If I have a fixed amount of money to spend as a general rule
>is it better to buy one processor and lots of memory or two >processors and less memory for a system which is transactional >based (in this case it's handling reservations). I realise the >answer will be a generalised one but all the performance bits >I've read seem to talk about adjusting memory allocation. >The client has received the general advice from their hardware >supplier that 2 Xeon processors and less memory is better but >for postgresql I'm thinking they might be better off with a single >processor and loads of memory. The OS is Red Hat Linux.
Well it depends. If your projected database size is say 2 gigs, then you should buy 2Gigsof RAM and spend rest of the money on processor.
But if your database size(max of currrent and projected) is 100GB, obviously you can not buy 100GB of memory that cheaply. So you should look for fast storage.
The order of priority is IO, memory and CPU. If database is just big enough to fit in a gig or two, you should get RAM first.
Processor is hardly ever a concern w.r.t database unless you are doing a lot in database business logic.
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