Computer hardware is the collection of physical elements that comprise a computer system.

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346
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7answers
61k views

Something is burning in the server room; how can I quickly identify what it is?

The other day, we notice a terrible burning smell coming out of the server room. Long story short, it ended up being one of the battery modules that was burning up in the UPS unit, but it took a good ...
125
votes
6answers
14k views

Are SSD drives as reliable as mechanical drives (2013)?

SSD drives have been around for several years now. But the issue of reliability still comes up. I guess this is a follow up from this question posted 4 years ago, and last updated in 2011. It's now ...
123
votes
12answers
11k views

Should servers be turned off at night?

There is a server that is used from 4:30 am in the morning until ~ 22:00. Should it be turned off? I think that it is a server and that it won't have a problem to stay on, but serious professors are ...
55
votes
10answers
4k views

How to extinguish a small fire in a server rack to minimize damage to surrounding equipment?

Suppose I have a rack with several servers and other stuff. One of servers overheats severely and either starts smoking or catches fire while there's a serviceman nearby. If anything similar happens ...
54
votes
14answers
2k views

Is UPS worthwhile for non-production equipment? [closed]

Over the years, I've had to throw away a quite a few bits of computing equipment (and the like): Several ADSL routers with odd symptoms (losing wireless connections, losing wired connections, DHCP ...
49
votes
12answers
4k views

What should I pay attention to when I'm buying a network switch?

Since I'm not a hardware expert, I don't know what features make a network switch a good network switch. What should I pay attention, when I'm comparing the different models from different vendors?
47
votes
8answers
2k views

How is fire spread in server rooms and datacenters?

Every now and then I read that a severe fire has happened in some datacenter, lots of equipment has been damaged and customers have gone offline. Now I wonder what is there to support and spread fire? ...
44
votes
7answers
7k views

Why do we still use power supplies on datacenter servers?

Computers mainly need three voltages to work : +12V, +5V and +3,3V, all of them are DC. Why can't we just have a few (for redundancy) big power supply providing these three voltages to the entire ...
44
votes
7answers
5k views

Probability of Blade Chassis Failure

In my organisation we are thinking about buying blade servers - instead of rack servers. Of course technology vendors also make them sound very nice. A concern, that I read very often in different ...
37
votes
18answers
777 views

Poor internal database - replace it or chuck hardware at it?

So - we have an internal company database, the usual kind of stuff: manages clients, phone calls, sales deals and client agreements/schemes. It's an Access 2000 front-end, and an SQL Server 2000 ...
33
votes
1answer
12k views

HP ProLiant DL360 G7 hangs at “Power and Thermal Calibration” screen

I have a new HP ProLiant DL360 G7 system that is exhibiting a difficult-to-reproduce issue. The server randomly hangs at the "Power and Thermal Calibration in Progress..." screen during the POST ...
29
votes
9answers
22k views

Reliability of ssd drives

The main advantage of SSD drives is better performance. I am interested in their reliability. Are SSD drives more reliable then normal hard drives? Some people say they must be because they have no ...
29
votes
2answers
7k views

Why are enterprise SAS disk enclosures seemingly so expensive?

I will begin by stating that I do not believe this is a duplicate of Why is business-class storage so expensive?. My question is specifically about SAS drive enclosures, and justifying their expense. ...
27
votes
12answers
3k views

Where did “Wait 30 seconds before turning it back on” come from?

I guess these are the kinds of things I think about on the weekend... When I was growing up (not that long ago) my parents always taught us to wait 30 seconds after shutting down the computer before ...
27
votes
7answers
12k views

What are the performance differences between Raid 0,1,5,6,10

I have heard/read different performance stories on the various raid flavors. I am curious what the agreed upon best answer is.
26
votes
5answers
3k views

Do I need to RAID Fusion-io cards?

Can I run reliably with a single Fusion-io card installed in a server, or do I need to deploy two cards in a software RAID setup? Fusion-io isn't very clear (almost misleading) on the topic when ...
26
votes
2answers
2k views

HP plan to restrict access to ProLiant server firmware - consequences?

