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I'm about to purchase half a dozen slightly older servers. I see a lot of pretty good specifications quite cheap on ebay. So it won't be the latest CPU but it would still be good enough. The machines will all run Linux (Debian) and will be 64bit.

What brands would you recommend?

What gotchas should I be looking for?

Is any particular features in those slightly mature machines a must have?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

When I buy a used previous generation server, I look for a vendor that sells used systems in volume and will provide a warranty. I personally have had good success with used Dell servers from Aventis Systems, but there are other reputable vendors out there.

If you want to buy on eBay or other non-reputable sources, consider the need to buy multiple items of the same model and maintain spares and/or parts inventory.

You have not specified what you are planning to do with half a dozen servers, so it is impossible to recommend a feature set. Generally speaking, though, you want failure-prone components like drives and power supplies to have redundancy.

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One or two of these servers will be used as slaves for PostgreSql and MongoDB databases. The rest will run worker processes that perform various tasks on our application. Most machines I see on eBay come without drives which is fine - I will buy drives separately. –  Harel Apr 8 '11 at 22:02

Miles is right. You should be looking for a reputable vendor that will provide a warranty. They are not difficult to find and it is a nice balance between servers coming in an unknown condition and a new product.

Buying on eBay should be a last resort for an enterprise environment. If I were buying for my home or something sure... but only in that case really.

Good luck.

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I do have the benefit that most of the servers I need are hot plugged workers, and the loss of one translates to loss in capacity but not critical down time. I accept the answer though and I agree reputable vendors are better than random strangers. –  Harel Apr 9 '11 at 9:06

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