Thread: Alternatives to Dell?

From:
Josh Berkus
Date:

Folks,

A lot of people have been having a devilish time with Dell hardware lately.
It seems like the quality control just isn't there on the Dell servers.

Thing is, some companies are required to use 1st-tier or at least 2nd-tier
vendors for hardware; they won't home-build.   For those people, what vendors
do others on this list recommend?   What have been your good/bad experiences?

--
--Josh

Josh Berkus
Aglio Database Solutions
San Francisco

From:
Josh Berkus
Date:

Jeff,

> I'm curious about the problem's you're seeing with Dell servers since
> we're about to buy some 750s, 2850s and 1850s.

The problems I've been dealing with have been on the *650s.   They're the ones
you name.

> FYI ... the 750s, 1850s and 2850s use Intel chipsets (E7520 on 1850s
> and 2850s, 7210 on 750s), Intel NICs, and come only with LSI Logic
> RAID controllers.  It looks like Dell has dropped the
> Broadcom/ServerWorks and Adaptec junk.

I don't know if Vivek is on this list; I think he just had a critical failure
with one of the new Dells with LSI.

--
--Josh

Josh Berkus
Aglio Database Solutions
San Francisco

From:
Steven Rosenstein
Date:




I recommend IBM equipment, but in the spirit of caveat emptor  I should let
you know I work for IBM... :-)

Seriously, I've been using IBM laptops and desktops for about 5 years, even
before I started working for them.  They tend to be a little more expensive
than Dell, but I think they use beefier components and don't cut the specs
quite as close as Dell does.  IBM gear is designed more for industrial use
than home computing, which is reflected in the quality (and the price).

IBM just released a new series of PowerPC-based servers that are
specifically designed to run Linux.  They're at the higher end, but from
what I understand, they provide much more bang for the buck than
Intel-based servers.

I hope this helps,
--- Steve
___________________________________________________________________________________

Steven Rosenstein
Senior IT Architect/Specialist | IBM Virtual Server Administration
Voice/FAX: 845-689-2064 | Cell: 646-345-6978 | Tieline: 930-6001
Text Messaging: 6463456978 @ mobile.mycingular.com
Email: srosenst @ us.ibm.com

"Learn from the mistakes of others because you can't live long enough to
make them all yourself." -- Eleanor Roosevelt



             Josh Berkus
             <
             m>                                                         To
             Sent by:                  
             pgsql-performance                                          cc
             -owner@postgresql
             .org                                                  Subject
                                       [PERFORM] Alternatives to Dell?

             12/01/2004 05:24
             PM


             Please respond to
                   josh






Folks,

A lot of people have been having a devilish time with Dell hardware lately.

It seems like the quality control just isn't there on the Dell servers.

Thing is, some companies are required to use 1st-tier or at least 2nd-tier
vendors for hardware; they won't home-build.   For those people, what
vendors
do others on this list recommend?   What have been your good/bad
experiences?

--
--Josh

Josh Berkus
Aglio Database Solutions
San Francisco

---------------------------(end of broadcast)---------------------------
TIP 5: Have you checked our extensive FAQ?

               http://www.postgresql.org/docs/faqs/FAQ.html



From:
"Matthew Marlowe"
Date:

Josh, Steve:

I have also been looking at non-dell server vendors due to
recent concerns about the PERC RAID Controllers.  That said,
I believe IBM just shoots itself in the foot via its sales/pricing
practices....

Price out a PE2850 w/ 8GB RAM and 6 18GB Drives on the
Dell website and you'll get a number in the $9-10K range.  Talk
to your sales rep and you can get a $1-2K discount(total $7-8K).
That seems fair and it wins alot of business.

Go the IBM website, try to find a comparative x86 system and
spec it out. The list pricing is in the $12-16K range.  Yes, I know
I could get a good discount if I developed a relationship with
an IBM reseller here..and perhaps the end pricing would be
in the $10-12K range....but the Dell way just seems alot more honest
to me, and reasonable.  The IBM gear doesn't seem that much better.

And while I have concerns about some of the Dell
hardware, none of the issues have really caused any issues for me or my clients
here yet.....(crossing fingers..)

I just don't think IBM makes it easy for new customers to buy their equipment and
if I went with them, I'd always have the lingering suspicion that I was paying too much.

I really hope they change some day...  Until then, I just see Dell winning more of the
server market share.

Regards,
Matt
--- Original Message---
 To: 
 Cc: 
 From: Steven Rosenstein <>
 Sent: 12/01/2004  4:17PM
 Subject: Re: [PERFORM] Alternatives to Dell?

