Advice configuring Primocache Server

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Wombat555
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Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2019 6:15 pm

Advice configuring Primocache Server

Post by Wombat555 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 6:59 pm

Hi,

I’m building a new server for a small business and am hoping to use Primocache Server to help speed things up. I hope you will be able to look at what I’m trying to achieve and give me some advice as I don’t have much experience using SSDs or caching software and I’d like to get the best performance and life from whatever system I build.

Software: Windows Hyper-V bare-metal hypervisor with only one VM. The OS on the VM is Windows Small Business Server Standard 2011.
I know this sounds strange however, SBS2011 was the last version that came bundled with Exchange, SQL Server and WWW. The reason I’m running it in a VM is that being so old I cannot get it to install in either the UEFI or Legacy bios of the MSI B450-A Pro motherboard in the new server. However, It will happily install in a Generation 1 Hyper-V VM. As we own the SBS software and the Hypervisor Host software is free (as long as you don’t want a windows server GUI) I’ve decided this is the best (if maybe not the easiest) way to go.

Hardware: Ryzen 5 2600 CPU. (6 core, 12 thread, 3400-3900mhz), MSI B450-A Pro mobo, 32GB Giel Potenza 3000mhz DDR4 mem,
Samsung M.2 NVME 500 GB SSD, Seagate Iron Wolf 7200 3 GB NAS HDD, ASUS GT710 2 GB GPU. 2x4 GB Seagate Backup Plus USB HDDs for backups.

From what info I’ve been able to gather and understand at this point my plan to date is as follows.
1. Create a 100 GB partition on the Seagate Drive and install the MS Hypervisor Host software into that partition.
2. Partition the SSD. 20% Overprovisioning for wear and life. Equals 93 GB. Leaves 372 GB. Create a 100 GB partition for Primocache level 2 cache and then create a final partition with the remaining 272 GB and install a VM in that partition running SBS 2011 Standard. The VM will get 18 – 22 GBs of memory and the Primocache L1 cache will get 7 to 10 Gbs. I know from experience that SBS will want a minimum of 16 – 18 GBs and once the system is running I’ll monitor how much the hypervisor needs and divide the rest between SBS and Primocache. I would be surprised if hyper-v needed much more that one, maybe 2 GBs.
3. The Seagate drive will have a 500 GB partition for business data and the remainder (approx. 2.1 GB) will be another partition for workstation backups. Both of these partitions will be using vhdx files and will be cached.

My plan for Primocache is to have a Level 2 SSD cache of 100GB with maybe 2 GB of Level 1 Cache for the partitions on the Seagate 3gb drive and a 6-8gb Level 1 cache only for the 272 GB partition on the SSD. Will this be an effective use of my resources or is there a better way?

Another question is: If I'm using 16kb blocks to lower memory overhead in Primocache do I have to have my disks reformatted to 16kb blocks.

I’d be really grateful for your input on this configuration as you guys are the experts and my experience and knowledge is limited.

Your’s sincerely,
Wombat555 (John)

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support
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Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 2:42 am

Re: Advice configuring Primocache Server

Post by support » Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:18 am

Using 100GB SSD to cache HDD is applicable, but you may just limit target drives to the 100 GB partition where the Hypervisor Host is installed and the 500 GB partition where the business data is stored. If you try to cache the whole 3TB HDD, it seems that the ssd cache too little. Of course, even you cache these 600GB partitions only, the SSD cache still might be little if the amount of the hot data that are read daily is much larger.
BTW, I suppose you only use ssd read caching, right?

For the level-1 caching for the SSD VM partition, it seems ok. But if you have enough budget, I'd recommend that you set the cache inside the VM guest instead of doing in the host. The performance will be better than caching in the host because it will reduce the disk access and communications between guest and host. Of course, it requires an additional license for the VM guest.
Wombat555 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 6:59 pm
Another question is: If I'm using 16kb blocks to lower memory overhead in Primocache do I have to have my disks reformatted to 16kb blocks.
Yes, when the cache block size matches the partition's file system cluster size, you will get the best read performance.
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Widdershins
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Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:05 pm

Re: Advice configuring Primocache Server

Post by Widdershins » Fri May 17, 2019 5:11 am

Great thread.

I hear you loud and clear about better performance if cached in the guest vs the Hyper-V server OS and the licenses. I didn't see Hyper V server tagged as a supported OS so the above is great news. Performance trade-off withstanding, since Hyper V Server doesn't have a GUI, I just set it up via the rxpcc CLI after I buy a server license correct?

Also, Wombat555 didn't indicate if he's using Hyper V Server 2019 or an earlier version. Can anyone confirm this works for Hyper V Server 2019?

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support
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Re: Advice configuring Primocache Server

Post by support » Mon May 20, 2019 5:59 pm

PrimoCache supports all editions of Windows desktop and server OSes since XP and server 2003, including the Hyper-V editions. Both GUI and Core installations of the server systems are supported. In the core installation, you can use the CLI to set up the cache.
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Widdershins
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Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:05 pm

Re: Advice configuring Primocache Server

Post by Widdershins » Mon May 20, 2019 8:39 pm

Stellar. Thanks!

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