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    Server offers

    We're just about to purchase some servers and was wondering if anyone knows of any companies with good offers on?
    The purpose will be to virtualise everything, so 2 SANs and 2-3 processing nodes. We've looked around and so far Dell are coming out on top with;

    2x iSCSI SANs : Poweredge 2950 6x 750gb SAS, perc 6i controller, Xeon 5420, 2gb ram, redundant power. For around £3k each

    2x processing nodes: R200 Xeon X3360, 8gb ram, SAS hard drive, for around £900 each


    Now i know Sun have matchin grant atm but, unless im missing something, they are significantly more expensive than dell.

    Any recommendations? Any good suppliers (as Dell direct seem incapible of quoting what we ask for)?

    Please note we have around £8k to play with and thats it to buy redundant SAN and a couple of processing nodes, we would love higher spec kit but it aint gunna happen!
    Last edited by j17sparky; 27th April 2009 at 04:53 PM.

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    CPLTD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j17sparky View Post
    We're just about to purchase some servers and was wondering if anyone knows of any companies with good offers on?
    The purpose will be to virtualise everything, so 2 SANs and 2-3 processing nodes. We've looked around and so far Dell are coming out on top with;

    2x iSCSI SANs : Poweredge 2950 6x 750gb SAS, perc 6i controller, Xeon 5420, 2gb ram, redundant power. For around £3k each

    2x processing nodes: R200 Xeon X3360, 8gb ram, SAS hard drive, for around £900 each


    Now i know Sun have matchin grant atm but, unless im missing something, they are significantly more expensive than dell.

    Any recommendations? Any good suppliers (as Dell direct seem incapible of quoting what we ask for)?
    Hi J17sparky,

    We would love the opportunity to provide you with your server needs, if you would like to pm your requirements I'll get straight on it for you,

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    linescanner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j17sparky View Post
    We're just about to purchase some servers and was wondering if anyone knows of any companies with good offers on?
    The purpose will be to virtualise everything, so 2 SANs and 2-3 processing nodes. We've looked around and so far Dell are coming out on top with;

    2x iSCSI SANs : Poweredge 2950 6x 750gb SAS, perc 6i controller, Xeon 5420, 2gb ram, redundant power. For around £3k each

    2x processing nodes: R200 Xeon X3360, 8gb ram, SAS hard drive, for around £900 each


    Now i know Sun have matchin grant atm but, unless im missing something, they are significantly more expensive than dell.

    Any recommendations? Any good suppliers (as Dell direct seem incapible of quoting what we ask for)?
    The Sun kit is very good. The reason it is more expensive is that it can do a whole heap more.

    Here is a link to the Unified Storage stuff Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems - Amber Road Resources

    Download the simulator and have a play. The are a number of Amber Road users on Edugeek. Ric at Baines is one.

    The server requirment will depend on what you are going to virtualise. The ones quoted look at little under powered if you are going to do a few servers per node.

    Matching Grant runs until 20 May (last application Date via us), with a last order date of the 20th June

    Any questions, drop me a PM

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    I should have really mentioned, we have no more money. The prices ive stated are the max we can afford to pay, they could throw in a ferrari and it still wouldnt make a difference.

    We already have a few servers which will be processing nodes so no real problem there.
    Last edited by j17sparky; 27th April 2009 at 04:48 PM.

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    We have lots of offers on Servers at the moment - PM your requirements and I'll quote you happy!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by j17sparky View Post
    I should have really mentioned, we have no more money. The prices ive stated are the max we can afford to pay, they could throw in a ferrari and it still wouldnt make a difference.

    We already have a few servers which will be processing nodes so no real problem there.
    Ah ok. Not gonna get any Sun kit for that kind of money then. Shame as it rocks.

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    When you say "Virtualise Everything" exactly what do you mean?

    Be careful about cutting costs - the last thing you want to do is actually reduce performance.

    What storage software are you planning on using on your PE2950s to actually make them a "SAN"? Be aware that shoving a load of disks into any old Win2k8 server does not magically make a SAN, especially if we're talking about a comparison with the Sun 7110 which is a ground up purpose build high performance storage system with super easy management, full redundancy, self healing and easy expansion options.

    How are your nodes going to connect to the PE2950s via iSCSI?
    How are your PE2950s going to synchronise the data between themselves in real time.
    How do you know the 5 x slow 7200rpm drives will give you the performance and reliability you need?
    How are you going to expand the SAN when you run out of room?

