Our company runs e-commerce web sites (thousands) on two clusters in two separate data centers.
Basically, all we require to operate is rack mountable server nodes. Each node needs:
1.) 4 or 8 cores 2.) 32 gb ram 3.) 1 250 gb sata disk 4.) 2 Port, Gigabit, Ethernet Adapters 5.) Ability to boot Windows XP Pro
That it. We run about 40 such nodes in a fully redundant, always up (hopefully!) cluster (we wrote the clustering part ourselves)
Previously, we bought our systems whiteboxed (basically had a small shop custom build our servers (supermicro) to our specs).
This scheme was working well up to our last round of node purchases. Out of the last round of node purchases have had a super, super high failure rate (30% failed in 6 mo.) No one reason, bad PSU, bad memory, mobo fried, etc.
My questions are these:
Will we have more consistent reliability if we purchase from a name brand vendor (IBM/DELL/HP) or are we basically in the same crap shoot of reliability we were in before? Remember, these are low end servers. We are not going to transition to a mainframe or anything exotic.
Will our reliability vary with the form factor of the servers? That is to say, will 2u servers be any more reliable than high density, 2 nodes in a 1 u box server?
Anybody out there transitioned from white box servers to name brand servers (or changed form factors) and have a tale to tell?