[luv-talk] Buying a new server

Russell Coker russell at coker.com.au
Wed Apr 18 14:06:47 EST 2012

On Wed, 18 Apr 2012, Dave Oxley <dave at daveoxley.co.uk> wrote:
> I have an 7 year old dell server that is in need of replacement. It's
> uses among others are MythTV backend, Asterisk, Web server, email, IP
> routing, various Java web apps. I had spec'ed and almost bought a new
> Dell server but got really disenchanted with their crappy sales guys.
> They wouldn't remove the 500Gb hard disk that added $300 to the price

It appears that Dell makes the vast majority of their profit from disks, RAM, 
etc.  The prices on Dell systems are quite low but the prices on parts 
(particularly disks) are unreasonably high.

> and suggested I go to ebay for additional hard disk caddies which
> apparently don't come with it. The plan was to add 4 Seagate SV35.5 3Tb
> drives which are about $300 ea and mdraid them.


Ihave just blogged about similar issues at the above URL.


Someone commented with the above URL.  E30 per tray is fairly expensive, but a 
lot cheaper than the price difference between Dell disks and regular SATA 
disks.  It should also be a lot easier than buying on eBay.

> I've since been looking into building my own server but I'm not sure
> what to do for a case. I'm after a case with 6+ hot-plug backplane,
> preferably redundant PSU and tool-less.

Why do you want a redundant PSU and hot-plug disks?  If it's a home server 
then why not just take some downtime if a PSU fails and schedule downtime for 
disk replacement?

> So does anyone have any suggestions of where I go from here? I'm happy
> to buy a pre-built server but not happy about buying Dell anymore. I'm
> also happy to build my own.


Check out Grays, they have lots of refurbished and ex-demo servers from big 
name companies.  I've bought a few HP servers from them and was pleased by the 

> The budget is about $3000 and the specs I'm after are roughly are:
> 1x 6 core Intel Xeon processor
> Motherboard with 2 processor sockets, 2+ Gigabit LAN, 6+ SATA
> 12+ GB or ram upgradable
> 6+ hot plug case with SATA backplane
> redundant PSU
> 9+ TB raid 5 Disk space

Why aren't you using BTRFS or ZFS?

As an aside, I'm trying to avoid upgrading some of my servers until I feel 
that BTRFS is ready to use on them.  I'd rather implement a new filesystem and 
new disks at the same time.  One of my servers has a RAID-1 array of 1TB disks 
and I'm planning to make it a BTRFS RAID-1 of 4TB disks some time after Wheezy 
is released.

My Main Blog         http://etbe.coker.com.au/
My Documents Blog    http://doc.coker.com.au/

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