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A quality rackmount server with at least 4 PCI slots

Posted on 2006-05-09
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I'm looking for a quality rackmount server that has at least 4 PCI slots at a reasonable price.

This server will be used for a telephone system so it is crucial that it is of high quality and reliability.   Not to sound contradictory, but nothing overkill please.   The requirements of the phone application itself is low.  

I need specific hardware models and places to purchase it, no vague answers please.
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Question by:swiftny
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by:giltjr
ID: 16640083
Will this be put in to a controlled enviroment (like a computer room) or a uncontrolled envorment (like a closet)?  

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by:swiftny
ID: 16640112
Uncontrolled, but secure.  Basically a closet in a room that is locked.
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by:giltjr
ID: 16640119
Oh, a little more info please.

What type of PCI slots, 32-bit or 64-bit, PCI or PCI-X, 100 Mhz or 133 Mhz?

Any specific amount of disk storage?

RAM requirments?

Minumum CPU speed and type?

Any special OS support required?

Any USB ports required?  If so, number.

Any LAN ports required?  If so, number and speed.
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by:mav7469
ID: 16640173
The only difference between a server and a PC is the operating system.  If you do not need a great deal of resources, I would just get a good PC that has the requirments you are looking for and load your server software and phone program on it.  
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by:swiftny
ID: 16640204
What type of PCI slots, 32-bit or 64-bit, PCI or PCI-X, 100 Mhz or 133 Mhz?

32 bit I believe, here are the cards interface spec:

 Host Interface
      Bus compatibility       PCI complies with PCI Local Bus Specification, Rev. 2.2.
      Bus speed       33 MHz maximum
      Bus mode       32- to 16-bit conversion in target mode

Any specific amount of disk storage?

Not a ton, perhaps 200 gig in a RAID configuration for redundancy.

RAM requirments?

Just 1 gig.

Minumum CPU speed and type?

Anything above 2 ghz should be okay.

Any special OS support required?

2003 server would need to be supported.

Any USB ports required?  If so, number.

4 or more should be sufficient.

Any LAN ports required?  If so, number and speed.

One Lan card would need to be a card, because the license for the telephone software is attached to the mac address, and I'd like for this to be moved to another machine if necessary in the future.
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tom0mac earned 600 total points
ID: 16641246
The only difference between a server and a PC is the operating system.  If you do not need a great deal of resources, I would just get a good PC that has the requirements you are looking for and load your server software and phone program on it.
???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

I don't agree, you can put server software on a pc, but what makes a server a server is the hardware that runs inside the Tower. To me a server is robust running a RAID of some sort, ECC RAM, a motherboard that has been time tested, ECT....

Just by putting server software on a PC does not make it a server, it makes it a PC with server software on it.

My opinion and I'm entitled to them.

If you are looking for a good SERVER, TigerDirect has one that is a regular tower that converts in to a 5 u rack mount server fully capable of doing everything you described
Xeon 2.8
1gig of ram
300GB hard drive or 400GB for about the same price in a raid 1
Many options to configure
And it comes with a 3 year warranty.
Price UNDER $2000 with no OS

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-Details.asp?EdpNo=1892447&sku=BTO%20989100



This is a BTO (build to order) server you can configure it how ever you want and if you call in they will put what ever software you want on it.

Hope you take this server in to consideration.This is a Systemax mission server they are built with exceptional quality, a product I would recommend to run the most mission critical processes.
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by:mav7469
ID: 16641370
I don't agree, you can put server software on a pc, but what makes a server a server is the hardware that runs inside the Tower. To me a server is robust running a RAID of some sort, ECC RAM, a motherboard that has been time tested, ECT....

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????


   You are correct about the ECC RAM and the RAID.  However, those can be run on a good PC as well.  Including SCSI drives.  The hardware is the same.  The only thing different is the software.  I run Windows 2k3 and Exchange 2k3 with an AD environment at home with nothing more than a P4 3.2 processor PC with 2 200GB hard drives in a Raid 1 setup via the OS and 1 GB RAM.  It works perfect and it cost less than half of your Tiger Direct "Server".  It also has 5 PCI slots and 4 USB2 plus a seperate PCI card with 4 more USB2 slots.  A NIC would be easy to install into another PCI slot.  Sure, with most server you can get Redundant power supplies and redundant RAM, but you have to pay thru the nose for those features.  If you have $20,000, I would definetly recomment HP Prolient server with all the bells and whistles.  It does not sound like that is what you are looking for.
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by:swiftny
ID: 16641646
That intel xeon board seems to only have 2 "regular" pci slots... I would need at least 4.  Unless some of those slots are backwards compatible?

Expansion Slots
PCI Express x16       1
PCI Express x4       1
PCI-X Slots (64-bit 66MHz)       2
PCI Slots       2

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by:giltjr
ID: 16642084
Generally I find most IT people that deal with the infrastructure of medium to large data centers/computer rooms think of servers and PC in hardware terms or function terms not OS terms.

The people that I see that think of OS’s when they talk about PC’s and servers are people that deal with Windows.  That is because Windows is the only OS (that I am aware of) that has a difference between the desktop version and the Server version.  

In the *nix world you don’t have a desktop version and a server version, they run the same software and can do the same functions.  It is the hardware or the function that makes it a server.

That said, as this is your phone system I would assume that you need a real reliable enviroment.  I have nothing against the Tiger Direct route, but I personally would stick with a name brand (Dell, IBM, HP to name a few) server and to have 4 PCI cards you are going to need a 3U or 4U size server.  Get a good maintance/support contract so that if it does have a problem, you can get onsite repair.

Without knowing your price range I am a bit hesitant in recommending an exact server.
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by:swiftny
ID: 16642116
$3000 is my budget if that helps.
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by:giltjr
giltjr earned 300 total points
ID: 16642533
Well forget the name brand, they start at $6K and go up (at least those that have 4 PCI slots).  In fact you may be hard pressed to get any real rack mount server for that.  

I would go for a standalone small tower and lay it on its side on a shelf within the rack with that buget.
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by:swiftny
ID: 16642554
How about those other PCI slots... are PCI-X or PCI Express backwards compatible?
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by:mav7469
mav7469 earned 300 total points
ID: 16644000
How about this one??

http://www.pcconnection.com/ProductDetail?Sku=6745695

You get 2 PCI slots with an additional 2 with an add on card.  8 USB2 ports.  1 GB RAM with a Max of 4GB and a 160GB serial drive.  All you have to do is get a second serial drive of 160 or better for a Raid 1.  You could even get two additional 160GB drives and form a Raid 5 Array with the OS.  3 Year warranty and it is a brand name (HP/Compaq)

Mav
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by:carl_legere
carl_legere earned 300 total points
ID: 16644266
re: about those other PCI slots... are PCI-X or PCI Express backwards compatible?

for sure not.

you want a board that is PRE  PCIE PCIX
if you see "AGP" slot then you are good to go, the rest will be PCI 32

PCI 64 ARE backward compatible with PCI 32
PCI 32 ARE forward physically compatible with PCI 64, missing the performace with most devices, YMMV

VERY IMPORTANT- DO NOT PURCHASE SMALLER THAN 4U.  (smaller than 4U will require some of your cards to be half hight or not really be compatible with your desire for 4 pci cards, the header card that flips them from vertical to horizontal usually will not offer 4 PCI slots)

examples:
http://www.hypermicro.com/product.asp?pf_id=BSIN120  uses scsi drives
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