Serious Server Upgrades On The Way

I’ve had a server in my basement on the internet since about 1998. Back then I was running a website and email server on a Pentium 133 over a 1024/768 kbs aDSL line.

I’ve been running on scrounged and cast-off hardware ever since. Generally it’s worked out pretty well with no major problems.

But the current set of hardware I’m running on is getting a little long in the tooth. I’m running a lot of stuff on one box now. It’s keeping up pretty well most of the time, but the Plex media server pushes it over the edge. The box just doesn’t have enough CPU to do the transcoding.

So today I got a pretty nice bonus at work and I spent some money on some hardware. This is the first piece of server hardware I’ve ever bought.

Several of my co-workers have been talking about and buying used Dell C6100 servers. These are neat, very dense, four node servers. The people over at Serve The Home really like them and have lots of information about them.

In a 2U chassis Dell has managed to stuff four separate compute nodes, each with two CPU slots, 12 memory slots, two 1GB NICs, a couple of expansion slots and an IPMI with a dedicated interface.

These are designed to be virtualized, and that’s what I plan on doing with it.

Full specs – each node has:

  • Two Intel Xeon Six Core L5640 2.26GHz 5.86 GT/s 12MB Cache CPUs (12 cores per node)
  • Six 4GB PC-10600R Dual Ranked DDR3 1333MHz Registered ECC RDIMM Memory (24GB per node)
  • LSI MegaRAID 9260-8i 6G

The chassis is available with drive bays for either 12 3.5″ or 24 2.5″ drives. I went for the 3.5″ bays, so each node gets three bays.

The primary node will get three Western Digital 4TB Black SATA drives in a RAID 6 configuration. This will be the primary storage node with 8TB of drive space.

The other three nodes will get a mirrored pair of Western Digital 2TB Black SATA drives.

I’m not entirely certain how I’m going to layout the servers, but I will probably build out the primary node as an all-in-one Openstack controller/File Server/Plex Media Server and run virtual machines on the other three nodes. We’ll have to see how it works out. I’ll have plenty of hardware to play around with.

In any case I’ll be replacing two 2U and one 3U servers that are currently running my infrastructure.

I bought my server from STI. Here is a nice video from STI that discusses features of the C6100.

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