> You probably, more than anything, should look at some kind of 
> superfast, external storage array

Yeah, I think that's going to be a given.  Low end EMC FibreChannel
boxes can do around 20,000 IOs/sec, which is probably close to good

You mentioned using multiple RAID controllers as a boost - presumably
the trick here is to split the various elements (WAL, tables, indexes)
across different controllers using symlinks or suchlike?  Can I feasibly
split the DB tables across 5 or more controllers?

> > Also, and importantly, the load comes but one hour per week, so buying a
> > Starfire isn't a real option, as it'd just sit idle the rest of the
> > time.  I'm particularly interested in keeping the cost down, as I'm a
> > shareholder in the company!
> Interesting.  If you can't spread the load out, can you batch some parts 
> of it?  Or is the whole thing interactive therefore needing to all be 
> done in real time at once?

All interactive I'm afraid.  It's a micropayment system that's going to
be used here in the UK to do online voting for a popular TV programme. 
The phone voting system has a hard limit of [redacted] million votes per
hour, and the producers would like to be able to tell people to vote
online if the phone lines are busy.  They can vote online anyway, but we
expect the average viewer to have to make 10 calls just to get through
during peak times, so the attraction is obvious.

> whether you like it or not, you're gonna need heavy iron if you need to do 
> this all in one hour once a week.

Yeah, I need to rent a Starfire for a month later this year, anybody got
one lying around?  Near London?

> Actually, I've seen stuff like that going on Ebay pretty cheap lately.  I 
> saw a 64 CPU E10k (366 MHz CPUs) with 64 gigs ram and 20 hard drives going 
> for $24,000 a month ago.  Put Linux or BSD on it and Postgresql should 
> fly.

Jeez, and I thought I was joking about the Starfire.  Even Slowaris
would be OK on one of them.

The financial issue is that there's just not that much money in the
micropayments game for bursty sales.  If I was doing these loads
*continuously* then I wouldn't be working, I'd be in the Maldives :-)

I'm also looking at renting equipment, or even trying out IBM/HP's
'on-demand' offerings.

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