Ideal MySQL Database Machine.
I was asked recently to envision an ideal database box - in terms of configuration. Of course the more CPU and memory is better and SSD (Solid State Drives) would not hurt either. But lets focus on the basics of the configuration - OS, raid, CPU type File systems etc...
CPU. Intel hands down, having used nearly every processor out there (Sparc, Power, Alpha ...) I have settled on Intel. Despite all the advanced in the AMD research Intel still rains supreme in the databases. Now to the number of cores - as many as possible.
Raid. Of course hardware raid. I would strongly vote for Raid 10 (mirror with striping) and most importantly have two controllers - one for the database data files one for the database log files. Be sure to configure LVM (Logical Volume Manager) to enjoy LVM snapshot capability.
Network. Minimum two network cards bonded into a single interface.Most of the databases today have some sort of HA (replication, clustering) so bonding is a must. Not to mention you get better network performance in the end.
Operating System. Unless you have spend past ten years under the rock - you know that Linux is the choice when it comes to the databases - CenOs in my particular case. Install minimum kernel to support the database operation.
Filesystem. XFS for the database data files and database log files. If using ext3 (ext4) be sure to use noatime and data=writeback for better performance.
MySQL Installation. I have migrated to MariaDB and still prefer the binary (tarball) install vs. rpm. I usually install MySQL in /opt/mysql/MySQL_version_number i.e. /opt/mysql/MySQL_5.1.0. This allows me to maintain several versions during an upgrade process and revert back to the original is case I have issues.