I am customizing a computing solution for academic research -- primarily used for large scale data processing / mining, database indexing, and student remote computing resources.
I have been having great success customizing a solution with [Silicon Mechanics](http://www.siliconmechanics.com/) -- from a customer service and cost standpoint -- and below are the relevant specs I've decided on. I've spent many hours trying to figure out the current server hardware, but I'm by no means an expert or even experienced with a task like this! Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
* BBU: LSI Intelligent Battery Backup Unit for 9260, 9261, 9280, 9750, 8880EM2 Controller
* Drive Set: 6 x 2TB Seagate Constellation ES (6Gb/s, 7.2K RPM, 16MB Cache) 3.5" SAS
* SAS 2.0 Expander: Expander provides connectivity to all drives and expansion port
* Host Port: Connection to host system: External SAS 2.0 (24Gb/s, SFF-8088)
* Expansion Port: Connection for storage expansion: External SAS 2.0 (24Gb/s, SFF-8088)
* SAS Cables: 1 x 1m External SAS Cable - x4 SFF-8088 SAS connectors
* Power Supply: Redundant 1200W Power Supply with PMBus - 80 PLUS Gold Certified
* 1 x APC SmartUPS 1500 RM 2U (intended for ONE of the redundant power supplies in each unit)
I'll also note that there are 32 RAM slots in the server (so half are free), and there are 12 bays in the JBOD (so again half free), both to accommodate future growth. Also, our budget is in the $10k - $15k range, which this satisfies.
You are asking a lot. Why not build one at first to see where you go. If you need to expand, connect more servers to commit to a server farm, then by all mean expand. First start out with one unit and test it.