>>
>>
>>
>>
>> I recommend IBM equipment, but in the spirit of caveat emptor  I should let
>> you know I work for IBM... :-)
>>
>> Seriously, I've been using IBM laptops and desktops for about 5 years, even
>> before I started working for them.  They tend to be a little more expensive
>> than Dell, but I think they use beefier components and don't cut the specs
>> quite as close as Dell does.  IBM gear is designed more for industrial use
>> than home computing, which is reflected in the quality (and the price).
>>
>> IBM just released a new series of PowerPC-based servers that are
>> specifically designed to run Linux.  They're at the higher end, but from
>> what I understand, they provide much more bang for the buck than
>> Intel-based servers.
>>
>> I hope this helps,
>> --- Steve
>> ________________________________________________________________________
>> ___________
>>
>> Steven Rosenstein
>> Senior IT Architect/Specialist | IBM Virtual Server Administration
>> Voice/FAX: 845-689-2064 | Cell: 646-345-6978 | Tieline: 930-6001
>> Text Messaging: 6463456978 @ mobile.mycingular.com
>> Email: srosenst @ us.ibm.com
>>
>> "Learn from the mistakes of others because you can't live long enough to
>> make them all yourself." -- Eleanor Roosevelt
>>
>>
>>
>>              Josh Berkus
>>              <
>>              m>                                                         To
>>              Sent by:                  
>>              pgsql-performance                                          cc
>>              -owner@postgresql
>>              .org                                                  Subject
>>                                        [PERFORM] Alternatives to Dell?
>>
>>              12/01/2004 05:24
>>              PM
>>
>>
>>              Please respond to
>>                    josh
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> Folks,
>>
>> A lot of people have been having a devilish time with Dell hardware lately.
>>
>> It seems like the quality control just isn't there on the Dell servers.
>>
>> Thing is, some companies are required to use 1st-tier or at least 2nd-tier
>> vendors for hardware; they won't home-build.   For those people, what
>> vendors
>> do others on this list recommend?   What have been your good/bad
>> experiences?
>>
>> --
>> --Josh
>>
>> Josh Berkus
>> Aglio Database Solutions
>> San Francisco
>>
>> ---------------------------(end of broadcast)---------------------------
>> TIP 5: Have you checked our extensive FAQ?
>>
>>                http://www.postgresql.org/docs/faqs/FAQ.html
>>
>>
>>
>> ---------------------------(end of broadcast)---------------------------
>> TIP 4: Don't 'kill -9' the postmaster
>>


From:
Geoffrey
Date:

Matthew Marlowe wrote:

> I just don't think IBM makes it easy for new customers to buy their
> equipment and if I went with them, I'd always have the lingering
> suspicion that I was paying too much.
>
> I really hope they change some day...  Until then, I just see Dell
> winning more of the server market share.

Something to be said for the old saying, 'you get what you pay for.'

--
Until later, Geoffrey

From:
"Iain"
Date:

I always say 'If you pay for quality it only hurts once', but then again I
don't equate high price with high quality ;-)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Geoffrey" <>

> Something to be said for the old saying, 'you get what you pay for.'


From:
"Joshua D. Drake"
Date:

>
> Thing is, some companies are required to use 1st-tier or at least 2nd-tier
> vendors for hardware; they won't home-build.   For those people, what vendors
> do others on this list recommend?   What have been your good/bad experiences?

Well this is almost as bad as vi/emacs ;) but I have had good experience
with Compaq Proliant (now HP) servers. I have also "heard" good things
about IBM.

IBM actually sells a reasonable costing Opteron server as well.

Sincerely,

Joshua D. Drake


>


--
Command Prompt, Inc., home of PostgreSQL Replication, and plPHP.
Postgresql support, programming shared hosting and dedicated hosting.
+1-503-667-4564 -  - http://www.commandprompt.com
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From:
"Joshua D. Drake"
Date:

>
>Go the IBM website, try to find a comparative x86 system and
>spec it out. The list pricing is in the $12-16K range.  Yes, I know
>I could get a good discount if I developed a relationship with
>an IBM reseller here..and perhaps the end pricing would be
>in the $10-12K range....but the Dell way just seems alot more honest
>to me, and reasonable.  The IBM gear doesn't seem that much better.
>
>
It is my experience that IBM will get within 5% of Dell if you
provide IBM with a written quote from Dell.

Sincerely,

Joshua D. Drake



>And while I have concerns about some of the Dell
>hardware, none of the issues have really caused any issues for me or my clients
>here yet.....(crossing fingers..)
>
>I just don't think IBM makes it easy for new customers to buy their equipment and
>if I went with them, I'd always have the lingering suspicion that I was paying too much.
>
>I really hope they change some day...  Until then, I just see Dell winning more of the
>server market share.
>
>Regards,
>Matt
>--- Original Message---
> To: 
> Cc: 
> From: Steven Rosenstein <>
> Sent: 12/01/2004  4:17PM
> Subject: Re: [PERFORM] Alternatives to Dell?
>
>
>
>>>
>>>
>>>I recommend IBM equipment, but in the spirit of caveat emptor  I should let
>>>you know I work for IBM... :-)
>>>
>>>Seriously, I've been using IBM laptops and desktops for about 5 years, even
>>>before I started working for them.  They tend to be a little more expensive
>>>than Dell, but I think they use beefier components and don't cut the specs
>>>quite as close as Dell does.  IBM gear is designed more for industrial use
>>>than home computing, which is reflected in the quality (and the price).
>>>
>>>IBM just released a new series of PowerPC-based servers that are
>>>specifically designed to run Linux.  They're at the higher end, but from
>>>what I understand, they provide much more bang for the buck than
>>>Intel-based servers.
>>>
>>>I hope this helps,
>>>--- Steve
>>>________________________________________________________________________
>>>___________
>>>
>>>Steven Rosenstein
>>>Senior IT Architect/Specialist | IBM Virtual Server Administration
>>>Voice/FAX: 845-689-2064 | Cell: 646-345-6978 | Tieline: 930-6001
>>>Text Messaging: 6463456978 @ mobile.mycingular.com
>>>Email: srosenst @ us.ibm.com
>>>
>>>"Learn from the mistakes of others because you can't live long enough to
>>>make them all yourself." -- Eleanor Roosevelt
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>             Josh Berkus
>>>             <
>>>             m>                                                         To
>>>             Sent by:                  
>>>             pgsql-performance                                          cc
>>>             -owner@postgresql
>>>             .org                                                  Subject
>>>                                       [PERFORM] Alternatives to Dell?
>>>
>>>             12/01/2004 05:24
>>>             PM
>>>
>>>
>>>             Please respond to
>>>                   josh
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>Folks,
>>>
>>>A lot of people have been having a devilish time with Dell hardware lately.
>>>
>>>It seems like the quality control just isn't there on the Dell servers.
>>>
>>>Thing is, some companies are required to use 1st-tier or at least 2nd-tier
>>>vendors for hardware; they won't home-build.   For those people, what
>>>vendors
>>>do others on this list recommend?   What have been your good/bad
>>>experiences?
>>>
>>>--
>>>--Josh
>>>
>>>Josh Berkus
>>>Aglio Database Solutions
>>>San Francisco
>>>
>>>---------------------------(end of broadcast)---------------------------
>>>TIP 5: Have you checked our extensive FAQ?
>>>
>>>               http://www.postgresql.org/docs/faqs/FAQ.html
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>---------------------------(end of broadcast)---------------------------
>>>TIP 4: Don't 'kill -9' the postmaster
>>>
>>>
>>>
>
>
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>TIP 2: you can get off all lists at once with the unregister command
>    (send "unregister YourEmailAddressHere" to )
>
>