I've been a longtime advocate for HP ProLiant servers in my system environments. The platform has been the basis of my infrastructure designs across several industries for the past 12 years. The ...
24
votes
7answers
2k views

Is it necessary to burn-in RAM for server-class hardware?

Considering the fact that many server-class systems are equipped with ECC RAM, is it necessary or useful to burn-in the memory DIMMs prior to their deployment? I've encountered an environment where ...
24
votes
6answers
28k views

Does a 500 watt power supply always use 500 watts of electricity? [closed]

Does a 500 watt power supply always pull 500 watts? Or does it depend on the load being placed on the computer? It's a n00b hardware question. I'm trying to figure out how much it costs to run my ...
23
votes
13answers
3k views

Anti-static wrist straps: are they worth it?

Do you use an antistatic wrist strap when working on hardware? Do they really work? Have you ever fried some hardware that would have been saved if you had been wearing one? I know some people who ...
23
votes
13answers
2k views

High Failure Rate of Large Drives?

I recently deployed a server with 5x 1TB drives (I won't mention their brand, but it was one of the big two). I was initially warned against getting large capacity drives, as a friend advised me that ...
22
votes
12answers
101k views

How to find out details about hardware on the Linux machine?

-i.e - how to get a full list of hardware components in command line (on a machine with no window system) Thank you.
22
votes
11answers
12k views

Is anyone else using OpenBSD as a router in the enterprise? What hardware are you running it on? [closed]

We have an OpenBSD router at each of our locations, currently running on generic "homebrew" PC hardware in a 4U server case. Due to reliability concerns and space considerations we're looking at ...
21
votes
6answers
840 views

How to prepare computers for donation

We are decommissioning around 40 Dell desktops. We would like to donate them but drives need to be wiped. What's the best approach to wipe them all as efficiently as possible? Is it standard practice ...
21
votes
4answers
1k views

What to look for in a datacentre ethernet switch

This is a Canonical Question about choosing a network switch for a datacentre When shopping for a networking switch that's going to be going into the top of a datacentre rack, what specific ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

What is this wiring panel and what are these Ethernet “ports?”

In my office's building there is a stone-age LAN rack with some Ethernet ports I've never seen before. I need to find the name of this ports, if they have one, and then buy some cables or adapters. ...
20
votes
4answers
2k views

SSD head / cylinder / cluster details

A customer of ours makes industrial robots that run on very old, but stable, hardware and software. The only bottleneck has always been the hard drive in these moving machines. Due to constant ...
20
votes
2answers
7k views

What is the command to flash a NIC link light?

I remember using a command line tool to flash a NIC's link light to identify it. I can't remember for the life of me what it was.
20
votes
2answers
1k views

Protecting Servers from Dust

I have a single server rack (31 of the 42U occupied) in a small (about 10'x10') basement room in a building that is seeing some light renovation... nothing huge, but some non-load-bearing-walls going ...
19
votes
3answers
500 views

Replacing Hard Drives [closed]

I was wondering if it is a good idea to replace a hard drive in a (fairly) system-critical database server after a certain number of years of use, before it dies. For example, I was thinking of ...
18
votes
7answers
4k views

Do you continue to use your end-of-life server/network equipment?

So you spend lots of money on nice servers, storage arrays, or network equipment and it works wonderfully for you for years. But after 3-6 years your vendor no longer offers maintenance for the ...
17
votes
14answers
8k views

How can I destroy data on a failed hard disk without voiding warranty?

Suppose I have a hard disk with data I don't want to expose to a third party. The warranty period for that disk still lasts. Now the disk starts malfunctioning. I can't use a disk wiping program on a ...
17
votes
1answer
1k views

How to correctly move a server inside a rack up and down

Maybe a bit stupid question, but Sometimes (rarely but it happens) I need to move a server in a rack 1-2U up or down. What do you think, which of the ways is the most correct and useful and why? ...
16
votes
1answer
10k views

Hosting a ZFS server as a virtual guest

I'm still new to ZFS. I've been using Nexenta but I'm thinking of switching to OpenIndiana or Solaris 11 Express. Right now, I'm at a point of considering virtualizing the ZFS server as a guest within ...
16
votes
3answers
8k views

What happens when the USB key or SD card I've installed VMware ESXi on fails?

