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  1. #1

    Arrow Building a 1U server and colocating it...

    I've been reading some articles on the web on how to build a 1U server. I have put together several RedHat Linux servers with Plesk, Ensim, etc, with a spare mid-tower and various parts for testing purposes. I'm pretty confident in doing that. But there are still a few things that I don't understand about 1U servers or servers in general. For example:

    * What are the advantages of 2 Ethernet ports over 1?

    * A 1U is very small. I want to add my own IDE drive(s). Are there special drives for these 1U servers or are they standard 3.5" drives? The reason I ask is because 7200 RPM drives give off a lot of heat and I'm a little worried about cooling and potential drive failure.

    * Is a Floppy drive even neccessary? I can boot to a CD-ROM and don't use floppies.

    * Colocation: If were to send my server to a colocation facility, wouldn't they need to access it to enter the new IP address information? I would have Plesk installed... Does this mean that they would need to access my control panel and enter the new IP address information? Do they need root access?

    Any and all help is appreciated!

    --Steve

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Posts
    102

    Re: Building a 1U server and colocating it...

    Originally posted by steve93138
    I've been reading some articles on the web on how to build a 1U server. I have put together several RedHat Linux servers with Plesk, Ensim, etc, with a spare mid-tower and various parts for testing purposes. I'm pretty confident in doing that. But there are still a few things that I don't understand about 1U servers or servers in general. For example:

    * What are the advantages of 2 Ethernet ports over 1?
    Depends on what you're doing. You could load-balance over two ethernet ports if you wanted, or you could have a secondary port in case the first one dies, or if you had multiple boxes that needed to exchange lots of data with each other you could use the second ethernet port to network the boxes together and keep internet traffic on the first port -- pretty much anything you can come up with. If you're only going to need one port, there's not much advantage to having a second one, but it won't hurt either.


    * A 1U is very small. I want to add my own IDE drive(s). Are there special drives for these 1U servers or are they standard 3.5" drives? The reason I ask is because 7200 RPM drives give off a lot of heat and I'm a little worried about cooling and potential drive failure.


    In general they're just regular 3.5" drives. Heat is always a problem in high-density rackmount servers because of how closely the individual servers' components are packed to fit into minimal space and because of how closely the servers are packed together in the rack. People put 10k and 15k RPM SCSI drives in 1U rackmounts, though, many of them without any problems. Just make sure there's adequate airflow inside the case -- don't leave cables and wires in big bunches but rather tie them up and get them out of the way, make sure to keep vent openings unobstructed, get a chassis with as many fans as possible, etc.


    * Is a Floppy drive even neccessary? I can boot to a CD-ROM and don't use floppies.


    Necessary? Nope. But will it hurt? Unless you need the space for something else or it significantly restricts the airflow, probably not.


    * Colocation: If were to send my server to a colocation facility, wouldn't they need to access it to enter the new IP address information? I would have Plesk installed... Does this mean that they would need to access my control panel and enter the new IP address information? Do they need root access?


    In general you configure the server yourself before you ship it out. But yeah, if you want them to do configuration for you, they'll need root access. Keep in mind that lots of datacenters won't touch colo boxes unless you're paying their remote hands fee.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    1,953
    amaroq stated it very well, I thought I would add a few comments of my own.

    Find out how much more it would be to colocate a 2 u server(s). A lot of people do it fine, but it might not be 2 much more, and it might work out better. I would put a floppy in. Mainly because, you never know. What if for some reason you crashed and needed a floppy to boot? Im sure there are ways around it, but its the easiest.

    As for the second nic card, the only real advantage I see from it, is if you decide to use a backup server(I dont think you will be putting a tape drive in a 1u server). Having a second nic conncting to the backup server is generally how people do it. So if thats your plan, or if you plan on doing it later, go ahead and add it. As for load balencing, its not a huge deal, unless you plan on having that server do ALOT of transfering, you really wont notice a difference. I mean doing like 2 mbits isent a problem at all for a nic.
    Chicago Electronic Cigarettes: Tobacco Free, Smoke Free. 3 E-Cig Models, 11 flavors, and accessories.
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  4. #4
    Thanks for the help folks.

