What new server should I buy?


The server that hosts shiningsilence.com is getting old, and it’s time for me to go to 64-bit DragonFly.  It’s audience opinion time: what have you purchased lately, and liked?  What would you suggest?

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13 Comments on What new server should I buy?

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  1. Pascal says:

    I bought Dan Langille’s setup, because I was too lazy to look for a working FreeBSD compatible setup for myself:
    http://dan.langille.org/2013/07/17/gateway-getting-old-file-server-getting-full/

  2. FinFin says:

    I orderd from iXsystems a few days ago. You write them your challenges and they figure out a nice setup. They are not the cheapest but the quality is wonderful. They even cut the diskcables to length and made a custom encasing for the power supply. I think they order most of their supplies from supermicro but they don’t care if you want to buy specific parts. I.e. I saved money by using an SSD from crucial.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’ve never been done wrong by a Dell PowerEdge.

  4. I’ve thought about that – buying a PowerEdge and racking it. Perhaps a lackrack – http://lackrack.org/ ?

    The older PowerEdge systems are very noisy and power hungry, though – I just decommissioned several at work.

  5. Dean says:

    Lack of requirements doesn’t help make a recommendation.

    Every intel and amd cpu for the last 5+ years supports 64bit. Opterons have been for over 10 years now. Some Intel P4’s were 64bit and just about everything since then except the first few Atom editions.

    A 1ru will typically make a *lot* of noise, though they can be quite cheap off of fleabay.

    A Zotac ZBOX or an Intel NUC can pack a lot of CPU and memory in a small profile. They both only have 1x disk and 1x power supply but they use a laptop power supply which makes swapping a dead PSU really easy. Both will be quiet and loyal little workers.

    The HP Microserver might be the right middle ground. Its built to be a home or soho server, having multiple disks and very quiet. Previous editions, whilst supporting 64bit no problems, were very low end in terms of CPU power. The most recent edition can be upgraded from a Celeron to an i3 (perhaps beyond).

    If more than one NIC is needed, a USB adapter may be more than adequate. Otherwise you could always use VLANs and trunk multiple networks into the machine. As a firewall, plugging the cable/dsl/other modem in to your switch on its own VLAN, then bringing that VLAN to your firewall via a trunk works well and provides a lot of flexibility in terms of port mirroring (and snooping) etc.

    Just depends on your requirements and how much new fun you want to have.

  6. I know there’s not much in the way of requirements, but I don’t have requirements to list. Mostly I’m curious to see what people think to suggest.

  7. Anon Y. Mouse says:

    i would love to try some arm box as a server, might be a bit hard to get df running on it.

    Else maybe this one… http://pcengines.ch/apu.htm not sure if one of those can support your traffic needs.

    Maybe a cluster ;-) such a lackrack has a lot of space B-)

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’m 99% sure DragonFly will not run on ARM. It would probably take some insane work of cross compiling and masochism to get it up and running correctly. Other than reduced power consumption, I don’t see the advantage of ARM. It’s small? Not made for being a server though.

  9. FinFin says:

    On the idea of the lackrack. I put mine in an 80s style brown suitcase a big one you know. I punched some airholes in the bottom an the top. Since I’m sort of a nomadic person it’s a damn neat setup for me. Maybe that spawns some Ideas for you.
    Oh and on the SSDs
    http://www.ebay.de/itm/Crucial-SSD-MX100-512-GB-2-5-SSD-Solid-State-Drive-/191225899477?pt=DE_Computing_Solid_State_Drives_SSD_&hash=item2c85f3a9d5
    crucial SSDs with about 185€ for 512 GB are the best deal at the moment that I am aware of.

  10. FinFin: do you still have that suitcase? Pictures would be neat.

  11. Dean says:

    I think HP MicroServer. Small, quiet, lots of disks.

  12. Brian Mastenbrook says:

    I just bought and configured one of the Supermicro Avoton-based chassis for use with FreeBSD in Hyper-V Server, and it’s working great. It’s extremely low power but supports ECC memory, and while the cores themselves are not the fastest, there are eight of them to throw at whatever you need.

    If you’re going to go SSD, make sure that the disks you choose have capacitors for power-fail protection. The Crucial MX100 linked above does include these capacitors, as do the M500 and M550. So do the Intel 730/SSD DC S3500 drives. Most others do not. In an unexpected power loss situation (someone trips over the power cord, power supply lets the magic smoke out, UPS dies, etc) SSDs without these capacitors run the risk of page table corruption, which leads to complete data loss. Mirroring or parity will not protect from this as each disk with a write in progress might be completely fried, and chances are all disks have a write going at the same time in most write scenarios.

  13. FinFin says:

    Justin Sherrill: sure I’ll get back to Berlin on Wednesday and take some pictures. Expect some always ongoing “work in progress” on the inside however.
    I could put a link on the irc if I catch you I guess.

    Brian Mastenbrook: I completely agree. I am playing with the thought of AGM Battery to shield it from sudden power loss. Maybe put together one of the so called “Supercapacitors”. I want to further embrace mobility I guess…

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