> I am curious if there are any real life production > quad processor setups running postgresql out there.
Yes. We are running a 24/7 operation on a quad CPU Sun V880.
> Since postgresql lacks a proper replication/cluster > solution, we have to buy a bigger machine.
This was a compelling reason for us to stick with SPARC and avoid Intel/AMD when picking a DB server. We moved off of an IBM mainframe in 1993 to Sun gear and never looked back. We can upgrade to our heart's content with minimal disruption and are only on our third box in 11 years with plenty of life left in our current one.
> Right now we are running on a dual 2.4 Xeon, 3 GB Ram > and U160 SCSI hardware-raid 10.
A couple people mentioned hardware RAID, which I completely agree with. I prefer an external box with a SCSI or FC connector. There are no driver issues that way. We boot from our arrays.
The Nexsan ATABoy2 is a nice blend of performance, reliability and cost. Some of these with 1TB and 2TB of space were recently spotted on ebay for under $5k. We run a VERY random i/o mix on ours and it will consistently sustain 15 MB/s in blended read and write i/o, sustaining well over 1200 io/s. These are IDE drives, so they fail more often than SCSI, so run RAID1 or RAID5. The cache on these pretty much eliminates the RAID5 penalties.
> The 30k+ setups from Dell etc. don't fit our budget.
For that kind of money you could get a lower end Sun box (or IBM RS/6000 I would imagine) and give yourself an astounding amount of headroom for future growth.
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