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Spec Me The Ultimate Server - Budget £5,000

Discussion in 'Servers and Enterprise Solutions' started by Saberu, Mar 18, 2010.

  1. bigredshark

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Jun 30, 2005

    Posts: 9,516

    Location: London Town!

    Where are you hosting this? If it's a datacenter then surely space is an issue given prices these days which makes me worry your considering hosting this in your office or something, in which case just stop and rebudget things including colocation...

    VMs - the more RAM the better, most of our VPS hosting boxes have 96GB per blade (partly as when they were designed memory oversubscription made them dog slow) and we only stopped there because they don't support any more.
     
  2. ecksmen

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jun 25, 2004

    Posts: 1,156

    Location: Cardiff

    Dell R610 are looking good, put in two processors, 32 GB Ram and 6 x 300GB Sas drives would easily run what your talking about. All comes in about £4,500.

    Raid 10 the 6 drives and you've got just under a terrabyte of highspeed redundant storage.

    That would run shed loads of VMs without even straining. Just make sure you have good network switches (but you have another £500 towards something good).
     
  3. ethos

    Mobster

    Joined: May 5, 2003

    Posts: 4,515

    Location: UK

    Don't forget the cost of licensing (incase it's been overlooked).
     
  4. Saberu

    Mobster

    Joined: Feb 25, 2003

    Posts: 3,263

    Location: Stafford (uni)

    We don't really need storage to be completely honest, we aren't doing a datacentre kind of service it's a really niche one.

    But to give you an idea of what are requirements are, I'm thinking something along the lines of 10 WAN connections coming in on the network, then 100 total concurrent users (maybe 10 on each). Due to the light load on each user (no heavy apps) just things a basic user would do like browsing, then I believe 100 users is possible once we maxed the box with 4 processors and 256gb ram.

    But in the beginning we will just have 1 processor, and 16gb ram with 10 users.
     
  5. Saberu

    Mobster

    Joined: Feb 25, 2003

    Posts: 3,263

    Location: Stafford (uni)

    I'm sure we will think of something :D



    :o
     
  6. bigredshark

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Jun 30, 2005

    Posts: 9,516

    Location: London Town!

    Well without knowing what you're doing it's difficult to say more but personally I'd laugh at anybody providing a hosted service outside a datacenter today (and given the number of potential customers who want to tour our datacenters I don't seem to be alone). 10 WAN connections also sounds a very bad solution, given you won't likely be able to load balance them you'll end up with one maxed out and others unused at times of the day. You'd be far better with one serious connection (which would also be more reliable...)
     
  7. wasc

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 21, 2002

    Posts: 3,005

    Location: At home of course :p

    I see a few people have recommended the R610 - they really are fantastic.

    I'm going to buck the trend through and recommend the R510. They take 14 drives in total (2 x 2.5" cabled drives internally, and 12 x 3.5" drives externally). They also take up to 2 of the core i7 based xeons, loads of ram, and also take the new Perc H700 raid card which is 512mb cache and takes SAS/Sata 6gpbs (sata 3).

    We have just taken delivery in fact of a R510 which came with 2 x cpu's (shows up in task manager as 16 cores), 24Gb Ram, and 6 x 300Gb 6Gbps 15k sas drives in Raid 50. We then bought 6 1Tb Samsung F3 drives to populate the remaining 6 slots to get a second Raid 50 array up and running. Shed loads of power and storage and it was under 5k once we squeezed our Dell account manager :)
     
  8. daz

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 23,928

    Location: Bucks

    We use Dell R610/R710 almost exclusively these days. Typical spec:-

    2 x 2.26Ghz (16 virtual cores)
    24GB DDR3
    8 x 300GB 2.5" 10K SAS

    Excellent bang for buck. :)

    What RAID card are you using for that? I was under the impression you had to use one of the H series cards which means you're limited to Dell's own drives?

    The sweet spot in terms of price/GB is 2 or 4GB sticks. Once you get past 4GB sticks, it starts becoming cheaper to provision an extra node.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2010
  9. kefkef

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 3,947

    Location: Somewhere on the Rainbow

    Looking at the rack servers is great, but do you have a rack? Have you got space for a rack? If not that's £1600 on top for a 24u rack and then finding a space for it.

    Where do you plan on siting the server, trust me, you wont want it in the same room as you as the whine of the fans will soon get on your goat, even if you do go for the tower it will be loud! Steer clear of blades and blade enclosures for this reason.

    Do you have air-con sorted out? Running a server in the middle of summer when it's 25-30c ambient air temp in your office will get the server nice and toasty! Without good air-con, again steer clear of blades. (again, i know the jokes about UK summers, but if you are serious about being in business you need to consider this)

    What about power supply and UPS, servers are a fair draw when running? And if you have a power cut you need something to keep things running whilst they shut down nicely, rather than a lot of blue screens and data loss.

