My Ideal SQL Server Test Box is on the Way

Several weeks ago I wrote a blog post called “What is the Ideal SQL Server Test Box?” At that time I was putting together the specs for a test SQL Server box I hoped to be able to get for my home office. While a laptop is great for giving SQL Server presentations, it’s not the greatest for testing and stressing SQL Server. And while I do have access to some large SQL Server boxes via remote access, I am limited to what I can do on them. So what I really wanted was my own test box that I could reconfigure as needed for testing and benchmarking.

While I was at TechEd, I had a talk with the head of the DBA Tools division at Red Gate Software, and we were talking about software testing when I mentioned that I would like to have my own test hardware at home. And a little to my surprise, he agreed with me. That’s when I started to do some research on what I thought would be an ideal (and still affordable) test box, and that’s when I wrote the above mentioned blog post.

As I was corresponding with the head of the DBA Tools division, he suggested that I also spec out a two-node cluster with Direct Attached Storage (DAS) so that I could test even more scenarios. That was a little more than I was expecting, but I went ahead and put together two proposals: one for a single tower test box, and another with two towers plus a DAS that was configured for clustering. To my surprise, the cluster configuration was approved and I placed the order for it yesterday. Hopefully, in about 30 days, all the hardware will arrive and I can begin to build the cluster and to begin some testing and benchmarking that I have been wanting to do for a long time.

Here is what I ordered:

–Two identical Dell T610 Towers, each with a single, 6-core CPU (Intel Xeon X5670, 2.93 Ghz, 12M Cache, HT, 1333MHz FSB); 32GB 1333MHz RAM; a PERC H700 RAID controller; two 146GB 15K SAS Drives; one HBA (to connect to the DAS); and dual network connections.

–One PowerVault MD3000 DAS with two, dual-port controllers, and 15 146GB 15K SAS drives.

In order to have a proper cluster, I also need a third box to act as a domain controller. Fortunately, I already have a small Dell tower that will now be devoted as my domain controller and be configured so that I can access my network remotely.

While not a huge system, it should more than meet my needs as a home test server, and give me plenty of flexibility to experiment with different configurations. Of course, it is not as big a test system as Paul Randal has, but I think it will do just fine. When I get the equipment and start building the cluster, I’ll blog on the experience. It has been a few years since I built a cluster from scratch, and this should be a good learning experience.

PS: I also want to thank the head of the DBA Tools division, and Red Gate Software, for my new test system.

2 thoughts on “My Ideal SQL Server Test Box is on the Way

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention My Ideal SQL Server Test Box is on the Way | SQL Aloha --

  2. Sorry for posting here, but it wasn’t an option on the “Hawaii is Not Prometric Microsoft Certification Test Friendly” post. Why not?

    Without going into a bunch boring detail, I’ve basically got just one question: Is it really a bad enough situation to post? The corrollary might be, “so what?”

    It got me thinking…Santa Barbara doesn’t have a Prometric center either. Granted, traveling to the nearest site is much less expensive, but so is almost everything else here, except property. Comparing the two locations, the only complaints I have (digging deep for anything) are that I have to wear a wetsuit when I surf, and the crowds at the surf spots are bigger. Generally, however, posting it never occurred to me. Bringing it up just to illustrate even makes me feel a little guilty and spoiled since there are bound to be a whole bunch of readers who are currently dealing with actual issues. The awesome things are that I get to surf (anywhere), wetsuit or not, crowds or not, and you get to do what you do while living on Hawaii. Life is really good, isn’t it?

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