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Ultimate Server Build

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February 12, 2012 11:19:29 PM

ok, maybe not Cray ultimate, but still.... (note that the Cray's use Opteron's also.)

I would like to get some thoughts on this system... I'm looking for the beefiest server system I can build on a $9000 budget.

are there better solutions than what i've found?
also, i'm not entirely sure about the case and power supply...

most parts available from Newegg:
Quote:
Opteron 6727 16 core cpu - quantity 4 = $2160
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

TYAN S8812WGM3NR MEB Server Motherboard Quad Socket G34 - $810
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LSI Internal SATA/SAS 9211-8i 6Gb/s PCI-Express 2.0 RAID Controller Card - quantity 2 = $480
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

8GB DDR3 1333MHZ ECC Ram - quantity 32 = $2560
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

WESTERN DIGITAL 2TB 7200RPM SAS 3.5INCH ENTERPRISE HARD DISK DRIVE - quantity 4 = $1660
http://www.serversupply.com/products/part_search/pid_lo...

Rackmount server case - $270
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thermaltake 850-Watt Modular Power Supply - $130
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

SATA DVD drive - ~$20

Total cost = $8090 plus shipping.

also, may want to add another Gb ethernet card for about $30

More about : ultimate server build

February 13, 2012 12:07:55 AM

I would look to Dell.

as a server is all about UPTIME the aftersales support and parts supply is the MOST IMPORTANT part of a server.

only sata drives? what is this for? considered SAS 15k RPM drives?

you can get rack mount or Towers
February 13, 2012 12:22:01 AM

I agree with the Dell suggestion. I wouldn't ever build a corporate server.
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February 13, 2012 12:24:55 AM

and as far as network card i hope your not just choosing a consumer grade card because in the corporate world they just dont come close to server class hardware.
February 13, 2012 12:30:49 AM

its a little hard to break it to your client.

Sorry but the motherboard just died. its a 2 week turn around from newegg for a replacement part. sorry you will be down the entire time.

or with dell. Dell will have your replacement part here within 2-4 HOURS (Metro Areas) regional is next business day.

great your system is fast but not fast enough to make up for 50+ users not getting their work done for 2 weeks straight if a part fails.

"ill just buy a new part"
thats great and all but what happens in 2 years when newegg does not stock that part anymore?

unless this is just a thought experiment for a school assignemnt. i would NOT under any circumstances put a generic non-branded server into a production enviroment unless you DO NOT want to keep the business as a client of yours anymore.
February 13, 2012 1:31:40 AM

thanx 4 the replies...
I went with the 7200 rpm SAS drives b/c I wouldn't find 15k drives with the 2TB capacity

I was under the impression that tyan motherboards are pretty reliable?

I think you're spot on about the possible downtime though...

personally, I prefer Dell servers, but to price a name brand server with the specs I've got here is way over budget :( 

I guess I'll have to explore other options like getting two dual CPU servers...

the end goal is 6 virtual machines, two of them being RDP servers, two exchange servers, a SQL server and a citrix server.
I was thinking if I could put them all on one physical machine they would all talk to each other better..... ?
February 13, 2012 2:19:26 AM

1 physical machine could do it.
but best would be do it using 2 Physical Machines in a Hyper-V Cluster connected to a SAN. this would give you redundancy if one of the physical machines fails. (will put you over budget tho as a basic SAN is $10,000 alone

unfortunatly "pretty reliable" dosnt cut it. failures DO happen, its the support you get WHEN they do that makes the difference.

how many clients are you talking?
are you offsite hosting services for other companies?


I Currently Run @ Work
1x Dell R410 Dual Quad Core Xeon 2.26ghz, 24gb RAM, 2x 500gb RAID 1 Mirror

Dell MD3200I iSCSI SAN, 8x 450gb SAS 15k RPM (RAID 5 with 2 Parity Drives 2.7tb Avaliable)

having the SAN means i can add another physical server and have common volumes mounted to both servers, failover clustering allows for live load ballancing and failover upon errors.


February 13, 2012 11:36:03 AM

Building a corporate server is insane and will be a very, very bad decision in the long run.

What's the server going to be doing anyhow?
February 13, 2012 12:51:10 PM

thanx for your feedback Hugo...
obviously, I'm kinda new to the enterprise scene. lol

about 200 clients, and about half of them work mostly in RDP from verious locations.
February 13, 2012 1:43:09 PM

To be clear, you shouldn't let the price tag limit you on what you want to do. The initial payout may be a lot, but what it brings will easily pay for itself (ROI).

