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  • Server+Colo


    I'm currently having some trouble with my host, more info on that in this thread at WHT

    I'm leaning towards buying a server and collocate it inc self management etc - At least I can always rely on myself rather than go days without support of any kind.

    Firstly I need some assistance in picking a server, we have a rack full of Dell 1950's at work (TeleData) so I started to have a browse on eBay (I know, being cheap here!)

    Newer servers tend to be very power efficient so anything refurbished will be older gen kit using more power nevertheless its a start for now

    I am currently reviewing the following:

    HP Proliant DL360 G5
    Dell PowerEdge 1950 III

    There are numerous configs between those but that's the kind of spec I'm looking at.

    Server will host 10-12 sites, not a lot of traffic but email is important.

    1) I have seen a lot of kit comprising of 2.5" disks, that is something I'm considering as the OS + MySQL could reside on an SSD with data on the second. Would consumer grade drives me acceptable from seagate or wd? Not used any 2.5" drives, I can raid the data drives only etc

    2) Old argument but Dell vs HP - never used any of HP kit though

    Looking for recommendations and your thoughts please.

    I'll be using cPanel as it allows clients to setup email accounts easily etc

    In terms of colocation I'll post in the requests forum once I pick a server. But I'm looking at a few IPs (4), 500GB max bw

    Thanks everyone


  • #2
    I would stay away from older servers wherever possible. Aside from the issue of hardware failures, spare parts etc the performance per watt is going to be significantly worse than modern E3/E5 powered servers. In the long term you should be saving money by going for modern, power efficient hardware.

    We use SuperMicro servers and find them much cheaper than the equivalent hardware from Dell, plus we get exactly what we want and don't have to deal with the unhelpful morons at Dell. HP have always been much more expensive than Dell in my experience and tend to find more use in enterprise environments than service providers.
    GoDaddy are abusing WHC with shill advertising


    • #3
      If you're not needing heavy throughput, consumer grade drives will work fine. Avoid putting anything other than cache on a single disk or SSD without RAID though. If it's nothing too heavy, just throw 2/4 (or better yet 6) disks into a RAID10 to start with.

      The main difference between consumer grade SATA disks and enterprise SAS is the speed. SAS will be considerably quicker. Enterprise drives are also better suited to extended runtimes. That being said, people have reported good results with the Seagate MomentusXT hybrid drives in RAID, which are modestly priced.

      As for HP vs Dell, its all down to preference. We use HP gear (having moved away from IBM a few years back). We have no problems with it. A few clients use Dell gear, and there are thousands of organizations who swear by their hardware. Ed uses SuperMicro, and is happy with that.... you get the idea.

      As for making the initial decision, take a look at photos of the internals, (how the units are built, etc), availability and cost of parts and management features. Make a decision based on that vs your use case. Then, once you've been using kit for a while you'll develop your own preferences.

      Eds point about power efficiency is a good one, and since you're just starting out this is a good time to consider such things. Right now you are in a position where spending a bit of extra cash to drop your power use is easy, as opposed to down the line where you have to decide if its worth the cost (and hassle) of replacing existing production kit to save money on power bills.

      Hope this helps.
      Jonathan Halewood

      Virgo Networks - High Quality Web Hosting & Network Services, from Newcastle and the North of England.
      Standard & Reseller packages available.
      UK based support from experienced technical staff.
      Prices start from £2.00 per month.


      • #4
        I can second what Ed said. Go Supermicro, Broadberry do some really decent pre-built ones but if you're familliar with assembling a server yourself buy the parts from a Supermicro supplier such as ServerCase and assemble it yourself, and stress test it too before it goes in production. Personally when going with mechanical HD's, I prefer not to use 2.5" inch because although it takes up less U's, the drives are almost 50% more expensive when buying enterprise grade drives.

        RAID-10 is the way to go with production servers.


        • #5
          I'd also add that a single bad experience with your current host shouldn't rule out all hosts. Colo has it's own set of challenges if you are aren't prepared for them you can have just as much of a bad time. Your time may well be better spent selecting a decent host than simply picking a second hand server and running head long into a different set of issues.
          Manuel Tuthill
 - Cheap domain names .com's just £6.49
          █ Join Regdotter on Facebook for special offers.


          • #6
            Oh, also small point remember with those eBay offers most don't include rails which is needed and can cost quite a bit for what they actually are. Also, especially since those servers, if you do go with them in the end are used and refurbished it's best to buy spare parts too for quick replacement when needed.

            As others have said I would highly recommend not buying those servers off eBay. Those guzzle power like anything, better off with something newly built that you can rely on. Don't get me wrong those Xeon L5500 and L5600 etc. series are beasts but the newer E3 and E5's are much more efficient.


            • #7
              Its not uncommon for people with little/no colo experience to assume that it's the cheaper/easier route but this is seldom the case unless you have very bespoke or high end server requirements. For example, very few (if any) colo providers are going to send an engineer to diagnose a fault with your server out of hours without a fee.

              Sure you could go to site yourself but any provider worth their salt will not let you into their shared racks so you would need the server de-racking, taking to a build room and then re-racking at the end as well as being escorted throughout - this normally has a fee attached.

              Finally, any server provider worth their salt will keep hot and cold spares to cover their inventory, will you have the resources (money and adequate space) to do the same? If not, your colo server could be offline for an extended period of time whilst you try to source parts for an already EOL server if a fault develops!

              Just a few things to take into consideration before committing either way
              Jon Roberts, M.D of RackSRV Communications Ltd
              UK specialists in Dedicated Servers, Colocation & Rackspace
              Company: 06856870 VAT: GB 934 7073 15 Tel: 0330 229 1000


              • #8
                As you're currently on a VPS, the next step maybe a dedicated server rather than colocation

                If your host isn't replying to phone calls etc the problem is probably the host rather than the product.

                These days the market is so swamped its hard to know who you can actually trust.
                We use portfast for an off net DNS VPS and they offer a very good service for a reasonable price.

                As others have said Colocation is normally for people who either want multiple servers or have bespoke hardware needs.

                Buying off ebay does mean you'll suffer efficiency and reliability penalties, so ensure you test anything you buy and obviously use RAID and dual PSU's to ensure if you do have a problem it only costs you money (buying spares) and doesn't take your service offline. I'd favour HP, but Dell does tend to cost less.

                You can find a cheap data centre who have generous power allowances and you'd be looking at around £40 per month for 0.75amp 1U (Wouldn't suggest you use EconDC)

                Dedicate servers would be less effort on your part, longer term (18 months+) probably cost more and if you need lots of ram (doesn't sound like you do) become expensive.

                You can build your own, companies like servercase for example offer 2U cases which'll take a normal PC power supply and components which should work just as well, but if you want new and dual PSU's etc then supermico are the brandyou want.

                Good luck!
                Gary Coates - ServerHouse Ltd
                Established Colocation provider, Running Two Tier II & Two III data centres from two diverse sites in Hampshire. Bespoke complex managed hosting, 24x7 IT and resilient business connectivity from 100Mbs
                Tel: 01329 800911 -