I co-own a company with a friend of mine and we have decided to buy a new server to support our business (our current server is an Asus EEE Box, working great but too limited :) ).
I should mention that we are web developers but occasionally we do small-office sys admin. Thus, 99% of time we work on GNU/Linux (mainly Ubuntu) but from time to time we need to setup a Windows environment to assist some customers (e.g. setup a temporary SQL Server 2008).
- Low budget: we don't want the cheapest solution out there but we can't afford to spend too much. Budget could be ~1000-1500€ (before VAT)
- Robustness: we would like to setup a RAID array and maybe have an external disk where we can store backups
Virtualization: we need to be able to setup few servers for development. The scenario is something like this (~8 appliances running in parallel):
- Redmine + GIT server
- Bacula server
- FTP server
- 3-4 virtual appliances that could be set up on demand to test our applications or support a customer. The appliances could be: LAMP, Tomcat+PostgreSQL, SQL Server
Support: if something breaks down it shouldn't be too difficult to find a replacement.
Now, given the main requirements, there are some doubts we need to clarify:
- Do you suggest to buy a prepackaged solution (for example a customized Dell PowerEdge T110 or T310) or to assemble the server by ourselves (buy the separate components)?
- What RAID configuration do you suggest? I was thinking of RAID1 (probably cheaper) or RAID5.
- should we buy a hardware RAID controller or is it ok to use a software RAID (mdadm)? In case, which controller do you suggest?
- What processor do you suggest (Intel Xeon, i3, i5, i7, AMD)? How much RAM? (I was thinking at least 8GB, ~1GB per appliance)
- What virtualization software do you recommend? VMWare seems to be the best choice, but what about XEN or KVM? We don't want to buy licenses at the moment so we would like to consider only free options.
- What OS do you recommend? We know Ubuntu, Debian, Gentoo very well (we would like to use Ubuntu Server), however it seems a lot of people goes for CentOS.
Thanks in advance if you can help us with this!
It's our first "serious" server so many doubts popped up :)
Please feel free to add further recommendations if you have some to share ;)
Have a nice day