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Hardware Thread, Dell 2900 III DC Server specs in Technical; Hi all, Just been given the job of getting a new main DC for the school. Our present servers is ...
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    Dell 2900 III DC Server specs

    Hi all,

    Just been given the job of getting a new main DC for the school.

    Our present servers is a Dell 4800 2 x Xeon CPU, 2Gb Ram and approx 1150Gb of SCSI hard drive space (in 7 physical hard drives). This server is becoming more and more unreliable (crashes quite often) and I cannot seem to find the reason.

    So I thought a nice new shiney Dell 2900 III might do the trick. I spec'd it for 2 x Quad Core CPU, 16Gb Ram. And this is were I seem to either be losing my marbles or I cant seem to add more than 4 SAS hard drives without having them as RAID.

    So my questions are:
    1) Is it correct that the onboard SAS controller will only allow 4 internal hard drives?
    2) If so can I have an addon raid controller but still use the drives as separate physical drives (rather than in a raid array)?

    My plan would be to have 1 or 2 73Gb 15k RPM SAS drives for the OS and 6 x 300Gb 15K RPM drives for the data.

    What are peoples thoughts?

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    Hi there

    I have just bought a PE2900 III with 2 drives as RAID1 plus 4 independent.

    I *believe* that the machine will take another two as well (making 2x internal, 6x caddies), but don't quote me on that.

    I have to admit I didn't do this via the website, I have a nice friendly account manager, so whether this is an unusual configuration I don't know.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    What is the server doing?

    If its a DC only that spec will be a total overkill.

    Z

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    The server will be used for:

    Main DC
    DNS
    App Share (for about 30+ apps that are able to run easily from a network share)

    So yes you are probably correct about it being overkill.

    Well except for the hard drive space which is a requirement.

    I did look into a lower spec server for the main DC with just 2 x 73Gb OS drives and then attaching a Dell MD3000 Direct Attached Storage to the DC. The problem with this is even before adding hard drives to it - it comes in at 5000+.

    I could spec the server in the first post WITH hard drives for about 4500! So it seems silly to get the MD3000 separate.

    I just really require more space on the Poweredge 2900 III (and I would like them on the number of drives I mentioned - rather than on say 4 massive drives).
    Last edited by siuko; 20th November 2008 at 08:54 AM.

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    I think you could probably save a fair bit of money by cutting down on the amount of RAM the system has got - if it's just a DC and doing some application sharing then you'd probably get away with 2GB, and 4GB would give you plenty of head room.

    (edited to say)... and you could also chop off one of the CPUs.

    <nosey> Just out of curiosity, why are you not using a RAID array? </nosey>

    Ant
    Last edited by pantscat; 20th November 2008 at 09:32 AM. Reason: Old age and forgetfulness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pantscat View Post
    I think you could probably save a fair bit of money by cutting down on the amount of RAM the system has got - if it's just a DC and doing some application sharing then you'd probably get away with 2GB, and 4GB would give you plenty of head room.

    (edited to say)... and you could also chop off one of the CPUs.

    <nosey> Just out of curiosity, why are you not using a RAID array? </nosey>

    Ant
    Hehe you aren't being nosey - I'm just not too knowledgeable about Raid - and I don't really trust raid systems. I would personally just rather go with lots of separate drives and know that if one dies I can just rebuild from backups. (Might sound old fashioned.... hehe probably is).

    Also about lowering the ram and cpu spec's - you are correct - I just thought if I can buy better and they say yes I may as well (just incase...)

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    Hi Siuko

    We have provided quite a few members of EduGeek with servers. You'll be surprised at how much we can probably save you

    Anyway, if you would be interested in a comparitive quote then please let me know as I'll get something sorted

    Regards

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    Quote Originally Posted by siuko View Post
    Hi all,

    Just been given the job of getting a new main DC for the school.

    Our present servers is a Dell 4800 2 x Xeon CPU, 2Gb Ram and approx 1150Gb of SCSI hard drive space (in 7 physical hard drives). This server is becoming more and more unreliable (crashes quite often) and I cannot seem to find the reason.

    So I thought a nice new shiney Dell 2900 III might do the trick. I spec'd it for 2 x Quad Core CPU, 16Gb Ram. And this is were I seem to either be losing my marbles or I cant seem to add more than 4 SAS hard drives without having them as RAID.

    So my questions are:
    1) Is it correct that the onboard SAS controller will only allow 4 internal hard drives?
    2) If so can I have an addon raid controller but still use the drives as separate physical drives (rather than in a raid array)?

    My plan would be to have 1 or 2 73Gb 15k RPM SAS drives for the OS and 6 x 300Gb 15K RPM drives for the data.

    What are peoples thoughts?
    If your looking to replace your Dell server with another Dell Server be sure to give me a shout as we are a Dell Educational Channel Partner we are sure we make you some great savings on all Dell equipment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by siuko View Post
    Hehe you aren't being nosey - I'm just not too knowledgeable about Raid - and I don't really trust raid systems.
    Ahh... well good hardware RAID is great. Software based RAID not so much.

    The simplest way to take advantage of RAID would be to use it to create several logical drives which are just mirrors (so one disk is an identical clone of the other)...

    So disk 1+2 would mirror each other and be drive C:
    Disk 3+4 would mirror each other and be drive D:
    Disk 5+6 would.... you get the picture.

    That's a nice simple way to get some redundancy.

    RAID 5 is even better... but you'd need a minimum of 3 disks per logical drive.

    I'll stop now and not bore you any more but shout if you want to know more.

    A

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    Thanks for the info about raid.

    I know its crazy of me to say this but I am not to worried about the redundancy aspect of using mirrored drives (especially considering how much more the extra hard drives would cost me).

    With the money I am given I normally try to get the maximum (but without any redundancy). Its scary but I run without any raid mirroring, BDC or UPS.

    The school will just have to wait a few days for me to rebuild from backup tapes if they aren't willing to given me budget for redundancy!

    If I did what I know I should do my budget for this server would be more like 30k rather than a much lower 10k.

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    I still think 10k for a server is a bit steep! But then it depends on how much storage you require.

    I'm currently looking at getting 2 new DCs and my budget for this is only 4,500 (albeit with only 250GB of storage each).

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    For your needs a single quad core with 4gb ram should be enough.

    You will probably want another raid card for your data storage array (running raid 5?), the onboard should be more than fine for your OS (mirror).

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    Yeah the 10k is a little steep - but that does include Server 2008 Software + 500 CALS + UPS for 3 servers etc.

    I have already mentioned that at the moment server space is running at 1150Gb so I would like to be at around 1500Gb or more if possible (yeah its because I don't limit user areas... hehe I know its silly).

    I also do not want raid if possible.

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    I have just noticed....

    On page 2 of the Dell configure website

    That I can add 39320A SCSI Internal PCI-X Controller Card to the server.

    This would mean that besides the 4 SAS Hard drives connected to the on board SAS controller I could add extra SCSI drives to make up the storage amount.

    Silly me

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    You shoudl be able to add 2 SAS cards id have thought

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