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I'm putting up an application cluster on three networks. Each cluster requires five lesser rack mounted machines (pizza boxes), and two greater pizza boxes. Price is an issue.

The lesser pizza boxes need to be minimally: dual core CPU, 2Gb RAM, 250Gb disk, dual Giga Net.

The greater pizza boxes need to be minimally: dual core CPU, 4Gb RAM, 4x250Gb RAID5, dual Giga Net.

I want new, not used.

To whom should my business go?

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closed as too localized by EEAA, John Gardeniers, Zoredache, Chris S, sysadmin1138 Nov 13 '10 at 4:05

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By "pizza boxes", I assume you mean 1RU rackmount servers? –  EEAA Nov 11 '10 at 21:30
    
1RU or 2RU, either would work. –  dacracot Nov 11 '10 at 21:32
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Expense is relative. You really need to actually put a number on what you consider inexpensive. What you consider expensive, I might consider cheap. –  Ben Pilbrow Nov 11 '10 at 21:32
    
@dacracot so Thin Crust or Chicago style deep dish then? :) –  EEAA Nov 11 '10 at 21:36
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Is that list price from the website? If so, get on the phone to Dell and tell them how many servers you want. They WILL lower the price. I'm a HP guy personally, but equally - don't look at the prices on their website, talk to someone who can do you a deal. –  Ben Pilbrow Nov 11 '10 at 21:43

2 Answers 2

Tier 1: IBM, HP, Dell
Tier 1.5: Supermicro
Tier 2: Literally dozens and they change every year

That's it, its really annoyingly simple in that you have no real option to get around the fact that the tier ones have extremely hit-or-miss support and the rest just bake the miss into the price.

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+1, I'd go blade servers with a setup like this, but if you insist on 1 or 2U servers, the Tier 1's make plenty of them too. –  Chris S Nov 12 '10 at 3:06
    
Go with SuperMicro. They hqave nice "two node" to "for node" boxes - a noce being a separate smaller form factor motherboard. Saves space, and is cheaper than blades. A lot (no center to pay for - which are stupidly prices). –  TomTom Nov 12 '10 at 5:23
    
@Chris S, With pizza boxes none of my nodes share points of failure as in a blade config, but I don't really want to debate architecture here. –  dacracot Nov 12 '10 at 19:37

I think one company is no different than the other, but do you have any System Building experience? By the minimum specs, you're looking at:

  • 27 - 2 GB RAMs
  • 36 - 250 GB HDDs
  • 21 - CPUs, Gigabit Ethernet cards, motherboards, cases, etc.

Start using 2 CPU's on the big machines or more RAM, and those figures escalate quickly. My point is, you could save some money doing it yourself as long as you have the time to research and build.

If not, I've always liked Dell, and they do volume discounts if the builds are the same.

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Labor hours vs hardware price? I think I'll pass on building it myself. –  dacracot Nov 11 '10 at 22:01
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if you think it's all the same you apparently haven't been around the block. –  Chris S Nov 12 '10 at 3:05
    
I know building clients is nothing to building servers, but that's part of what I do, so do me a favor and keep your speculations to yourself. Frankly though I'll delete the answer if it will make everyone stop whining. –  Theo Nov 12 '10 at 12:08
    
try not to take offense when people disagree with you, this is the Internet and everyone has an opinion. I've seen more than a few people who were proponents of build-it-yourself, who ended up paying more in the long run. The Tier 1 providers have very slim margins and crank out huge volume to make profit. The economies of scale a drastically against building your own equipment. –  Chris S Nov 12 '10 at 20:07
    
@Chris S, I got riled up at the "haven't been around the block" comment. I agree that bigger builders have it easier for most people to build servers, but my answer is also an opinion designed to show the options available, which is what I perceived the poster was looking for...however, I do appreciate your last comment clarifying your position. Truce? –  Theo Nov 12 '10 at 20:57

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