but by the time over 50 got on the tick rate was so slow day/night lasted 30+ mins longer than normal by the end of the night there was about 150 on and it was like trying MC Hosting on 56k)) seek out someone on the furry site furaffinity "XandrahDragoness" i forgot the old host we used to have but she was paying about 90$ US equivilent for a system that had lil to no lag as long people stayed out of too many mystcraft travels (the world generation on Mystcraft and exploring in Twilight Forest will make anything non high end Cry. hell i tried the "Minecraft-server" project [server written in C#] on the ModelB Raspi. albeit buggy it was actually ok till some fast land exploration. and it was making it reboot. but this is offtopic..)
     
  12. Xaviorm

    Xaviorm New Member

    Any more swap than 1Gig on a Linux host is completely useless. Swap should only be used if you are running out of RAM and if you are running out of RAM swap will only allow you to continue to run the server until your RAM issue is resolved. I.E if you are swapping you have a RAM problem that you need to fix. While there are some valid exceptions to this with Linux, minecraft isn't one of them.

    The thinking of doubling ram for swap comes from a time when ram was hard to come by. If you even tried to use a 16 GB swap file that was filled the I/O binding on the server would make it non responsive.
     
  13. Strubinator

    Strubinator New Member

    Here's my specs. Server runs about 11 individual minecraft servers, a website and teamspeak and other services, but the non modded ones are all accessed through the same port, with a proxy.

    VPS running somewhere in Canada(I dont know the host, I dont pay for it)
    Runs Ubuntu
    Intel E5-1650, 6 cores, 12 threads at 3.2 Ghz
    64 Gb DDR3
    2x2TB SATA III HDD
    2x120GB SSD
    200mb/s bandwidth, 1gb/s when needed.

    I have to say, that was quite a deal. If you want a powerful server, definitely go with a VPS. A dedicated server of similar size cost around $600 a month, and well, long story short, owner couldnt pay for it.
    I believe this one was around $250 a month, not bad. The key is getting lots of loyal players, who are willing to donate to support the server. Players are willing to pay for a few in-game perks.

    I have seen servers out there that have charged $100 for a donation rank on a survival server, and end up giving them creative mode and spawned items. I dont believe in scamming players for money, but if you make your server good enough that you get a dedicated playerbase, then some of them will be willing to donate(not buy) for a few added perks. Its all an investment. If you use something like creeperhost, then even one server will be severely limited. If you make your server worthwhile, and put a lot of hard work into it, sometimes it can pay off.

    The advantages with having a server even 1/8 of this power, is that you dont have to worry about your system specs. You wont be constrained by a player limit, and how large your worlds can be. The key is finding the good deals. You can definitely get more for your money with a VPS than a Dedicated box.

    There can be hiccups though, for some reason, all 12 threads were maxed out, servers had extreme lag, website was unresponsive, and even the console was frozen. Took ages to even restart it. We still dont know what the hell happened. But its back to normal now, threads are all humming at 12-25%.
     
  14. jnads

    jnads New Member

    Really, Hard Drive vs SSD means jack squat.

    If you're a competent server owner you'll set it up on Linux and configure a 2-3GB Ramdisk (RAM is cheap, unless you're on a VPS/Dedicated). Then configure a mod for automated back-ups every 15 minutes, so that if there's a crash, at most your users lose 15 minutes worth of play.

    This is the only way to get top performance. Ramdisk.


    Unless you get far outside of 1K x 1K, or your server allows Mystcraft, your world should take quite a while to even approach 1GB. If you really want to afford it, give it 2GB. But really, most SSDs can only read/write at about 200 MB/sec. RAM Bandwidth is on the order of 25 GB/sec, and way lower latency. In theory the IOPs is infinite (or huge). People generally measure 5,000,000 IOPS.
     
  15. Greedseed

    Greedseed New Member

    For a tiny server with only a couple of friends, maybe ! but even then. If its a tiny server you can just run it from HDD's.
    But you do not address some of the other points in your post here.
    A 1 GB Ramdisk is way to small for all the stuff you server will be using, a decent server ill rapidly grow its combined map size above the 1GB level, also if you own plugins like logblock it is probably run to a database, and yes again, the database can greatly benefit from the SSD ! so in that case you would already need about 10GB of ram disk + a second mirroring database ?

    The price of a good amount of ram is cheap, if your machine wont go above the average of 32Gigs, then you need Registered or even ECC Reg ram dim's, not even counting single or double side, this is a HUGE price increase to get more ram for your ramdisk, and then a SSD is a much cheaper option!

    Also most hosts these days already provide a SSD or SSD option for a very low price !
    And not even counting the relative safety from a SSD. While a HDD will completely die in 1 go, a SSD will move data of chips that are damaged or show signs of degradation! So if you get a SSD with a good controller chip, you have a safer drive then a regular HDD in fact !

    So why go threw all that hassle if there is such a easy solution. I think a "competent" server owner would have seen all these facts before choosing on or the other !
     
  16. jnads

    jnads New Member

    I'm just saying, the performance difference between SSD/HDD is making much ado about nothing, when compared to a Ramdisk.

    You're comparing a Tortoise (HDD) to a Ford Fiesta (SSD). In this comparison, the Ramdisk is an F-16 Fighter Jet.


    Meanwhile.... Really??? It's going to exceed 1GB rapidly? Now you're spewing dribble without bringing facts to the table.

    1140x 1140 (1.1km by 1.1km) map will use around 40mb of storage.
    2280x 2280 (2.2km by 2.2km) map will use around 130mb of storage
    4560x 4560 (4.5km by 4.5km) map will use around 430mb of storage
    9120x 9120 (9.1km by 9.1km) map will use around 1700mb of storage
    18240x 18240 (18.2km by 18.2km) map will use around 6300mb of storage

    The _ONLY_ reason you'd use more is if you have Mystcraft enabled.