--
Command Prompt, Inc., home of Mammoth PostgreSQL - S/ODBC and S/JDBC
Postgresql support, programming shared hosting and dedicated hosting.
+1-503-667-4564 -  - http://www.commandprompt.com
PostgreSQL Replicator -- production quality replication for PostgreSQL


From:
Geoffrey
Date:

Iain wrote:
> I always say 'If you pay for quality it only hurts once', but then again
> I don't equate high price with high quality ;-)

True, but if you do your research, you'll more likely to get high
quality with high price then you are high quality with low price.

--
Until later, Geoffrey

From:
Sven Willenberger
Date:


Josh Berkus wrote:
> Jeff,
>
>
>>I'm curious about the problem's you're seeing with Dell servers since
>>we're about to buy some 750s, 2850s and 1850s.
>
>
> The problems I've been dealing with have been on the *650s.   They're the ones
> you name.
>
>
>>FYI ... the 750s, 1850s and 2850s use Intel chipsets (E7520 on 1850s
>>and 2850s, 7210 on 750s), Intel NICs, and come only with LSI Logic
>>RAID controllers.  It looks like Dell has dropped the
>>Broadcom/ServerWorks and Adaptec junk.
>
>
> I don't know if Vivek is on this list; I think he just had a critical failure
> with one of the new Dells with LSI.
>

On this note about "Adaptec junk", I have a question regarding hardware
as well. We tend to build a lot of servers in house (Supermicro based
with the Zero-channel raid). Does anyone have any anecdotal or empirical
data on using a ZCR card versus a full-blown RAID controller (adaptec or
other)?? I am trying to build a medium-duty database server with 8G RAM,
4x144GB U320 Scsi RAID 10, FreeBSD (5.3-stable or 4-stable) and was
wondering about performance differences between ZCR and Adaptec versus
other manufacturers' Full-RAID cards. (PCI-E)

Sven

From:
Mike Rylander
Date:

On Wed, 1 Dec 2004 14:24:12 -0800, Josh Berkus <> wrote:
> Folks,
>
> A lot of people have been having a devilish time with Dell hardware lately.
> It seems like the quality control just isn't there on the Dell servers.

Which is a shame, because I *still* drool over a rack full of those
front bevels with the bright blue LEDs. :)

>
> Thing is, some companies are required to use 1st-tier or at least 2nd-tier
> vendors for hardware; they won't home-build.   For those people, what vendors
> do others on this list recommend?   What have been your good/bad experiences?

I'm using an HP DL585 quad Opteron with 16G RAM as a development box.
It's working great. ;)

Seriously though, I never really liked HP (or worse, Compaq) hardware
before, but this box seems really well built, and I've yet to see a
'D' in the S column in top with the SA-6404/256 RAID card.

If all goes as well as it has so far on this testbed I'll be deploying
on a Slony-1 clustered set of 3 of these bad boys with 32G RAM each.
Dollar-for-dollar, we're saving 90% (that's right, an order of
magnitude) going this route, PG with linux-amd64 on HP/Opterons, as
opposed to the E20K monster that was originally spec'd out.

Mail me direct if you want the full spec list on this beast.  And if
there is a ready-made benchmark anyone would like me to run, just drop
me a note.

--
Mike Rylander

GPLS -- PINES Development
Database Developer
http://open-ils.org

From:
Geoffrey
Date:

Josh Berkus wrote:
> Folks,
>
> A lot of people have been having a devilish time with Dell hardware
> lately. It seems like the quality control just isn't there on the
> Dell servers.
>
> Thing is, some companies are required to use 1st-tier or at least
> 2nd-tier vendors for hardware; they won't home-build.   For those
> people, what vendors do others on this list recommend?   What have
> been your good/bad experiences?

My experience with Dell is they are not reliable as well.

Half way between the big guys and home built.  I've had good success
with Monarch Computers.  They've had ads in Linux Journal for a while
and a couple of their boxes have been reviewed there. As a matter of
fact, in the December issue, they did a review of a dual operton from
Monarch.

http://www.monarchcomputer.com/

--
Until later, Geoffrey

From:
"Merlin Moncure"
Date:

> Folks,
>
> A lot of people have been having a devilish time with Dell hardware
> lately.
> It seems like the quality control just isn't there on the Dell
servers.
>
> Thing is, some companies are required to use 1st-tier or at least
2nd-tier
> vendors for hardware; they won't home-build.   For those people, what
> vendors
> do others on this list recommend?   What have been your good/bad
> experiences?

Well, there is always HP and (if money is no object) IBM or Sun.

For the budget or performance minded I'd suggest checking out SWT
servers (http://www.swt.com) ...not sure what tier they fit into but
they can get you into a quad Opteron for under 10k$ US, about half what
you would pay for a comparable HP server (and Dell doesn't even offer
Opteron).