    I guess I should have been a little more clear regarding setting up my server for colocation. The problem is that when I install RedHat Linux it will ask me for information for eth0, namely:

    IP
    Mask
    Network
    Broadcast
    Hostname
    Gateway
    Primary DNS
    Secondary DNS
    Ternary DNS

    All of these items, except for Hostname, would have to be set up according to what the colo requires, right?

    So then, wouldn't they need to initially configure my server to work on thier network? It's not like I can have remote access if this information is not correct, correct?
    Last edited by steve93138; 07-31-2002 at 11:50 AM.

  5. #5
    oh, and it's always nice to provide the root/administrator password
    [They will need this info to setup networking and allocate IPs]

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    71
    Unless you have special needs your most likely better off renting a dedicated server from one of the fellows here. Colocation seems to "generally" be more expensive. Include the price of hardware and your time and renting a dedicated server looks a lot more attractive.

    Good luck.

  7. #7

    my $.02

    I faced the very same questions several months ago, and I DID build my own 1U and sent it out to a colo - and it was one of the best things I could have done. Here's some of the reasons why:

    I was able to pick the chassis solution I wanted that provided the quality 1U case, power supply, and motherboard (I used Supermicro). The construction, fit and finish, and heat management are superb.

    I was able to pick my CPU - I went Pentium 4 because of low heat generation in that performance class. Poke around these forums and see how many providers with dedicated servers have hardware / memory problems (lots with Athlons, not to get into any arguments with anybody, but that's the facts!)

    I was able to pick my memory (I like Micron ECC)

    I was able to pick my brand / size of hard drives (I like IBM)

    I did the install of the OS and the control panel (Red Hat 7.2 / Plesk) and made sure it was done right. I did it a couple of times, learning from my mistakes, until I had it done right. Now, I have intimate knowledge of everything on that server so if anything goes wrong, I know how to fix it. I've recently spent quite a bit of time helping hosting providers solve problems arising from how a colo or dedicated host built a server - and not to knock what they do, but do it yourself!

    You do have to configure it so that it will work on their network, but if you've built it, you can do that from the console before you send it out. Better yet, configure a PC or inexpensive Linksys router to look like the colo's gateway and really test it.

    My server was plugged in at the colo, turned on (by itself when they plugged it into the AC supply), and hasn't rebooted since (6 weeks ago). It runs like a Swiss watch.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Posts
    102
    Originally posted by steve93138
    Thanks for the help folks.

    I guess I should have been a little more clear regarding setting up my server for colocation. The problem is that when I install RedHat Linux it will ask me for information for eth0, namely:

    IP
    Mask
    Network
    Broadcast
    Hostname
    Gateway
    Primary DNS
    Secondary DNS
    Ternary DNS

    All of these items, except for Hostname, would have to be set up according to what the colo requires, right?
    Yep.


    So then, wouldn't they need to initially configure my server to work on thier network? It's not like I can have remote access if this information is not correct, correct?


    Generally when you sign up they'll provide you with all of this info, and you configure your box properly before you send it out.

  9. #9

    Re: my $.02

    Originally posted by jimroe
    I faced the very same questions several months ago, and I DID build my own 1U and sent it out to a colo - and it was one of the best things I could have done. Here's some of the reasons why:

    I was able to pick the chassis solution I wanted that provided the quality 1U case, power supply, and motherboard (I used Supermicro). The construction, fit and finish, and heat management are superb.

    I was able to pick my CPU - I went Pentium 4 because of low heat generation in that performance class. Poke around these forums and see how many providers with dedicated servers have hardware / memory problems (lots with Athlons, not to get into any arguments with anybody, but that's the facts!)