You're a small company on the verge of stepping into a medium size company. As Hugo mentioned, you may want to two physical servers with high availability. Likely not in your budget. I'd set on a single server to host it and you may need to let down time do the talking for you when something goes wrong and causes the company to invest.

You can make a name for yourself by going through and doing your homework on what the environment should really be. How much will downtime cost if the server goes down, taking the entire environment down? Could multiple physical servers handle the same work load for the same cost? It does get tricky.

100 people RDP'ing into a hyper-v based virtual environment hosting Exchange and SQL alone.. Eh. Add Citrix in there and I think you're going to see a lot of connection issues for the end user.

I would really consult a hardware vendor and have them provide out the specs.
February 15, 2012 11:29:31 AM

HugoStiglitz said:
I would look to Dell.

as a server is all about UPTIME the aftersales support and parts supply is the MOST IMPORTANT part of a server



Absolutely. Points 1 through 9 on the top ten list of what a corporate production environment needs in a server.

And if budget is an issue, OP can check out the Dell outlet, or call Dell about getting a refurb or return... or for that matter, I've seen a number of servers on eBay that are listed as still being under warranty with Dell (and their warranties are pretty easy to transfer ownership on), which is something you definitely need for a corporate environment. And, FWIW, I just purchased such a Dell NX3100 as my home NAS server, with 2 years on the warranty and 4-hour on-site service, so I'm not just speaking hypothetically. Is the client's production environment more or less valuable than some IT geek's home media library?

Building a custom server sounds like a good way to save some money on the hardware, and it does, but then you miss out on the warranty and support that corporate environments require, and that's something OP really needs to bring up with management - you can save 20% on hardware now, and be completely SoL when a system component fails, have the production environment down for a week or while you wait on Newegg to ship a replacement... or go with a brand name server, which is more expensive, but generally includes (or at least allows you to buy) support.
February 16, 2012 7:41:16 PM

I'm also going to parrot everyone else saying dell. We only use dell machines and their support is excellent. Couldn't be happier. Call them up and have them spec out a server with you. The people we've talked with in the past really knew what they were talking about and didn't try and con us into buying things we didn't need. Their servers and desktops are also very well built.
February 16, 2012 7:51:11 PM

Firstly,

What are your SLA's?

Do you have a SAN, NAS or similar shared storage platform?

Have you considered any other way of doing this software wise? e.g. why do you need 100 people to RDP into the server?
February 16, 2012 8:07:12 PM

HugoStiglitz said:
1 physical machine could do it.
but best would be do it using 2 Physical Machines in a Hyper-V Cluster connected to a SAN. this would give you redundancy if one of the physical machines fails. (will put you over budget tho as a basic SAN is $10,000 alone

unfortunatly "pretty reliable" dosnt cut it. failures DO happen, its the support you get WHEN they do that makes the difference.

how many clients are you talking?
are you offsite hosting services for other companies?


I Currently Run @ Work
1x Dell R410 Dual Quad Core Xeon 2.26ghz, 24gb RAM, 2x 500gb RAID 1 Mirror

Dell MD3200I iSCSI SAN, 8x 450gb SAS 15k RPM (RAID 5 with 2 Parity Drives 2.7tb Avaliable)

having the SAN means i can add another physical server and have common volumes mounted to both servers, failover clustering allows for live load ballancing and failover upon errors.



Depends on what his client want's... By all means if the client doesn't want to spend the extra cash to get decent reliability, it's your job to explain the likeliness of failure and how long they could be down for.

I agree, personally I would go with a bare metal hypervisor (e.g. XenServer) and not Hyper-V

It's the storage that's going to define what he can / can't do here.

I have 6 hp blades running xen server with 2 X5550 quad core's, we have about 30 vm's running on each one, and as long as there is enough memory it's the storage that's the bottleneck. Even with FC HBA's.
February 16, 2012 11:31:36 PM

aaab said:
Have you considered any other way of doing this software wise? e.g. why do you need 100 people to RDP into the server?


It's a bit excessive, but not really that far out there. I've set up TS servers for ~80 concurrent users before, and it's almost always because whatever piece of software they bought costs 5 figures for a single install license, so they save money by, for example, installing Great Plains on one server and having 6 dozen accountants remote into it.

