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Server Hardware Recommendation--Hot SWAP case in particular

Posted on 2013-06-11
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I just had a horrible experience ordering a Dell t420 Server. It took 2 weeks to get here and then even before turning it on I noticed that they has nit given me the right parts for remote server install. Then trying to return took from 10AM to 2PM yesterday. Reminded me of how many of my encounters with Dell have been so very unpleasant and so I want to try to build my own server. I used to always do this until I fell out of a tree and broke my back. However I am now so frustrated I want to give this a try again. So (to get to my actual question finally) what tower case can you recommend that has at least 6 hot swap bays? I will be building a server for a small company that runs Great Plains Dynamics with SQL databases but has only 10 users connecting to the database. Then what recommendation would you have for a motherboard and raid controller? These are the most critical parts to me--unless you think I am overlooking something. Thanks.
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Question by:Lionel MM
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Expert Comment

by:epichero22
ID: 39238816
For the tower, I've seen servers built using Antec cases, so the Antec p193 comes to mind:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129176

This case comes with air filters to help prevent dust build-up as well, and the drive bay chasis is removeable, so it should support hot-swapping hard drives.

Regarding the motherboard / RAID card combo, you can look up what specs you need on Newegg, and see what reviews others have left to narrow down your choices.  TBH, a 10-user server isn't going to need that much power:

Server Motherboards:
http://www.newegg.com/Server-Motherboards/SubCategory/ID-302

RAID Cards:
http://www.newegg.com/Controllers-RAID-Cards/SubCategory/ID-410


I'll also say that if you have a bad experience with Dell, then try HP instead.  I only purchase servers from vendors and I get them with a 5-year, same-day service contract.  That way, if a piece of hardware goes bad, they take care of it, not you.  It should free your time up to do other things, and you can still bill the client for time needed to restore any final touches.
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by:Lionel MM
ID: 39239143
First let me thank you for taking the time to respond. But that is not a hot swap case--it would have to opened to get at the drives. A hot swap driver bay allows you to remove the drives, usually from the front of the case, using drop down levers of some sort. I am familiar with search in newegg--don't need help with that but thanks. Looking for real world specific experience with recommendations of motherboard, case and raid controller. Thank you.
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Author Comment

by:Lionel MM
ID: 39239453
Here's a example of a hot swap case--easy enough to find using newegg's search (and most reviews or highest ratings) but would prefer getting a strong recommendation from an EE expert. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811235014
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Expert Comment

by:epichero22
ID: 39239594
Oh OK, no problem.  Sorry I couldn't help, but in case you don't get a whole lot of input here, I would check reviews on Newegg, and perhaps cross-reference them with Amazon as well.  

I still think you should go with a server from HP or Dell if you want to give them a second chance.  I've had good experiences with them and getting through to their tech support.

Good luck.
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LVL 25

Author Comment

by:Lionel MM
ID: 39239948
What HP server? HP also does not allow custom builds--have to go through CDW and pre-sales from them SUCKS! Tried that before going back to Dell. have been using Dell since 1995 and their is NO DOUBT their support has gotten worse and worse.
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Lionel MM earned 0 total points
ID: 39271054
I never got an answer to this--did hours of research on my own and found a few smaller server providers. Eventually just bought the parts and will build one for myself.
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LVL 25

Author Closing Comment

by:Lionel MM
ID: 39286370
No one gave me specific suggestions, at least none I had not tried
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