...You need to build a bigger, faster box with lots of storage...
Clustering ... B: will cost you more, not less
Is this still true when you get to 5-way or 17-way systems?
My (somewhat outdated) impression is that up to about 4-way systems they're price competitive; but beyond that, I thought multiple cheap servers scales much more afordably than large servers. Certainly at the point of a 129-CPU system I bet you're better off with a network of cheap servers.
> A: a headache
Agreed if you mean clustering as-in making it look like one single database to the end user. However in my experience a few years ago, if you can partition the data in a way managed by the application, it'll not only be less of a headache, but probably provide a more flexable solution. Currently I'm working on a pretty big GIS database, that we're looking to partition our data in a manner similar to the microsoft whitepaper on scaling terraserver that can be found here:
I think this paper is a very nice analysis of many aspects of larger-server&SAN vs. application-partitioned-clusters, including looking at cost, reliability, managability, etc. After reading that paper, we started very seriously looking into application-level partitioning.
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