    What about switch(es) to plug it all together?

    Looking at the Dell site, i'd personally say go down the route of the T710 range if you still want to, it's a tower, can be tucked away and also converted to rack mount in future if you do get rack space later on. Dual processors, 16gb ram, 6 HDDs, dual 4 port ethernet, dual power supplies comes in around £4k + VAT. (and that's with 3yr next day support, do you need same day? if so, add another £800)

    You gave a small smile when asked about O/S, it's not to be shirked away from, it's not only the O/S you need to think about, but also the VM software (VMWare isnt cheap!)

    Also for internet, there are a few options to look at, but to give you an idea on pricing for a semi-decent setup, i just got a price for a 10mb internet connection hosted at a data centre that is delivered to my sites by two 10mb bearers giving 5mb across each (if one fails the other speeds up to 10mb to ensure i get the bandwidth i pay for). Set up is around £10k and annual rental around £20k.
     
  10. Ev0

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 13,697

    I spent all day Tuesday taking delivery of and installing some 47u racks into our new Bristol office.

    Big racks plus big UPS to go in the racks didn't make it a fun day :p
     
  11. kefkef

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 3,947

    Location: Somewhere on the Rainbow

    Nice, it's sometimes good to be the boss...... I'm now the guy who walks in whilst your all hot and sweaty after getting though a few racks to say "Haven't you finished that job yet????? Back in my day, when racks were the size of small skyscrapers and UPS's were the size of a semi detached house i would have had that lot done in an hour AND eaten all the packaging for lunch!" :D
     
  12. Ev0

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 13,697

    I volunteered so only myself to blame, plus he'd never dare say that, he was grateful we were there doing it :)

    Although what does hack me off is when I'm lying on the floor trying to tighten up a nut that doesn't want to be tightened and the boss calls (who is sat 100 miles away) to say 'we've had a complaint that you've left the pallets outside can you sort it out now'.

    Fussy beggers :p
     
  13. Rwac

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Oct 12, 2005

    Posts: 1,511

    Location: Surrey

    Not to cause grief but have you considered going for a hosted service? If you are starting a new venture you don't want to be sinking capital into assets.

    Rackspace offer a multitude of options.
     
  14. brainchylde

    Gangster

    Joined: Feb 5, 2009

    Posts: 424

    Why are you spending 5k doing this? Seems like madness! You (and your customers) would get better value elsewhere. You just don't have the volume yet to warrant putting such system in place.

    I also worry that you originally started talking about i7 processors. I don't want to be rude but your knowledge of this sort of thing seems to be limited. What are you going to do if the hardware fails? Do you have another system, with equal capacity, ready to take over? Where will you be backing this all up to?

    If you still insist - the Dells are great. We have a number of R710s. We also have a number of HP DL380 G3/4/5/6. All good machines and reasonably priced, IMO.

    Good luck with your venture.
     
  15. J.B

    Soldato

    Joined: Aug 16, 2006

    Posts: 5,922

    I nearly through some rails out the window the other day. Our rack doesnt have rear or side access so any rails that need to be bolted in place is a proper mission, especially when the rack is already got some kit in it, you need to contort your body in all sorts of ways to lean in, hold the rail and try and get the bolt in.

    I finally got my technique down and got one in, only to then discover I had made the amateurist mistake possible and mounted the damn thing backwards so the slide just hits the back of the cabinet :mad:

    Apparently you could hear the cursing from the next room.
     
  16. Richard_16v

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 1,710

    Location: Bedfordshire

    Makes me laugh how people want a cheap server to run say 10 VM's, but don't seem to budget for the higher cost of licenses!
     
  17. bigredshark

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Jun 30, 2005

    Posts: 9,516

    Location: London Town!

    I do have to agree, speaking to a decent managed hosting provider would seem a good idea, it'll mean you get decent hardware, configured correctly in a decent environment with decent connectivity and you'll be able to pay monthly, which should improve the cash flow situation if you're selling it on to your customers (money in the bank beats assets any day...)
     
  18. wasc

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 21, 2002

    Posts: 3,005

    Location: At home of course :p

    PERC H700 - works perfectly fine with non-dell disks :)
     
  19. iaind

    Capodecina

    Joined: Feb 26, 2009

    Posts: 14,814

    Location: Exeter

    This. A single server for ultimate uptime is a daft idea
     
  20. bigredshark

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Jun 30, 2005

    Posts: 9,516

    Location: London Town!

    Dell have previously confirmed to us that non Dell drives are blocked by the H series PERC cards as 'their drive firmware is superior'. May have changed with a later card revision or firmware but it factually was the case last time I checked.