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I am currently running a 4gb PC which I've turned into a Hyper-V server on Windows Server 2008 R2 x64. This isn't exactly server-spec hardware for doing dev stuff in free time. At the moment, because there is not enough RAM to run more than one VM at the same time, I am running everything in one VM, e.g. AD, TFS, Sharepoint 2010, Biztalk - VERY bad I know.

As a result, I am planning to rent a server so that I have the hardware to deploy what I need (TFS, etc). However, if I rent, I will pay for the price of the server itself within a year. Would it be a bad idea to buy a server in an auction of ebay? I am not worried about software licenses as I have Techet/MSDN licenses from Microsoft.

Thanks

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Stick with the big names, HP, Dell, IBM, etc. You'll have the least problems finding compatible hardware and many will give you the option to pickup extended warranties if you want too. –  Chris S Oct 16 '10 at 17:31

3 Answers 3

I would caution against used gear in a production environment without a proper support contract or warranty in place, but it sounds like you're not doing anything mission critical, so I'd just buy one (or build a better whitebox with lots of RAM and fast disks).

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If I was doing anything production-spec, I would definately look at getting a support contract etc. However, this is for development so that's not really required. Nothing mission critical, but I of course need reliability. :) –  dotnetdev Oct 16 '10 at 23:56

There are trade-offs either way.

If you colocate a server that you purchase on eBay, your initial cost is higher (since you have to buy the server) and your cost over time is much lower (since you only pay for power/networking). However, you have to be very picky about providers because if you need remote hands for a reboot, you want to be sure they have someone staffed in the datacenter 24/7. Also, you need to inquire with the datacenter about how they handle replacing parts and if they do that at all. Some colo providers will allow you to keep spare parts in the datacenter and they'll swap parts for you if you ask (usually for a fee).

On the other hand, if you rent a dedicated server, you don't really have to worry about the hardware at all. This option is cheaper up front, but more expensive over time. If a part in the server falls apart, you can contact your provider to have it replaced at no cost to you.

I've hosted applications using both methods, so let me know if you have any questions.

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It can be an important saving if you have to start your own business and don't have to much money to invest (no venture guys with millions of dollar). It takes month to get the first customers and enough media coverage and sometimes you have nevertheless to start with a big infastructure (if only for testing by you and potential customers). In this case it doesn't matter if your hardware crashs after a few month because it's old or you run out of money. –  Lothar Mar 14 at 17:52

Adding to what gravyface has already put forth...

There are some very good deals on eBay for older model hardware. Additionally, you may have to put forth a little more legwork in the "integration" aspects of identifying the proper/compatible add-on and expansion components, if you need to add to the platform.

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