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Anyone every purchase / use hardware from http://SiliconMechanics.com?

Their prices seem to be unbeatable.

So I'm curious to know how reliable their servers are.

Also, who do you recommend to buy the best bang for your buck on rack servers?

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closed as off topic by sysadmin1138 Jan 5 '12 at 3:23

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Product and service recommendations are specifically off topic for ServerFault (see point 4 in the NOT About section of the FAQ) –  sysadmin1138 Jan 5 '12 at 3:23

7 Answers 7

I've used a variety of vendors over the years and I always come back to Dell. Their build quality is hard to beat. For important servers, I love the fact that I can call them up and say "it won't boot" and 90 minutes later a guy shows up with a box full of parts and begins swapping them out until it works.

Fried motherboard on a production mail server. Total downtime: 2 hours. (Yes, it should've been redundant. It wasn't.)

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Fyi; SilliconMechanics is just reselling branded SuperMicro machines at a lower cost than direct with added support and sales. Still cheaper to buy from them than elsewhere -- but their equipment does come from a bigname whitebox manufacturer.

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For the love of the flying spaghetti monster; don't ever pay retail.

We just did a large purchase from Dell for a bunch of servers, an EMC CX4 SAN, switches, load ballancers, etc. With full Microsoft licensing we paid easily 30-40% off the original quotes. It's all about having a good sales rep, and being able to negotiate when them and get them to work the partners for the best possible deals.

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We've (company I work for) used Silicon Mechanics for a while. Probably >20 servers from them, many of them with weird requirements, from low-end stuff (single-CPU, single-disk web servers) to multi-core, multi-CPU 16-disk DB servers, to weird stuff like telephony servers. We even got some Windows XP(!) servers from them fairly recently, no problems at all.

Almost all of it has worked perfectly with no problems. We've only ever had problems with three machines (one had a bad HDD backplane, found with intense testing on arrival, one had some RAM fail after the better part of a year, and the other was just Western Digital's lovely quality control), and their support (we just have the standard warranty) has been excellent.

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I have a Silicon Mechanics rack mount that I bought used. It is a dual socket Opteron system with a 3ware raid controller and I have had no hardware problems with it. A friend bought some used on Ebay and those have worked without hardware issues. My former employer has a dozen Silicon Mechanics boxes that they use for Test and Production. The only problems those boxes every had were software issues with our own code.

If I were looking for new servers, I would put them high on the list of vendors to get quotes from.

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I bought 3 servers from them probably 3 years ago.

2 servers had the (cheap plastic) rabbit ears break off almost immediately. One server was RMA'd.

In terms of operations and not cheap plastic case addons, they've been reliable machines. I've heard their quality has improved from the models I bought.

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@Matt, do you recommend someone else then? –  TimK Jun 25 '09 at 2:59
    
Honestly, all of my server hardware comes from Dell. Before you commit to Dell's prices, call CDW and see if they can make you a deal. I paid half of what Dell wanted to charge me for an EMC AX4-5 when I asked around at CDW. Can you describe your need in more detail? –  Matt Simmons Jun 25 '09 at 3:05
    
@Matt, I would like something has around 16 DIMMS, 2 or 4 CPU sockets, Intel, 8 or more diskdrives –  TimK Jun 25 '09 at 3:06
    
@Matt, also - no larger than 4U and hopefully only 2U in size –  TimK Jun 25 '09 at 3:07
    
So essentially you're looking for a RAM heavy storage server. In that case, SiliconMechanics might be your best bet. Dell / EMC seem to push SAN storage, as opposed to in-server storage, probably because of the comparative markup. DAS seems to be on the way out. –  Matt Simmons Jun 25 '09 at 3:19

I don't have any experience with that vendor but I can suggest another discount vendor that I have had good luck with. And all of their equipment comes with a 5 year warranty. Aberdeen Inc.

http://www.aberdeeninc.com/

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