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we're currently looking for a cheap, but reasonably powerful, server to collect analytics and act like a firewall for our Web Application server.

It seems a PowerEdge 1750 or 1850 would do the job nicely, but they both appear to only accept SCSI harddrives (both use a PERC 4 controller). SCSI are obscenely expensive and unnecessary for the task at hand, but we would still like RAID 1. Is it possible to use a SATA HD with these two servers? (For example, could we install a SAS 6/iR instead?)

It just seems crazy that we have to use SCSI HD when everything else to do with the server is fine.

Thanks for any help.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

both models are very old now. If you want to use SATA, look at the PE860, or if you want something more advanced - pe1950.

The newer servers aren't that expensive,the R200 for example.

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Thanks, but the 1950 appears to be just as expensive second-hand as it was new :( – Django Reinhardt Nov 9 '09 at 13:18
if you're after raid1 only, and that with a fakeraid on sata disks, PE850 or PE860 is just the thing for you – dyasny Nov 9 '09 at 14:37
Ah! Looking good. Also, I believe it's possible to install an SAS 5 i/R in both of those, isn't it? (Surely it can't do fake/software raid out of the box?) – Django Reinhardt Nov 9 '09 at 14:54
IIRC, the i/R cards are just as fake as the builtins, just have better management and maybe a more stable codebase to the firmware. I might be mistaken there - my DCSE is pretty much outdated :) anyhow, if you're going to run Linux, md is the way to go - seems to be more reliable and perform better than any fakeraid – dyasny Nov 9 '09 at 16:19
We'd be running Windows Server 2008 if that changes anything? :-/ – Django Reinhardt Nov 9 '09 at 16:50

If you're a business you should be able to get a Dell rep who will love to talk to you if they think they can continue a business relationship with you, and with a Dell rep you can ask about custom configurations and maybe talk them down in price depending on your rapport.

You can also try shopping on the Dell "second hand" store on their website where they put systems that were configured for clients then refused (changed minds, not what they wanted, etc.). Perfectly good systems just not what the clients ended up wanting and purchasing them means no real flexibility in how you want it configured before it's shipped to you, but you get some sweet discounts from those systems that are otherwise taking up space in some Dell warehouse.

My advice is to first try seeing if you can get ahold of a business rep to schmooze a little with. They can get your answer about the SATA controller and/or see about knocking prices down and/or work on configuring something for your needs.

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