Also, if choice of RAID controller is an option, I'd definitely suggest
3ware.  They are cheap, have excellent linux support (including open
source drivers), and have the options you'd expect form a decent raid
controller including a BBU.  I just picked up one of their escalade SATA
controllers and am really impressed with it.

I'd definitely suggest Opteron...cooler, faster, and 64 bit.  Another
reason not to go with Dell.

Merlin

From:
Frank Wiles
Date:

On Wed, 1 Dec 2004 14:24:12 -0800
Josh Berkus <> wrote:

> Folks,
>
> A lot of people have been having a devilish time with Dell hardware
> lately.  It seems like the quality control just isn't there on the
> Dell servers.

  I believe I had expressed some problems with Dell in the past, but
  it really isn't a quality control issue that I have seen.  It is more
  of a Linux support issue.  Lately I've been running into problems with
  getting particular parts of system working under Linux (raid cards,
  SATA drives, Ethernet cards) or I can get it working, but it
  performs badly ( PERC cards vs say a Mylex card ).

  I think it's more of a system design issue ( wrt Linux use ) rather
  than a quality issue.

 ---------------------------------
   Frank Wiles <>
   http://www.wiles.org
 ---------------------------------


From:
Bruce Momjian
Date:

Josh Berkus wrote:
> Folks,
>
> A lot of people have been having a devilish time with Dell hardware lately.
> It seems like the quality control just isn't there on the Dell servers.

Was the quality ever there with Dell?

> Thing is, some companies are required to use 1st-tier or at least 2nd-tier
> vendors for hardware; they won't home-build.   For those people, what vendors
> do others on this list recommend?   What have been your good/bad experiences?

I use Supermicro and have liked them.  They make motherboards and systems.

--
  Bruce Momjian                        |  http://candle.pha.pa.us
                 |  (610) 359-1001
  +  If your life is a hard drive,     |  13 Roberts Road
  +  Christ can be your backup.        |  Newtown Square, Pennsylvania 19073

From:
"Anjan Dave"
Date:

Not in my experience for IBM, even for an order approaching 100k. The sales guy was rude, jumping on numbers, unable to
talkabout exactly what differentiates IBM from Dell (equivalent config) - other than the name and their 20K+
difference.
 
We use many Dell servers, no quality issue, but as someone pointed out earlier, linux support is not that great.
 
Only issue so far hardware wise is the PERC card on one of the machines, and i believe one should stay away from the
adaptecversions of PERC.
 
 
-anjan
 

    -----Original Message----- 
    From: Joshua D. Drake [mailto:] 
    Sent: Wed 12/1/2004 9:15 PM 
    To: Matthew Marlowe 
    Cc: Steven Rosenstein; ;  
    Subject: Re: [PERFORM] Alternatives to Dell?
    
    


    > 
    >Go the IBM website, try to find a comparative x86 system and 
    >spec it out. The list pricing is in the $12-16K range.  Yes, I know 
    >I could get a good discount if I developed a relationship with 
    >an IBM reseller here..and perhaps the end pricing would be 
    >in the $10-12K range....but the Dell way just seems alot more honest 
    >to me, and reasonable.  The IBM gear doesn't seem that much better. 
    >  
    > 
    It is my experience that IBM will get within 5% of Dell if you 
    provide IBM with a written quote from Dell. 

    Sincerely, 

    Joshua D. Drake 



    >And while I have concerns about some of the Dell 
    >hardware, none of the issues have really caused any issues for me or my clients 
    >here yet.....(crossing fingers..) 
    > 
    >I just don't think IBM makes it easy for new customers to buy their equipment and 
    >if I went with them, I'd always have the lingering suspicion that I was paying too much. 
    > 
    >I really hope they change some day...  Until then, I just see Dell winning more of the 
    >server market share. 
    > 
    >Regards, 
    >Matt   
    >--- Original Message--- 
    > To:  
    > Cc:  
    > From: Steven Rosenstein <> 
    > Sent: 12/01/2004  4:17PM 
    > Subject: Re: [PERFORM] Alternatives to Dell? 
    > 
    >  
    > 
    >>> 
    >>> 
    >>>I recommend IBM equipment, but in the spirit of caveat emptor  I should let 
    >>>you know I work for IBM... :-) 
    >>> 
    >>>Seriously, I've been using IBM laptops and desktops for about 5 years, even 
    >>>before I started working for them.  They tend to be a little more expensive 
    >>>than Dell, but I think they use beefier components and don't cut the specs 
    >>>quite as close as Dell does.  IBM gear is designed more for industrial use 
    >>>than home computing, which is reflected in the quality (and the price). 
    >>> 
    >>>IBM just released a new series of PowerPC-based servers that are 
    >>>specifically designed to run Linux.  They're at the higher end, but from 
    >>>what I understand, they provide much more bang for the buck than 
    >>>Intel-based servers. 
    >>> 
    >>>I hope this helps, 
    >>>--- Steve 
    >>>________________________________________________________________________ 
    >>>___________ 
    >>> 
    >>>Steven Rosenstein 
    >>>Senior IT Architect/Specialist | IBM Virtual Server Administration 
    >>>Voice/FAX: 845-689-2064 | Cell: 646-345-6978 | Tieline: 930-6001 
    >>>Text Messaging: 6463456978 @ mobile.mycingular.com 
    >>>Email: srosenst @ us.ibm.com 
    >>> 
    >>>"Learn from the mistakes of others because you can't live long enough to 
    >>>make them all yourself." -- Eleanor Roosevelt 
    >>> 
    >>> 
    >>> 
    >>>             Josh Berkus 
    >>>             < 
    >>>             m>                                                         To 
    >>>             Sent by:                   
    >>>             pgsql-performance                                          cc 
    >>>             -owner@postgresql 
    >>>             .org                                                  Subject 
    >>>                                       [PERFORM] Alternatives to Dell? 
    >>> 
    >>>             12/01/2004 05:24 
    >>>             PM 
    >>> 
    >>> 
    >>>             Please respond to 
    >>>                   josh 
    >>> 
    >>> 
    >>> 
    >>> 
    >>> 
    >>> 
    >>>Folks, 
    >>> 
    >>>A lot of people have been having a devilish time with Dell hardware lately. 
    >>> 
    >>>It seems like the quality control just isn't there on the Dell servers. 
    >>> 
    >>>Thing is, some companies are required to use 1st-tier or at least 2nd-tier 
    >>>vendors for hardware; they won't home-build.   For those people, what 
    >>>vendors 
    >>>do others on this list recommend?   What have been your good/bad 
    >>>experiences? 
    >>> 
    >>>-- 
    >>>--Josh 
    >>> 
    >>>Josh Berkus 
    >>>Aglio Database Solutions 
    >>>San Francisco 
    >>> 
    >>>---------------------------(end of broadcast)--------------------------- 
    >>>TIP 5: Have you checked our extensive FAQ? 
    >>> 
    >>>               http://www.postgresql.org/docs/faqs/FAQ.html 
    >>> 
    >>> 
    >>> 
    >>>---------------------------(end of broadcast)--------------------------- 
    >>>TIP 4: Don't 'kill -9' the postmaster 
    >>> 
    >>>      
    >>> 
    > 
    > 
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    >  
    > 


