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Need advice on Rackmount Servers Please

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Guardian
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2002 1:23 am    Post subject: Need advice on Rackmount Servers Please Reply with quote

Hi

I am using standard PCs for my webserver. I was thinking about getttig a rack mount to save on space as I already have a rack (music equipment).

From what I have seen, prices are quite high and there are Dell, Compaq and Cobalt. Are ther any other options?

With those prices, I can buy a handful of computers Wink

One other thing while I am at it.
I have been considering a *nix machine for a while. I installed Mandrake 8 on my older machine, but it had (or I had) problems with the drivers and the display wasn't showing properly plus other little problems. Anyway, to cut the long story short, I reformated and installed Windows.

I still would want to move to a *nix based system for my Apache server.

Any advice on what OS to choose?

I appreciate all the help and advice.

Smile
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flw
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2002 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
With those prices, I can buy a handful of computers


Which is why many don't want to pay the premium for a rack mount vs traditional box.
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flw
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2002 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Any advice on what OS to choose?


I missed this when I first read your post. On this site you'll get every answer and with good reason. Most NOS's are pretty good at some things and pretty bad at others. The answer in my opinion is it depends. It depends on your current and future needs, experience with the NOS, do you need outisde support, need max flexiblity, max friendlyness, and apps to be run now and later, only to name a few factors.

Main stream NOS's are Unix and Linux, Netware and Windows NT/2000. They are all good but in different ways and suck in others. I use all 3 but for different needs. I only have one warning is the term "free", there is no free lunch. Free is just a worm on a hook waiting for you....
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ShaolinTiger
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2002 3:51 am    Post subject: Re: Need advice on Rackmount Servers Please Reply with quote

Guardian wrote:
Hi

I am using standard PCs for my webserver. I was thinking about getttig a rack mount to save on space as I already have a rack (music equipment).

From what I have seen, prices are quite high and there are Dell, Compaq and Cobalt. Are ther any other options?


They are expensive, that's the way it is. The best you can do is get a second hand one from ebay or something.

Guardian wrote:

I have been considering a *nix machine for a while. I installed Mandrake 8 on my older machine, but it had (or I had) problems with the drivers and the display wasn't showing properly plus other little problems. Anyway, to cut the long story short, I reformated and installed Windows.

I still would want to move to a *nix based system for my Apache server.

Any advice on what OS to choose?


There are a few threads on this, have a search.

If it's for an Apache server though I'd go for Slackware, Debian or preferably BSD.

None of these are for the light of heart though.

But they are secure, reliable and stable.

The easiest of the 3 would be Debian.
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Guardian
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2002 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the help.

I heard, Slackware is a very good one but among the most difficult ones to configure.

I will read the posts in nix section to get more ideas.

Thanks

Smile
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chris
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2002 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Look around for cases they arent as expensive as you might think

http://www.dccs.co.uk/cases.htm

Look right at the bottom

i.e


Mercury MP-26EX32
19" Slim Rackmount Case
300 Watt PSU P4
126.81 (149.00 inc)
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Mongrel
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2002 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Basically rackmounted servers don't pay off for the small user. They become invaluable when you exceed the allotted space for servers. You pay a hefty premium for the ability to put ten or so servers in 500 or 600 square inches of floor space.
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Networkguy
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2002 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are a number of reasons why rack mounts are expensive.

First of all (and as you have listed), most of them are big brand boxes so will be more expensive than a white box clone anyway.

Secondly, the cooling requirements tend to be different and hance more money needs to be spent on developing. For example, with Compaq boxes, cooling is front to back.

Then of course (and this ties in with the first point), rack mount boxes tend to be REAL servers. They are not clone machines built froma parts bin. Indeed there is an argument that for a server to be a server, it has to be certified to run a server OS. As such, DELL, HP, IBM etc all spend a lot of money to make sure that their servers are certified for Microsoft, Novell, Unix etc and support them with said OS. This costs a lot of money and hence you just cannot do it with a clone box.

Indeed if you follow this argument through, even if you built a Quad Xeon machine from top of the range components, it still would not be a REAL server even if you were running a server OS on it.

Of course, there are thousands of companies out there running server operating systems on non branded hardware that works just fine but you pays your money etc.

After all, if you compare say a Compaq rackmount Proliant server to a clone box with the same spec, the two just don't compare. The Compaq offers so much more that the clone box just cannot deliver. Not in speed or performance, but in uptime, management, support etc.

A lot comes down to total cost of ownership. Something that the salespeople love but does have some real value.

Also you have the space issues.

Now keep in mind that a 42u rack will set you back at least 1000, before you even put anything in it.

In one of our data centers for example, we currently have in the region of 20,000 servers and the place is about a quarter full. If we used non rack mount servers, we would be full, the air con would not cope and we would have to build another data center to keep on taking customers. As the current one cost us 300 million to build, the fact we still have 3 years left at current growth before we need to build another one, makes the premium cost of rackmounts, a non issue. When you work out the total cost of ownership, it is saving us millions.

Of course, if you are only looking at a few boxes, then fine, space is not costing you anywhere near as much so rackmounts don't cost in.
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Jason
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2002 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is comes down to is do you need a rack mount server or not?

Is it going into a datacentre, or going to be sitting in an unused room in your office / home?

If you have loads of space available, i would purchase a couple of machines, and split their roles: ie, 1 box for mail server, 1 box for web server etc.

How much money do you have available for the upgrade project?

Which OS you choose will depend on many things, including what you already know, how much time you can spare to learning something new (if needed) your exact requirements and inter-operability with other systems if needed.

J
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