    The SAN is the cornerstone of your virtualisation effort, and skimping on it to save a grand or two is probably not a good idea. Of course - it depends on what you need, if your only virtualising a few low use servers then what you have suggested will be fine, if on the other hand you are virtualising many servers of differering types (domain controller, terminal server, web, exchange, SIMS, etc) then, in my humble oppinion, ignoring the 7110s and shaving £3k odd off the final price is going to come back and bite you in the bum good and hard in the future, when you need performance, or you need expandability, and you have neither.

    Lets do an alternative costing on based on the Matching Grant prices Linescanner can provide:

    Storage:
    2 x Sun 7110 (16 x 146GB, Quad Core Opteron, 8GB RAM, 4 x Gig-E ports) @ £4300 Each

    2 x Sun Fire X2200M2 (2 x Quad Core Opteron 1.9, 8GB RAM, 4 x Gig-E ports, no HDD) @ £775 Each
    4 x 73GB 10KRPM SAS Drive for above @ £105 Each

    Total = £10570, so thats £2570 extra.

    But for that £2750 extra you get Mirrored SAN's that are super fast, super easy to expand in the future, and super easy to set up and manage now, and you also get two nodes that are twice as powerful as the dell units.

    Thats my 2p anyway. Whether you need the extra speed/reliability/managability the above can provide is up to you!

    Butuz

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    I think we all agree with you what Butuz, but j17sparky has the problem of getting the extra £2570(+).

    In my expericence he's ever going down the path of, we can't do it, then waiting (and hoping they find the money), or doing it, then changing later on, or failing that, waiting till next year. Try to get money for IT is hard enough when it's above the normal amount, it's not like you get to see anything really for your money, unlike say, the PE department who gets new equipment or so on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Butuz View Post
    When you say "Virtualise Everything" exactly what do you mean?

    Be careful about cutting costs - the last thing you want to do is actually reduce performance.

    What storage software are you planning on using on your PE2950s to actually make them a "SAN"? Be aware that shoving a load of disks into any old Win2k8 server does not magically make a SAN, especially if we're talking about a comparison with the Sun 7110 which is a ground up purpose build high performance storage system with super easy management, full redundancy, self healing and easy expansion options.

    How are your nodes going to connect to the PE2950s via iSCSI?
    How are your PE2950s going to synchronise the data between themselves in real time.
    How do you know the 5 x slow 7200rpm drives will give you the performance and reliability you need?
    How are you going to expand the SAN when you run out of room?

    The SAN is the cornerstone of your virtualisation effort, and skimping on it to save a grand or two is probably not a good idea. Of course - it depends on what you need, if your only virtualising a few low use servers then what you have suggested will be fine, if on the other hand you are virtualising many servers of differering types (domain controller, terminal server, web, exchange, SIMS, etc) then, in my humble oppinion, ignoring the 7110s and shaving £3k odd off the final price is going to come back and bite you in the bum good and hard in the future, when you need performance, or you need expandability, and you have neither.

    Lets do an alternative costing on based on the Matching Grant prices Linescanner can provide:

    Storage:
    2 x Sun 7110 (16 x 146GB, Quad Core Opteron, 8GB RAM, 4 x Gig-E ports) @ £4300 Each

    2 x Sun Fire X2200M2 (2 x Quad Core Opteron 1.9, 8GB RAM, 4 x Gig-E ports, no HDD) @ £775 Each
    4 x 73GB 10KRPM SAS Drive for above @ £105 Each

    Total = £10570, so thats £2570 extra.

    But for that £2750 extra you get Mirrored SAN's that are super fast, super easy to expand in the future, and super easy to set up and manage now, and you also get two nodes that are twice as powerful as the dell units.

    Thats my 2p anyway. Whether you need the extra speed/reliability/managability the above can provide is up to you!

    Butuz

    A little bit suprised that Sun are only allowing a max of 146Gb disk, this seems low to me really as most sas drives can be up to 450Gb. It doesn't matter if its 14 x 146Gb (2TB RAW) which is still a lot of disk space but not that much esp. when you consider raid 6 DP etc (which in my opinion you should be using on san and not raid 5) so the actual usable disk space is reduced greatly.

    Again i don't know if you put the option to reduce cost or not and it may be that bigger disks are available as well. I'm not a fan of just showing JBODs into a enterprise level live san system.

    Ash.
    Last edited by spc-rocket; 27th April 2009 at 09:16 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    I think we all agree with you what Butuz, but j17sparky has the problem of getting the extra £2570(+).

    In my expericence he's ever going down the path of, we can't do it, then waiting (and hoping they find the money), or doing it, then changing later on, or failing that, waiting till next year. Try to get money for IT is hard enough when it's above the normal amount, it's not like you get to see anything really for your money, unlike say, the PE department who gets new equipment or so on.
    Trust me - I know where sparky is now - I've spent the last 7 years trying to prize meagre amounts of money out of school leaders for extremely important projects.