An SD (SDHC) card installed in an HP ProLiant DL380p Gen8 server running VMware ESXi just failed :( I encountered some ominous looking messages on the vCenter console and in the HP ProLiant ILO event ...
15
votes
4answers
60k views

DIMMs: Single vs. Double vs. Quad Rank

What difference does the 'Rank' of DIMMs make to server memory? For example, when looking at server configurations I see the following being offered for the same server: 2GB (1x2GB) Single Rank ...
14
votes
7answers
2k views

How much electricity is required to power 20 'average' computers on a LAN?

i trying to see how much electricity is required to power 'x' number of computers. I know it's a vague thing because some computers draw more than others (eg. diff chipsets, HDD, vid cards, PSU's, ...
14
votes
7answers
4k views

Good low power server/pc for firewall? [closed]

Does anyone know of a low power server/pc that have 2 NIC's, so it can be used for a (OpenBSD) firewall? Sandra
14
votes
2answers
1k views

What RAM options do I need to know before buying Server RAM?

This is a proposed Canonical Question about Server Memory. I have to buy a Dell R420 server and there are various combinations (1600 and 1333 MHz RDIMMS and UDIMMS) and Performance Optimized vs. ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

Windows 2008 R2 AD servers on fanless flash based systems

We have a number of branch offices where having an AD/DNS server would make a big difference to user experience. The following characteristics apply: There is no air conditioned server room, and no ...
14
votes
5answers
7k views

Linux hard drive serial number as non-root

First of all, I would like to apologies for the title for not including hardware details. This is because I am looking for a command that will work in all Linux distribution. Question: I am very ...
14
votes
1answer
5k views

Hardware RAID controller cache battery failure frequency/lifetime?

I'm in an environment that contains many Supermicro servers equipped with Adaptec and LSI MegaRAID hardware RAID controllers. These controllers contain battery-backed cache modules to help boost write ...
13
votes
7answers
7k views

What hardware makes a good MongoDB Server ? Where to get it?

Suppose you're on dell.com right now and you're buying a server to run your MongoDB database for your small startup. You will have to handle literally tens of thousands of writes and reads per minute ...
13
votes
9answers
1k views

Notebook for Sysadmin

For those of you who still not tired of "XYZ for sysadmin" questions: This subject is bothering me for a long time. I had number of problems selecting notebook for job. For example: Notebook vs ...
13
votes
15answers
8k views

Build a low-power file server

I would like to build a file server for backups. The server needs to be available 24/7 in a mixed Windows/Linux network, but service should not exceed 1 hour per day. Thats why power consumption is my ...
13
votes
5answers
5k views

ZFS best practices with hardware RAID

If one happens to have some server-grade hardware at ones disposal, is it ever advisable to run ZFS on top of a hardware-based RAID1 or some such? Should one turn off the hardware-based RAID, and run ...
13
votes
7answers
13k views

How to recover from a drive failure in a RAID 5 configuration?

This morning a drive failed on our database server. The drive array (3 disks) is setup in a RAID 5 configuration. While we wait for a drive replacement we are preparing for a recovery strategy. Users ...
12
votes
13answers
877 views

Hard drive fail - How to regain confidence on the drive or make some use of it

After a hard drive fail (lots of corrupted sectors) I reformat it, but the drive give me no confidence to use it in production. Is there a tool to stress test so I know I can use it? In which ways ...
12
votes
6answers
668 views

Bad disks in ancient server

I have a 1998-era Netware 3.12 server that runs everything on our campus: general ledger, purchasing, payroll, student information, grades, you name it. The server has an Adaptec RAID controller with ...
12
votes
8answers
11k views

Physically Identify the failed hard drive

So, let's say your server had 6 healthy hard drives. A drive fails (will not mount/detect, drops out of raid with errors) or is failing (SMART getting worse, etc). You need to swap out the bad ...