    Unless you're running a 100+ person server (in which case you're probably running several SSDs, and buttloads of RAM, and griefing protection with multiple backups), 10k x 10k is among the largest servers I've seen.


    And relying on a SSD for data is a bad idea. I've had them crash. The controller can go bad and you've lost all your data. The power circuitry in the drive can burn out. There's all sorts of scenarios that _don't_ apply to a HDD that can happen to a SSD.

    Now, in general, an SSD is waaay better. My point is, don't misplace your faith. I'm an SSD early adopter, I've been using them for several years (at great cost initially). They are not bullet-proof.


    Not to mention, you're going to kill an SSD much sooner with all the small writes Minecraft performs. SSDs have something called a "block size", which is the minimum amount of data they can write. In addition, these "blocks" can only be written a certain number of times (3,000-5,000) before they die. Even if you write 1 byte of information, it still writes that "block size" (usually 512KB). Modern SSDs apply all sorts of tricks to get around this, but ultimately it still applies. Now, advantage is usually on your side because SSDs are large, and the SSD will try to make sure the wear is spread out, but if you're running a popular 24/7 Minecraft server, your SSD might be dead in 1-2 years.

    It's far better for the longevity of your server to use a Ramdisk and have save-all and rsync configured to back-up your world status (or a Admin Mod that does the same).
     
  17. Greedseed

    Greedseed New Member


    Your map folder sizes are vanilla maps... the numbers you show here are from 1 Map and Vanilla style, not adding all the extra ore gen and new items and stuff that the mods add, and since this is the FTB forum, mystcraft is a real thing. As well as you ignored the fact i mentioned Databases for plugins like Logblock ! A plugin like this will QUICKLY use a good 3 to 4 Gigs

    And now you seems to compare a SSD with a ramdisk and ... cars ? well let me try that. Your ram disk is a bugatti veyron that you are trying to drive in urban streets. You may have a lot of power, but no way to use it! a SSD wont even get capped by the use of a large Minecraft server.

    And then, the life span, a SSD will coup very well with minecraft files since they are small files, thats where SSD's are awesome in. Also a normal SSD life span is about 2Mil hours of running time, hard drive is about 1.5Mil
    And yes if you had a couple of the early bread OCZ drives, they did die a lot yes, there controllers had awful flows, but like any new product it improved, and SSD's these days are amazing. And if you are scared to lose your SSD after 5000 rewrites, well all company's give something thats called "warranty" and its not limited to Rewrites but "Time". But dont worry, they will hold out a lot longer then you hope in your post above :).

    But lets sum it up again shall we.

    RamDisk
    +Very high speed and Iops (but no need for these extreme speeds)
    +Cheap if your server machine only contains less then 32Gigs (Mainboard limits & if you use windows you will need windows server licenses or ultimate licenses )
    -Can rapidly cost a lot more if you want more then 32 gigs for your whole server due to ECC Reg, about 13Euro/1Gb
    -Must have a EXTRA drive to store all backups on. And if safety is needed that drive needs another for raid 1
    -Must backup constantly to avoid big data losses !
    -If run a Database on the disk, complicated database mirroring will probebly be needed.
    -Very limited in size.
    -Possible complicated setup's.
    -No raid capability's


    SSD's
    +No big need to backup to another drive every 15 minutes.
    +Decent size for not to much money.
    +90% reliable! 99.9% in a raid 1 - 5 or 6 Setup
    +Easy to setup in a raid 0 - 1 - 5 or 6 array for space and security, and if anything happens, Hot swap!
    +No need for a second backup drive or raid array.
    +Database can easily be run from the same drive.
    +Can run on the same drive as your OS with relative no performance loss.
    -Less speed then Ramdisk but you do not need more then this provides.
    -Prices may be a bit higher at a average of 0.8Euro/1GB
     
    Infallible83 and Strubinator like this.
  18. Strubinator

    Strubinator New Member

    Finally someone has some sense. Also, RAM is volatile, so if your server crashes for some odd reason, you just lost a whole lot of data! Just because its faster, doesnt mean its the best tool for the job.
    If you use Dynmap, that can take up an enormous amount of space, especially in HD mode. It can easily reach 10gb.
     
  19. Droosk

    Droosk New Member

    Question for other admins. Is it possible to host other worlds (Ex: Twilight, a Mining age, etc) on a completely different server, while keeping them actually connected? Example, someone steps through the portal to Twilight, and they start using the resources on the 2nd server, rather than the original.

    Edit: Or maybe, as my server is running on a Ubuntu system, load worlds seperately, and start using cpu affinity to give them their own processing CPUs (I have several available, and as previously mentioned, MC is single thread so the others are being wasted).
     
  20. Strubinator

    Strubinator New Member

    Droosk, look up bungeecord. Might not work with ftb though.
    Jnads, I'm on my phone so forgive me if my sentences aren't well constructed.
    Loading your world into ram has ZERO benefits.
    You might have 25gbs bandwidth on your ram, but that means absolutely when your network bandwidth is much lower. Mine is 200 MBA, hey look, just as fast as my ssd! Switching to ram will offer no additional benefit to players, they won't be able to download new chunks any faster.
    Loaded chunks are already loaded in ram in the first place, unloaded chunks stay in the ssd. Suppose you did have 25 gbs network bandwidth. The only thing that will change is how fast new chunks are loaded, and ssd is already fast enough to load chunks flying with gravisuite. Broken blocks are already written straight to ram, so you won't see any decrease in block latency. Again, you are limited by your network bandwidth, not your ssd speed.
    OK this is a pain on my phone, I could construct a we written argument on my desktop, but you get the point.
     

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