Purchasing Problem

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Servers
hi, I need to buy in 2006 server/s for linux RedHat, and I face a delemma, to buy one server with 12 cpu and 12GB memroy or few servers with 4 or less cpu. Can you tell me please which option is the best and why, and which sever to buy(model of IBM,HP...). thanks, NirMor.
ASKED: May 21, 2005  9:42 AM
UPDATED: May 28, 2005  7:55 PM

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Interesting question – makes me wonder what you plan to do with all that processing power. Which leads me directly to ask you: “What DO you plan to do with all that processing power?”

Right off the bat, I’d say that unless you have an application which is DESIGNED for serious parallel processing, the 12 cpu server would be a waste of money.

My reasoning is that:
1) Servers with more than 4-8 cpu’s are not as common as those with fewer cpu’s (say 2-4) and as such, you’re going to pay more for any given system.

2) Generally, in a production environment, reliability and redundancy go hand in hand, and opting for a simpler configuration.

3) As mentioned above, but to be completely clear, unless you have an application which NEEDS serious parallel processing, you’re going to be better served by having your computing and other serving loads spread out over a number of systems.

If you write back to the group (reply all to your own question) with more details about what you’re planning to do, and why you want a large number of cpu’s, then we as a whole will be in a better position to help you.

Bob

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  • NirMor
    Here more details about my problem: I have amount of money to spend on these server/s. I need to spend the money in the most efficient way, so i get a best result. (one server 12cpu,12GB memoey or few servers with 2 or 4 cpu) I dont necessity need so mach processing power but this is one of the options i have in my purchase. Can you tell me more details of severs and there hardware that can feet me. if you can even models an more. I hope i make me self more clear now, thanks for the big help, NirMor.
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  • Bobkberg
    Based on your reply, I would guess that you are not an IT (Information Technology) professional, but are simply looking to get the most value for the money. That said, you would be able to get more effective usage out of several (more ordinary) servers than one huge one. There are several reasons which I will list - other group members may think of more. 1) Avoiding a single point of failure - one giant server might look impressive, but those beasts are touchy sometimes, and most of us lack the experience to administer them. Similarly, if it goes down, it's going to go down hard, and will be difficult to figure out. Also, finding people with those skills will be more difficult - unless you're willing to pay to train them. 2) It's considered bad practice to put all your eggs in one basket, since some applications have the potential to interfere with each other. One example would be using a pair of small, simple (single CPU) servers as your name servers. The combined reliability of those two separate machines will far exceed that of any single more complex machine. 3) Different applications have different needs. Database servers need fast, reliable disk I/O with built-in hardware redundancy for both the disks themselves (RAID), and their controllers. Name servers need more memory. 4)You've still not specified what applications (direct business applications, and supporting applications) you will be running. If you don't know what applications you need to run, then you're not going to know what type, size, capacity (cpu, memory, disk space/speed, network connections)you're going to need. Again, as an example, would your giant 12 cpu server have enough network capacity to handle whatever you might ask it to do. 5) All you've mentioned is servers - what other components of an effective, reliable data center have you considered or ignored? Here's a partial list - but a good start a) Redundant network routing and switching b) Reliable, clean electrical power c) Clean environment (filtered, cooled air) to keep heat buildup to a minimum, since that will accelerate the aging of all your electronic components, and shorten their life. d) Access-control to keep unauthorized people out e) Firewalls, Intrusion Detection Systems, and Management systems to keep tabs on the state of your various systems. 6) If you have not consulted with the IT people who will held responsible for running this equipment and whatever applications you require, then you are headed for disaster! I've tried to give you a taste of the kinds of decisions that need to be made, and of the facts that need to be considered when making these. With all of that said, discussing brands, models and such without knowing more is a waste of time. I'm guessing by the way you write that you're in a country other than the U.S. (where I am). I mention this to make the point that I personally, stand to gain or lose nothing one way or another. However, having spent the last 20+ years in this business (as have many other members of this group), I've seen numerous problems caused by people who only looked at one part of a given picture and simply assumed that the other parts would take care of themselves. I encourage you to have an honest discussion with your IT people and listen to what they have to say. If by chance you ARE the IT people, I strongly urge you to get some training, you'll have a long road ahead of you. Bob
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  • NirMor
    Thanks angin, Can you recommend me of a new servers technology (hardware and software-AMD Athlon 64, Blades, clusters...) of linux, Also maybe a good sites of servers technology. Who know, maybe I will be IT professional same day, NirMor.
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  • Bobkberg
    In terms of brands of hardware, most major brands are acceptable (Hewlett-Packard/Compaq, IBM, Dell, Gateway, Acer, Mainboard, etc. - although I'd recommend that you stay away from Packard-Bell). Everyone in this group is going to have their favorites or preferences in terms of Operating System (brand, type and configuration), processors, memory, disk drive technology (IDE, SCSI, SATA) and such, but the major brands are generally all going to be workable. But you've still not specified what it is that you plan to do with this equipment - and that is going to drive the decision of what sort of equipment to buy. Having the available dollars to buy something with no clear idea of what you're going to do with it sounds like bad judgement -Possibly like a politically acquired budget with no actual underlying need. If that's the case, that would be a sad waste of money when there are probably better things to spend it on. I'll take one more stab at this - IF you write back describing what it is you hope to use this equipment for, and what objective you hope to meet with it. Otherwise, I'd say that you're living in a well-funded fantasy, and anything you buy will just sit there and get old until it has no resale value. Bob
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