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Purchasing a new server

Server Advice



4:49 am on Oct 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I am in the process of purchasing a new server for my small agent based business of 5 employees. My corporate office has suggested a Dell 1600SC. The main purpose of the server is to transmit data to my corporate office. I would like some professional advise on whether I really need the following features;

Redundant Power Supply-isn't this basically a piece that keeps the server cool? I do reside in Arizona though!

Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition with 5 Client Licenses- what is the difference between this and Windows 2003 small business standard edition?

Dell support service- My corporate suggests 3Yr Same Day 4Hr Response Parts + Onsite Labor (7 Days x 24 Hours. This is what Dell sold them on, I was thinking on just geting the 3 Yr Bronze support.

I am looking at some servers in the Dell Factory Outlet and considering getting more memory, hard drive space or a second processor in place of the items listed above. Please let me know if you have any suggstions.



5:04 am on Oct 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member ogletree is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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As a network admin for over 7 years i have never had to swap out a power supply. What they are talking about is an actual seperate power supply if the other one dies. They do die but years and years later. I have never had a 3yr old or younger machine have a power suply die. Server people love to sell you redundantcy and network guys love to install it. It sounds so cool that you can hop swap a PCI card or CPU. Who has ever done this? The question is how important is it for this server to be up 24/7. If being down costs you more than that hardware costs than get it if it does not then don't get it. I don't even have hard drives go bad. If you plan on buy a new server in less than 3 years I would not get any of that stuff unless downtime can cost you tons of business. Of course you have to have somebody monitor that stuff. You can have 24/7 4 hour response but if you don't know that it is down what good is it. I always get the cheapest server I can from dell and have never had any problems. We do the same thing with desktops.
6:02 am on Oct 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I have had a power supply go bad. And I have multiple hard drives go bad. So I won't pooh-pooh redundancy, even if both events are relatively unlikely. The cost, especially for the redundant power supply, is minimal measured against the possibility of being out of business for days.

Dell is a great name and has good customer service. If you're interested in saving a lot of money and don't mind a little extra risk, I would also recommend looking at a custom computer dealer. One I recently used with success is Aberdeen. For high end machines, there is no comparison. Dell priced a comparable high-end computer at 4x what Aberdeen did and Aberdeen's hardware specs beat Dell's. I have also used Puget Custom Computers with mixed success.

These 3rd-party-vendors are cheap enough that you might consider buying a second server, as I did, to gain redundancy in your web operations while still saving money. I saved thousands of dollars and have the comfort of knowing I have a redundant server.

4:41 pm on Oct 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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1. Redundant PSU - as already described
2. Windows Server is an operating system and small business is a version of the Microsoft Office package - or do you mean Windows small business server standard [microsoft.com] (they couldn't make it more complicated if they tried!)
3. If the company is paying for it doesn't it make sense for you to go for the best support? Otherwise it will be your fault. Cover your ass.
4. Second hard disks etc make sense if you need it. If you don't need the space then why have it? (Unless you are considering using it for redundancy/RAID)
3:50 am on Nov 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I've been running exclusively on dells for years now, both desktops and servers. Nothing wrong with a Dell 1600sc. Some thoughts:

purchasing (I'm assuming US):
- the outlet, dell main site, and ebay are all relatively indistinguishable in terms of quality. And all three have all sorts of different prices depending on what the weather is like. Check all three. Do not assume that the outlet is cheaper or better. YOu can score unbelievable deals from either the main site or the outlet if you watch. I've got bunches of 600SC's for $249 last year (the 1600sc's baby brother). And I just bought a low end 750 and a loaded 1750, but paid top dollar because I wanted them fast.

- You should consider if you need redundant power and redundant (raid 1) hard drives. and whether you need windows OS - linux is free and runs fine if you can admin it.

If you don't feel the need for redundant anything, the 400sc or 700sc will probably do you - I don't see data transfer as a big thing. Otherwise you'll need the 1600sc or better. That is a tower server, not a rackmount by the way. Be aware that the power supplies on these dell servers tend to be just a bit different than stock off the shelf so if it does go, you're waiting for a shipment from Texas.

So if cost is primary, 400sc might actually do you. Smart money though is as above. Get a redundant power supply and a raid 1 system with scsi hard drives (not sata which are not as reliable). Or better yet, put together a proposal with the costs for a 400sc vs a 1600sc and let the brass decide if they want the redundancy.