My personal opinion is that if you're paying that much for a software license you ought to be able to damn well install it on as many PCs as you want (among other things), but a lot of that enterprise grade software is hugely expensive and licensed per install or per processor, so you need large TS farms if you don't want to pay a quarter million dollars a year MORE for your already outrageously overpriced enterprise application.
March 16, 2012 12:20:13 AM

Use NLB to span several terminal servers, this will give you the capacity you need as well as some redundancy. You can use Group Policy to ensure you have a uniform experience across the different servers.


NEVER build your own servers for business use, get a server, have a spare on site and make sure it's under warranty from the original manufacturer. When you MB dies you are going to have a very bad day....
March 18, 2012 3:09:46 AM

I definitely recommend going the dell route, and really after doing a bit of research I found some comparable specs to what you have listed and is not that far over your limit. The price for this config is $11,729 + tax and this includes 3 year Onsite service and 3 years of Proactive Maintenance (2 events per year). Granted you won't have as much CPU power or RAM as your posted config, but the reliability due to the Onsite service and Routine maintenance from the manufacture are way more valuable in my opinion.

More food for thought: The onsite service will take the stress off of you as a technician if the server goes down. It's a matter of a phone call away and your boss can yell at the dell technician instead of you if the server is down longer than anticipated :p .

PowerEdge C2100
PowerEdge C2100 Expander Backplane support for 3.5" Hard Drives Redundant Power Supplies edit
Processor
2x Intel Xeon X5667, 3.06Ghz, 12M Cache,Turbo, HT, 1333MHz Max Mem edit
Memory
144GB Memory(18x8GB), 1333MHz Dual Ranked RDIMMs for 2 Processors,Optimized edit
Hard Drive Controller and Configuration
Add-in LSI 9260-8i controllers for up to 12 HP Drives total edit
Hard Drives
2TB 7.2K RPM SATA 3.5in Hot Plug Hard Drive edit
Network Card
Intel Gigabit ET Quad Port 1GbE, PCIe x4 edit
Bios
Performance Optimized BIOS Setting edit
Operating System
No Factory Installed Operating System edit
Documentation/Disks
C2100 Documentation edit
2nd Controller
None edit
Rails
C2100 Sliding Rail Kit edit
Hardware Support Services
3 Year ProSupport and NBD On-site Service edit
Installation Services
INSTALLATION DECLINED edit
Power Cords
2XC13 to C14, PDU Style, 12 AMP, 2 Feet (.6m), Power Cord edit

Support
Proactive Maintenance: 2 events per year, Remote Delivery, 3 Year edit
March 18, 2012 2:18:56 PM

ericpeacock79 said:
ok, maybe not Cray ultimate, but still.... (note that the Cray's use Opteron's also.)

I would like to get some thoughts on this system... I'm looking for the beefiest server system I can build on a $9000 budget.

are there better solutions than what i've found?
also, i'm not entirely sure about the case and power supply...

most parts available from Newegg:
Quote:
Opteron 6727 16 core cpu - quantity 4 = $2160
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

TYAN S8812WGM3NR MEB Server Motherboard Quad Socket G34 - $810
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LSI Internal SATA/SAS 9211-8i 6Gb/s PCI-Express 2.0 RAID Controller Card - quantity 2 = $480
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

8GB DDR3 1333MHZ ECC Ram - quantity 32 = $2560
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

WESTERN DIGITAL 2TB 7200RPM SAS 3.5INCH ENTERPRISE HARD DISK DRIVE - quantity 4 = $1660
http://www.serversupply.com/products/part_search/pid_lo...

Rackmount server case - $270
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thermaltake 850-Watt Modular Power Supply - $130
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

SATA DVD drive - ~$20

Total cost = $8090 plus shipping.

also, may want to add another Gb ethernet card for about $30





First thing first....
DO SIZING SURVEY FOR ALL YOUR SOFTWARE NEEDS
FIND OUT YOUR SLA
THEN FORMULATE YOUR HARDWARE NEEDS
it might be 1 beefed server or 2 servers with nas / san configuration , you may want to check cloud solution.

there are two points with the current configuration you have notice
1. As others said , 1 server gives you no redundancy check with your boss if that acceptable (SLA).
2. 4 SATA drives might not give you the desirable IOPS you need to sustain VM needs.

best advice i could give you.....put the project in 2013 budget and consult an expert.

best of luck
!