    -- 
    Command Prompt, Inc., home of Mammoth PostgreSQL - S/ODBC and S/JDBC 
    Postgresql support, programming shared hosting and dedicated hosting. 
    +1-503-667-4564 -  - http://www.commandprompt.com 
    PostgreSQL Replicator -- production quality replication for PostgreSQL 


From:
Geoffrey
Date:

Merlin Moncure wrote:

> For the budget or performance minded I'd suggest checking out SWT
> servers (http://www.swt.com) ...not sure what tier they fit into but
> they can get you into a quad Opteron for under 10k$ US, about half what
> you would pay for a comparable HP server (and Dell doesn't even offer
> Opteron).

You can do the same with Monarch Computers.  A 4u quad opteron.  You can
also pay a lot more, depends on the configuration.  They have a very
nice site for building a system as you want.

--
Until later, Geoffrey

From:
Joe Conway
Date:

Josh Berkus wrote:
> Thing is, some companies are required to use 1st-tier or at least 2nd-tier
> vendors for hardware; they won't home-build.   For those people, what vendors
> do others on this list recommend?   What have been your good/bad experiences?

I've had very good experiences with IBM hardware, and found their sales
and support to be responsive.

Joe

From:
Geoffrey
Date:

Dave Cramer wrote:
> Well, I've personally seen IBM's that were slower than Dell's, and
> Dell's aren't particularly fast.
>
> I'm currently trying to find a name brand computer that is as fast as
> something I could build myself. So far the HP looks like the fastest,
> but still not as fast as a machine built from scratch
> SuperMicro seems to be pretty good as Bruce mentioned.

I've been very impressed with the Monarch machines.  They are well
built, with good quality components.  They are meticulously assembled,
with special care taken with cable routing and such.  Very quiet
machines as well and that's not easy with AMD processors.

These folks also specialize in Linux boxes and they preload Linux.  You
won't find that with most of the large vendors.  Plus, you can call and
actually talk to one of the folks who's actually building the box.  It's
unlikely you'll get that kind of service from any of the big guys.

As far as Dell is concerned, I've heard nothing but problems from other
folks using their boxes, both servers and desktops.  My personal
experience reflects the same.

--
Until later, Geoffrey

From:
"Steinar H. Gunderson"
Date:

On Wed, Dec 01, 2004 at 05:25:03PM -0500, Bruce Momjian wrote:
> I use Supermicro and have liked them.  They make motherboards and systems.

Many of their rack-based servers seem to be near-impossible to fit in a rack,
though. :-) (Many of their 4U servers are just desktop cases which you can
turn on their sides and apply an extra kit onto, and into the rack it goes...
after a lot of pain. :-) )

/* Steinar */
--
Homepage: http://www.sesse.net/

From:
"Steinar H. Gunderson"
Date:

On Wed, Dec 01, 2004 at 05:43:10PM -0500, Merlin Moncure wrote:
> Also, if choice of RAID controller is an option, I'd definitely suggest
> 3ware.  They are cheap, have excellent linux support (including open
> source drivers)

The drivers are open source, but the management tools are not. (This is quite
impractical for us running other distributions than Red Hat or SuSE, at least.)

/* Steinar */
--
Homepage: http://www.sesse.net/

From:
Thomas F.O'Connell
Date:

I've been at companies where we've had good experiences with Penguin
Computing servers.

http://www.penguincomputing.com/

I always evaluate their offerings when considering server purchases or
recommendations.

-tfo

--
Thomas F. O'Connell
Co-Founder, Information Architect
Sitening, LLC
http://www.sitening.com/
110 30th Avenue North, Suite 6
Nashville, TN 37203-6320
615-260-0005


From:
Dave Cramer
Date:

Well, I've personally seen IBM's that were slower than Dell's, and
Dell's aren't particularly fast.

I'm currently trying to find a name brand computer that is as fast as
something I could build myself. So far the HP looks like the fastest,
but still not as fast as a machine built from scratch
SuperMicro seems to be pretty good as Bruce mentioned.

