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My current project involves sending computers to clients that they will plug into their network. These computers fill the role of a web server, primarily. During a peak hour one of these servers will serve 10-20GB of mostly static content, and that content is updated locally or remotely with some frequency. Using consumer grade small form factor devices for this project is proving to be a bad idea due to failure rates and inconsistent hardware availability, and occasionally due to I/O and memory bottlenecks.

What are some widespread standard options, in terms of form factor and manufacturers, for this sort of project?

The OS for this device is CentOS 6, possibly 7 at some point in the future. Our current solution is approx 2"x8"x8". Slightly larger would be acceptable, but not as large as an ITX PC. We are handling backup and software security ourselves, and do not need hardware security features.

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What about the Intel NUC? – sciurus Jan 9 '14 at 0:30
@sciurus neat concept, but VGA (or, at the very newest, DVI) is still somewhat of a standard in all of the environments I deal with servers in. I don't think the server market is ready to move to HDMI. – Sparr Jan 9 '14 at 0:48
HDMI is electrically compatible with DVI, you just need a passive adapter which costs a few dollars. – sciurus Jan 9 '14 at 0:53

Something like the HP Microserver immediately comes to mind... It still has some remote management capabilities and can handle a web serving workload. You don't mention the OS requirements of your application, but the Microserver supports most major OSes.

If that's too large, there are smaller options.

  • Can you clarify the application stack?
  • Also, how important is the data contained within?
  • Does it need to be protected?
  • Backed up?
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I'll update the question with answers to some of those – Sparr Jan 8 '14 at 21:14

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