    I was able to pick my memory (I like Micron ECC)

    I was able to pick my brand / size of hard drives (I like IBM)

    I did the install of the OS and the control panel (Red Hat 7.2 / Plesk) and made sure it was done right. I did it a couple of times, learning from my mistakes, until I had it done right. Now, I have intimate knowledge of everything on that server so if anything goes wrong, I know how to fix it. I've recently spent quite a bit of time helping hosting providers solve problems arising from how a colo or dedicated host built a server - and not to knock what they do, but do it yourself!

    You do have to configure it so that it will work on their network, but if you've built it, you can do that from the console before you send it out. Better yet, configure a PC or inexpensive Linksys router to look like the colo's gateway and really test it.

    My server was plugged in at the colo, turned on (by itself when they plugged it into the AC supply), and hasn't rebooted since (6 weeks ago). It runs like a Swiss watch.
    You seem to be thinking about this exactly the same way I do! Here's some of my reasons for wanting to colocate:

    * It would be easier to restore your server if you know your system inside and out. Especially if you've gone through some test procedures on finding the best way to get your server back online. I personally am planning on writing down the exact procedures, step by step, on how to get my server back up as quickly as possible should the need arise.

    * I agree that AMD processors run hotter. I am planning on a Pentium for my 1U server. But for a home gaming PC, I choose AMD.

    * Picking the parts for your server is important so that you can build your server to meet your needs. And the best part is, you don't pay a costly premium every month for an extra hard-drive, or more memory, or brand of processor. This is yet another reason for me wanting to colocate.

    * If you are lucky enough to find a decent local colo, you could have physical access to your server 24x7x365. The time driving to the colo alone could offset the time waiting for a tech to respond at ABC Dedicated Hosting Company and restore your server to a working state.

    Like you, I'm not saying going dedicated is bad. But choosing the wrong type of dedicated server as well as the wrong dedicated hosting company can be a disaster. At least with colo, you're in control.
    Originally posted by jimroe
    You do have to configure it so that it will work on their network, but if you've built it, you can do that from the console before you send it out. Better yet, configure a PC or inexpensive Linksys router to look like the colo's gateway and really test it.
    I actually have a Linksys router and a few spare PC's. Any idea's on how I can accomplish this? I thought Linksys routers only worked with 192.168.1.1 as the gateway and 255.255.255.0 as the subnet, etc...

    Thanks,
    --Steve (The Control Freak)
    Last edited by steve93138; 07-31-2002 at 06:10 PM.

  10. #10

    Re: Re: my $.02

    .
    Last edited by steve93138; 07-31-2002 at 08:00 PM.

  11. #11

    Linksys

    What I did was to leave the LAN interface on the same 192.168.x.y IP space I use for my internal LAN, and configured the WAN interface for xxx.yyy.zzz.1 / 255.255.255.0 which was the IP given me by my colo center as the IP of their gateway. You can set any IP you want on the WAN interface on the Linksys router I have, which is just the basic DSL router.

    I connected the server to the WAN interface with a crossover cable, and the LAN interface to my network, and set my gateway address on my PC to the IP of the Linksys LAN interface.

    So, when I configured the server to run the assigned IP and use the .1 address of that block as a gateway, it saw the Linksys router, which routed back to my LAN. To the server, everything looked just like it would at the colo.

  12. #12

    Thumbs up Re: Linksys

    Originally posted by jimroe
    What I did was to leave the LAN interface on the same 192.168.x.y IP space I use for my internal LAN, and configured the WAN interface for xxx.yyy.zzz.1 / 255.255.255.0 which was the IP given me by my colo center as the IP of their gateway. You can set any IP you want on the WAN interface on the Linksys router I have, which is just the basic DSL router.

    I connected the server to the WAN interface with a crossover cable, and the LAN interface to my network, and set my gateway address on my PC to the IP of the Linksys LAN interface.

    So, when I configured the server to run the assigned IP and use the .1 address of that block as a gateway, it saw the Linksys router, which routed back to my LAN. To the server, everything looked just like it would at the colo.
    Hey, thanks for the info! I guess it's more complicated than I thought but simple when someone tells you how to do it. Can't wait to try this it out...

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