Dave

Geoffrey wrote:

> Merlin Moncure wrote:
>
>> For the budget or performance minded I'd suggest checking out SWT
>> servers (http://www.swt.com) ...not sure what tier they fit into but
>> they can get you into a quad Opteron for under 10k$ US, about half what
>> you would pay for a comparable HP server (and Dell doesn't even offer
>> Opteron).
>
>
> You can do the same with Monarch Computers.  A 4u quad opteron.  You
> can also pay a lot more, depends on the configuration.  They have a
> very nice site for building a system as you want.
>

--
Dave Cramer
http://www.postgresintl.com
519 939 0336
ICQ#14675561


From:
"Merlin Moncure"
Date:

> On Wed, Dec 01, 2004 at 05:43:10PM -0500, Merlin Moncure wrote:
> > Also, if choice of RAID controller is an option, I'd definitely
suggest
> > 3ware.  They are cheap, have excellent linux support (including open
> > source drivers)
>
> The drivers are open source, but the management tools are not. (This
is
> quite
> impractical for us running other distributions than Red Hat or SuSE,
at
> least.)

Ah, good point.  FWIW, 3ware also supports FreeBSD.  It is hard to
understand why they don't open source their utilities...

Merlin

From:
Robin Ericsson
Date:

On Wed, 2004-12-01 at 14:24 -0800, Josh Berkus wrote:
> Folks,
>
> A lot of people have been having a devilish time with Dell hardware lately.
> It seems like the quality control just isn't there on the Dell servers.
>
> Thing is, some companies are required to use 1st-tier or at least 2nd-tier
> vendors for hardware; they won't home-build.   For those people, what vendors
> do others on this list recommend?   What have been your good/bad experiences?


We use a bunch of HP ProLiant DL360 and DL380 without any problems at
all.



regards,
    Robin


From:
Cott Lang
Date:

Consider Sun's new line of Opterons. They've been around for a couple of
years under the Newisys name. I'm using dozens of them for web servers
and PG servers and so far both the v20z and v40z have been excellent
performers with solid reliability.  The pricing was also competitive
since Sun is looking to break into the market.



On Wed, 2004-12-01 at 14:24 -0800, Josh Berkus wrote:
> Folks,
>
> A lot of people have been having a devilish time with Dell hardware lately.
> It seems like the quality control just isn't there on the Dell servers.
>
> Thing is, some companies are required to use 1st-tier or at least 2nd-tier
> vendors for hardware; they won't home-build.   For those people, what vendors
> do others on this list recommend?   What have been your good/bad experiences?
>


From:
"Joshua D. Drake"
Date:

Cott Lang wrote:

>Consider Sun's new line of Opterons. They've been around for a couple of
>years under the Newisys name. I'm using dozens of them for web servers
>and PG servers and so far both the v20z and v40z have been excellent
>performers with solid reliability.  The pricing was also competitive
>since Sun is looking to break into the market.
>
>
Really? I am not being sarcastic, but I found their prices pretty sad.
Did you go direct or web purchase? I have thought about using them
several times but....

Sincerely,

Joshua D. Drake



>
>
>On Wed, 2004-12-01 at 14:24 -0800, Josh Berkus wrote:
>
>
>>Folks,
>>
>>A lot of people have been having a devilish time with Dell hardware lately.
>>It seems like the quality control just isn't there on the Dell servers.
>>
>>Thing is, some companies are required to use 1st-tier or at least 2nd-tier
>>vendors for hardware; they won't home-build.   For those people, what vendors
>>do others on this list recommend?   What have been your good/bad experiences?
>>
>>
>>
>
>
>---------------------------(end of broadcast)---------------------------
>TIP 4: Don't 'kill -9' the postmaster
>
>


--
Command Prompt, Inc., home of Mammoth PostgreSQL - S/ODBC and S/JDBC
Postgresql support, programming shared hosting and dedicated hosting.
+1-503-667-4564 -  - http://www.commandprompt.com
PostgreSQL Replicator -- production quality replication for PostgreSQL


From:
Cott Lang
Date:

Most of mine I got through a Sun reseller. Some of mine I got off of
Ebay.  You should be able to get them a lot cheaper than than retail web
pricing. :)

However, even full retail seems like it was a hell of a lot cheaper for
a v40z than a DL585. :)


On Fri, 2004-12-03 at 06:30 -0800, Joshua D. Drake wrote:
> Cott Lang wrote:
>
> >Consider Sun's new line of Opterons. They've been around for a couple of
> >years under the Newisys name. I'm using dozens of them for web servers
> >and PG servers and so far both the v20z and v40z have been excellent
> >performers with solid reliability.  The pricing was also competitive
> >since Sun is looking to break into the market.
> >
> >
> Really? I am not being sarcastic, but I found their prices pretty sad.
> Did you go direct or web purchase? I have thought about using them
> several times but....
>
> Sincerely,
>
> Joshua D. Drake
>
>
>
> >
> >
> >On Wed, 2004-12-01 at 14:24 -0800, Josh Berkus wrote:
> >
> >
> >>Folks,
> >>
> >>A lot of people have been having a devilish time with Dell hardware lately.
> >>It seems like the quality control just isn't there on the Dell servers.
> >>
> >>Thing is, some companies are required to use 1st-tier or at least 2nd-tier
> >>vendors for hardware; they won't home-build.   For those people, what vendors
> >>do others on this list recommend?   What have been your good/bad experiences?
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >
> >
> >---------------------------(end of broadcast)---------------------------
> >TIP 4: Don't 'kill -9' the postmaster
> >
> >
>
>


From:
"Joshua D. Drake"
Date:

Cott Lang wrote:

>Most of mine I got through a Sun reseller. Some of mine I got off of
>Ebay.  You should be able to get them a lot cheaper than than retail web
>pricing. :)
>
>However, even full retail seems like it was a hell of a lot cheaper for
>a v40z than a DL585. :)
>
>
That's true :) One of the reasons the compaq's are expensive
is they supposedly use a quad board, even for the dual machine.
Which means a different opteron chip as well.

