I just registered, though I have been lurking around this forum for awhile now. As it stands right now, I am in the market to upgrade from my current deployed setup to something a little more advanced.
I currently have a colocated server in Texas with a HP Prolaint DL360 G5, Dual Xeon E5405's, 16 GB of RAM (8 x 2 GB), and six 320 GB SATA II Western Digital drives on the P400 Smart Array (RAID 1 for boot, RAID 10 for the other 4 drives) running ESXi 5.5 with an vSphere Essentials license. I am on a 1 Gb line with 4 TB of bandwidth a month.
At this time, I am running a slightly complex setup for Wordpress, SMF forums, some custom PHP and python software for a gaming support site, MySQL, Atlassian JIRA and Stash, VoIP services (Teamspeak and Mumble), XMPP, and a couple VM's for game server instances such as Minecraft and Civilization V pitboss. The web services are handled though 2 VM's running as load balancers with nginx and 3 backend nginx VM's serving dynamic content with an NFS VM.
This current setup though is currently running on minimized memory and I am running into a situation where I am maxing out the memory almost all the time. I recently migrated from CentOS 5.9 to ESXi due to the memory issues and I have reduced the memory footprint by 4 GBytes.
At this time, I am also looking for something that can be both expanded and easier to maintain. At this time, I am looking at the Dell PowerEdge C6100, though I have checked into SuperMicro's FatTwin systems, and Tyan's Micro Servers.
My current average footprint at peak times is currently around 19 GB with 700 MB in shared memory with an average of 7000 MHz utilized, along with around 20 MByte/s disk read usage (Haven't analyzed the IOPS from the logs). The web users do spike around 5000, but don't substain. We do, however, get an average of 5 requests per second.
We pay only by donations to offset the colocation costs. I'm looking to utilize any additional servers and resources for web hosting / dedicated hosting (possibly leasing / renting unused nodes).
Long story short, I have been researching and looking for several months and with all the information, I would like community advice and suggestions into this situation.
The C6100 server is nice. However you should note the following,
They can use up to 4 amps of power. You want to stay away from the DCS models. Most machines on ebay do not have RAID out of the box.
I highly recommend the following series of the C6100 xs23-ty3.
I run quite a few of the C6100 XS23-ty3's and quite a few of the DCS6005's with the amd 6 core chips and 144gb of ram in the chassis. (note on the amd 6 core machines there are only 3 nodes per chassis).
Outside of upgrading your server you may want to evaluate running your linux vms as openvz vs vmware. The reason is that openvz is container based virtualization which is significantly less footprint in both ram and cpu as it is not a fully virtualized instance. In a vmware context you're fully virtualized emulating the total machine and running multiple kernels etc. Now, that can be somewhat of a challenge to convert over.
One thing I would also suggest you take a look at from a virtualization standpoint is Proxmox it's almost like opensource vmware. It uses both KVM and OpenVZ virtualization so you can still do full virtualization like vmware does for windows or linux installs that need full virtualization and use the openvz container virtualization for linux instances that don't need a full virtualization instance.
As littledc-ops mentioned c6100 is a good box for the value plus there are some good deals on those right now as there is a lot of them in circulation. But that power draw can be quite the issue if your doing per the u colo with set amperage.
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