    Sparky needs to get across the scope and impact of the changes he will make with this £10k – a meagre sum of money.

    First - define meagre?

    I would call £10k meagre when you consider the whole school impact of the project over the next 5 years. If sparky is in a large comp the school could easily be turning over £3million per year annually. If the proposal has a 5 year shelf life, that works out at £2100 per year. Two Thousand One Hundred pounds out of your £3million per year budget in order to implement a fast, reliable, manageable, eco friendly infrastructure that underpins everything the school does, and will benefit every single learner, teacher, administrator and manager in the school. All of this for the price of one activboard per year? All this for the price of 5 PC’s per year?

    Bargain. Now saying no to that is just meagre penny pinching.

    And we have not even gone into the total cost of ownership benefits that virtualisation can bring in the long term

    1. Less servers to keep in warranty.
    2. Less servers to replace every 5 years
    3. Lower electricity costs
    4. Less air conditioning needed
    5. Easier management
    6. Provides a platform to build upon in the future (good foundations as I like to call it, and we all know what happens if you skimp on the foundations….)

    And of course let’s not forget the biggest benefit to the whole lot – high availability.

    Butuz

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    Quote Originally Posted by ashok View Post
    A little bit suprised that Sun are only allowing a max of 146Gb disk, this seems low to me really as most sas drives can be up to 450Gb. It doesn't matter if its 14 x 146Gb (2TB RAW) which is still a lot of disk space but not that much esp. when you consider raid 6 DP etc (which in my opinion you should be using on san and not raid 5) so the actual usable disk space is reduced greatly.

    Again i don't know if you put the option to reduce cost or not and it may be that bigger disks are available as well. I'm not a fan of just showing JBODs into a enterprise level live san system.

    Ash.
    Yep agree with that one mate. It seems (to me) they've hit the nail on the head so hard theyre sitting back now. They need to get out a 16 x 300GB and 16 x 450GB 10k version to cater for schools that use alot more multimedia but still require the speed. Also maybe a 16 x 146 / 16 x 300GB 15k v version for those that want ultimate I/O.

    Why dont they do the options? Slapping in 16 different hard disks is so easy. I don't get it myself.

    Butuz

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    Quote Originally Posted by Butuz View Post
    3. Lower electricity costs

    Might want to pull out the latest recommendations from Becta which state about going green and how the gov wants to combat CO2 blah blah blah thus extra funding.

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    just nitpicking slightly about the example of the x2200 M2. I believe that the entry level x2100 and
    x2200 did/do feature the slightly less advanced LOM that is elom rather than the more advanced ilom as avaialbe on products above in the opteron line....also do those prices include rack rails and 3-year support/maintenance which in my experience might be a bit extra. even with the add-ons it's still incredibly cheap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by j17sparky View Post
    We're just about to purchase some servers and was wondering if anyone knows of any companies with good offers on?
    The purpose will be to virtualise everything, so 2 SANs and 2-3 processing nodes. We've looked around and so far Dell are coming out on top with;

    2x iSCSI SANs : Poweredge 2950 6x 750gb SAS, perc 6i controller, Xeon 5420, 2gb ram, redundant power. For around £3k each

    2x processing nodes: R200 Xeon X3360, 8gb ram, SAS hard drive, for around £900 each


    Now i know Sun have matchin grant atm but, unless im missing something, they are significantly more expensive than dell.

    Any recommendations? Any good suppliers (as Dell direct seem incapible of quoting what we ask for)?

    Please note we have around £8k to play with and thats it to buy redundant SAN and a couple of processing nodes, we would love higher spec kit but it aint gunna happen!
    that's a tight budget. could you explain the redundant SAN plan. you see if it's just a copy or disk backup of the data on your primary storage you could possibly reuse some existing servers that has sufficient disk space and use it as a disk target device. then your backup/replication environment can treat the device as a backup target.

    that might save you 3k that you could use to bump up the specs on your virtualized servers.

    just a thought. if you don't have a suitable server available then just ignore me.

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    linescanner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ashok View Post
    A little bit suprised that Sun are only allowing a max of 146Gb disk, this seems low to me really as most sas drives can be up to 450Gb. It doesn't matter if its 14 x 146Gb (2TB RAW) which is still a lot of disk space but not that much esp. when you consider raid 6 DP etc (which in my opinion you should be using on san and not raid 5) so the actual usable disk space is reduced greatly.

    Again i don't know if you put the option to reduce cost or not and it may be that bigger disks are available as well. I'm not a fan of just showing JBODs into a enterprise level live san system.

    Ash.
    Bigger Disk version is coming as I understand.



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