I don't know this for a fact, it is just what one of their
"ahem" sales guys told me.

The IBM machines are seem reasonable though.

Sincerely,

Joshua D. Drake



>
>On Fri, 2004-12-03 at 06:30 -0800, Joshua D. Drake wrote:
>
>
>>Cott Lang wrote:
>>
>>
>>
>>>Consider Sun's new line of Opterons. They've been around for a couple of
>>>years under the Newisys name. I'm using dozens of them for web servers
>>>and PG servers and so far both the v20z and v40z have been excellent
>>>performers with solid reliability.  The pricing was also competitive
>>>since Sun is looking to break into the market.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>Really? I am not being sarcastic, but I found their prices pretty sad.
>>Did you go direct or web purchase? I have thought about using them
>>several times but....
>>
>>Sincerely,
>>
>>Joshua D. Drake
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>>On Wed, 2004-12-01 at 14:24 -0800, Josh Berkus wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>>Folks,
>>>>
>>>>A lot of people have been having a devilish time with Dell hardware lately.
>>>>It seems like the quality control just isn't there on the Dell servers.
>>>>
>>>>Thing is, some companies are required to use 1st-tier or at least 2nd-tier
>>>>vendors for hardware; they won't home-build.   For those people, what vendors
>>>>do others on this list recommend?   What have been your good/bad experiences?
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>---------------------------(end of broadcast)---------------------------
>>>TIP 4: Don't 'kill -9' the postmaster
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>
>>


--
Command Prompt, Inc., home of Mammoth PostgreSQL - S/ODBC and S/JDBC
Postgresql support, programming shared hosting and dedicated hosting.
+1-503-667-4564 -  - http://www.commandprompt.com
PostgreSQL Replicator -- production quality replication for PostgreSQL


From:
Cott Lang
Date:

We were originally heading towards an IBM deployment, but the 325 was
all that was available at the time, and it only supported 12GB.  Then
when I heard they canceled their rumored quad processor 350, I feared
Intel/AMD politics and IBM dropped from the running. :)

(IBM now has the 326 that supports 16GB of RAM)




On Fri, 2004-12-03 at 06:38 -0800, Joshua D. Drake wrote:
> Cott Lang wrote:
>
> >Most of mine I got through a Sun reseller. Some of mine I got off of
> >Ebay.  You should be able to get them a lot cheaper than than retail web
> >pricing. :)
> >
> >However, even full retail seems like it was a hell of a lot cheaper for
> >a v40z than a DL585. :)
> >
> >
> That's true :) One of the reasons the compaq's are expensive
> is they supposedly use a quad board, even for the dual machine.
> Which means a different opteron chip as well.
>
> I don't know this for a fact, it is just what one of their
> "ahem" sales guys told me.
>
> The IBM machines are seem reasonable though.
>
> Sincerely,
>
> Joshua D. Drake
>
>
>
> >
> >On Fri, 2004-12-03 at 06:30 -0800, Joshua D. Drake wrote:
> >
> >
> >>Cott Lang wrote:
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>>Consider Sun's new line of Opterons. They've been around for a couple of
> >>>years under the Newisys name. I'm using dozens of them for web servers
> >>>and PG servers and so far both the v20z and v40z have been excellent
> >>>performers with solid reliability.  The pricing was also competitive
> >>>since Sun is looking to break into the market.
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>Really? I am not being sarcastic, but I found their prices pretty sad.
> >>Did you go direct or web purchase? I have thought about using them
> >>several times but....
> >>
> >>Sincerely,
> >>
> >>Joshua D. Drake
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>>On Wed, 2004-12-01 at 14:24 -0800, Josh Berkus wrote:
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>>Folks,
> >>>>
> >>>>A lot of people have been having a devilish time with Dell hardware lately.
> >>>>It seems like the quality control just isn't there on the Dell servers.
> >>>>
> >>>>Thing is, some companies are required to use 1st-tier or at least 2nd-tier
> >>>>vendors for hardware; they won't home-build.   For those people, what vendors
> >>>>do others on this list recommend?   What have been your good/bad experiences?
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>---------------------------(end of broadcast)---------------------------
> >>>TIP 4: Don't 'kill -9' the postmaster
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>
> >>
>
>


From:
Mike Rylander
Date:

On Fri, 03 Dec 2004 06:38:50 -0800, Joshua D. Drake
<> wrote:
> That's true :) One of the reasons the compaq's are expensive
> is they supposedly use a quad board, even for the dual machine.
> Which means a different opteron chip as well.

I can confirm that.  You have a choice of CPUs, but all the DL585s are
expandable to 4 procs if you get the 800 series Opterons.  Each CPU
sits on it's own daughter board that links up the HyperTransport
busses between all the others.  Each CPU card has (I think...) 8 slots
for DIMMS, for a max of 64G.

>
> I don't know this for a fact, it is just what one of their
> "ahem" sales guys told me.
>

At least in that case they were being accurate. ;)


--
Mike Rylander

GPLS -- PINES Development
Database Developer
http://open-ils.org

From:
Cott Lang
Date:

On Fri, 2004-12-03 at 20:53 -0500, Mike Rylander wrote:
> On Fri, 03 Dec 2004 06:38:50 -0800, Joshua D. Drake
> <> wrote:
> > That's true :) One of the reasons the compaq's are expensive
> > is they supposedly use a quad board, even for the dual machine.
> > Which means a different opteron chip as well.
>
> I can confirm that.  You have a choice of CPUs, but all the DL585s are
> expandable to 4 procs if you get the 800 series Opterons.  Each CPU
> sits on it's own daughter board that links up the HyperTransport
> busses between all the others.  Each CPU card has (I think...) 8 slots
> for DIMMS, for a max of 64G.

