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Re: Hardware recommendations for Debian server

On Wed, Jun 28, 2006 at 11:03:21PM +0000, ZeroUno wrote:
> I'm looking for an entry-level file/web (and other minor stuff) server
> for a small company (no more than 20 clients), which will run on
> Debian Sarge.
> I'm still undecided whether I should go for a real branded server
> or stay with a standard custom made PC. Server hardware is surely
> interesting, but can anyone here name any such hardware to be
> recommended or avoided for use with Debian?  

my preference is almost always for a clone PC - you get a lot more for
your money, and generally save enough money that you could afford to
buy a complete second system or more as a spare. more importantly, you
get standard parts and connectors and fittings - many name-brand PCs
have proprietary crap in them that prevent you from using many standard
replacement parts (e.g. power supplies).

the trick to buying clones for use as servers (or desktops too, for
that matter) is to find a local PC dealer who will build a system to
your *exact* specifications. then you tell them exactly what parts you
want - motherboard, drives, ram, etc. the motherboard is particularly
important, don't accept the cheap crap motherboard that dealers will use
by default if you don't specify anything better. pick a good brand and
model. the power supply is also important, specify a good brand - the
cheap ones that come in most cases have very high failure rates.

and buy two hard disks instead of one so that you can run linux software
raid - consumer hard disks have a fairly high failure rate. with raid-1,
if one dies you can replace it without losing any data. it costs you
double for every GB of storage space but it's worth it. it's also faster
for read access (but slightly slower for writes).

as for specs, an amd-64 with 1 or 2 GB of RAM on a good mid-range ASUS
or Gigabyte or Tyan or similar motherboard, 2 x 200+GB drives will make
an adequate server for any small to medium size business. headless, it
would cost about $AUD700 or $AUD800 (in US $, about $400 - $500).

if you want raid-5 rather than raid-1, then go for hardware raid with a
large (>64MB) non-volatile cache. software raid-5 is slow. e.g. adaptec
2410 SATA raid controller (*NOT* the adaptec 1210 cheap pseudo-HW-raid
card) with the optional battery backup module. or 3ware. or intel. and
there are a few other brands of similar specs and similar price (about
$AUD500 to $AUD600).


craig sanders <cas@taz.net.au>           (part time cyborg)

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