Why would I want that giant beast when a 1U will do for dual
opterons? :)

The V40zs have dual procs on the main board with a daughter board for
the other two procs. Each CPU has 4 DIMM slots. Sun has the daughter
boards for an outrageous price, but you can buy white box Newisys
daughter boards for a lot less.

The 64GB of 2GB DIMMs I am jealous of, other than that, the DL585 is so
outrageously priced I never considered it.


From:
Andrew Sullivan
Date:

On Fri, Dec 03, 2004 at 07:19:37AM -0700, Cott Lang wrote:
> Consider Sun's new line of Opterons. They've been around for a couple of

I wouldn't buy a ray of sunshine from Sun in the middle of January at
the north pole, given the customer experience I had with them.  They
had consistent failures in some critical hardware, and it was like
asking them to donate a kidney when we tried to get the things fixed.
Finally, they told us that they'd sell us the new line of hardware
instead.  In other words, "The last version was broken, but _this_
one works!  We promise!"  We told them to take a long walk off a
short pier.  Their service people sure _try_ hard in the field, but
some machines required three and four visits to fix.

I also find the Sun Opteron offering to be way overpriced compared to
the competition.

In case it's not obvious, I don't speak for my employer.

A

--
Andrew Sullivan  | 
This work was visionary and imaginative, and goes to show that visionary
and imaginative work need not end up well.
        --Dennis Ritchie

From:
Vivek Khera
Date:

>>>>> "FW" == Frank Wiles <> writes:

FW>   I believe I had expressed some problems with Dell in the past, but
FW>   it really isn't a quality control issue that I have seen.  It is more
FW>   of a Linux support issue.  Lately I've been running into problems with

Ditto that experience, but with FreeBSD.

FW>   getting particular parts of system working under Linux (raid cards,
FW>   SATA drives, Ethernet cards) or I can get it working, but it
FW>   performs badly ( PERC cards vs say a Mylex card ).

Drivers for their devices are not problems, but performance is.

Their RAID cards are either Adaptec or LSI, but people who use the
"real" branded versions of those cards always seem to get better
performance.  Way better.

I'm considering FreeBSD systems and a custom built configuration right
now.  Very hard decision to make.

For desktops and web/office servers, I still like the Dells.  Just not
for the DB servers anymore.


--
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Vivek Khera, Ph.D.                Khera Communications, Inc.
Internet:        Rockville, MD  +1-301-869-4449 x806
AIM: vivekkhera Y!: vivek_khera   http://www.khera.org/~vivek/

From:
Vivek Khera
Date:

>>>>> "JB" == Josh Berkus <> writes:


>> FYI ... the 750s, 1850s and 2850s use Intel chipsets (E7520 on 1850s
>> and 2850s, 7210 on 750s), Intel NICs, and come only with LSI Logic
>> RAID controllers.  It looks like Dell has dropped the
>> Broadcom/ServerWorks and Adaptec junk.

JB> I don't know if Vivek is on this list; I think he just had a
JB> critical failure with one of the new Dells with LSI.

I'm here, but time delayed :-)

No critical failures on the Dell, just performance failure.  It can't
keep up.  You'd think with a box like this:

4GB RAM
Dual Xeon (32 bit)
PERC3 (LSI based controller) dual channel
chan0: RAID1 two disks for OS + pg_xlog
chan1: RAID5 14 disks U320 18Gb
FreeBSD 4.10
PG 7.4.6

I should get better than a sustained 6MB/s I/O throughput with peaks
to 30MB/s and about 30% the tracks/sec others report with name-brand
LSI controllers with Opteron systems.

The computer is wicked fast, but the I/O can't hold up, and I can't
get a straight answer as to why.

I'm no closer to solving the vendor problem than anyone else here.

--
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Vivek Khera, Ph.D.                Khera Communications, Inc.
Internet:        Rockville, MD  +1-301-869-4449 x806
AIM: vivekkhera Y!: vivek_khera   http://www.khera.org/~vivek/

From:
Bruce Momjian
Date:

Vivek Khera wrote:
> >>>>> "FW" == Frank Wiles <> writes:
>
> FW>   I believe I had expressed some problems with Dell in the past, but
> FW>   it really isn't a quality control issue that I have seen.  It is more
> FW>   of a Linux support issue.  Lately I've been running into problems with
>
> Ditto that experience, but with FreeBSD.
>
> FW>   getting particular parts of system working under Linux (raid cards,
> FW>   SATA drives, Ethernet cards) or I can get it working, but it
> FW>   performs badly ( PERC cards vs say a Mylex card ).
>
> Drivers for their devices are not problems, but performance is.
>
> Their RAID cards are either Adaptec or LSI, but people who use the
> "real" branded versions of those cards always seem to get better
> performance.  Way better.
>
> I'm considering FreeBSD systems and a custom built configuration right
> now.  Very hard decision to make.
>
> For desktops and web/office servers, I still like the Dells.  Just not
> for the DB servers anymore.

Way off topic, but Dell regularly advertises included hardware that is
"almost" the same as the name brand hardware if purchased individually.

My brother bought a Dell and needed to upgrade his video driver and the
Dell tech said he has to use Dell's drivers rather than the
manufacturers driver because the video card isn't identical to the
manufacturers.  Of course the manufacturer had an updated driver that
fixed the problem while Dell had only the broken one.  He upgraded the
driver anyway and it worked.

Do you want to purchase hardware from a vendor that tries to shave every
dollar off the hardware cost, even if compatibility or performance
suffers?  I don't.

--
  Bruce Momjian                        |  http://candle.pha.pa.us
                 |  (610) 359-1001
  +  If your life is a hard drive,     |  13 Roberts Road
  +  Christ can be your backup.        |  Newtown Square, Pennsylvania 19073