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  1. #1
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    rack server builders? best one?

    I'm looking for a cheaper alternative to Dell's poweredge rackmount servers.

    Which other server provide do you recommend for reasonable quality and better pricing then Dell?

    How many servers have you bought from them and how many hardware parts failed out of these?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I recommend RackLogic. We have bought a bunch of systems with them over the past year ( ~15 systems) and all have been great. No hardware failures yet. We did have one small issue with 1 of the 2 ethernet ports on a supermicro server motherboard not working right, but we had that replaced.
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  3. #3
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    racklogic.com?

    There site is shot, no info. Nothing.

  4. #4
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    yes that is the website. contact them via email or phone for whatever server you are looking for.
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  5. #5
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    Interpro Microsystems - interpromicro.com ask for Andy they are a Super Micro shop (and I consider super micro superior in their chassis, power supply and motherboards to all other enterprise server providers).
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calibaba View Post
    I'm looking for a cheaper alternative to Dell's poweredge rackmount servers.

    Which other server provide do you recommend for reasonable quality and better pricing then Dell?

    How many servers have you bought from them and how many hardware parts failed out of these?

    Thanks.

    I've always been a proponent of sticking with name brands, the quality is just far superior due to the available engineering resources. However, you might check out pogolinux.com. I've been working with Paul Bibaud @ pogo, and his pricing is nothing short of phenomenal. Paul's contact information is [email protected], 206-753-2249 and I can't recommend him enough.

  7. #7
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    You should probably ask this in the colo forum to get more input.

    We have used apaqdigital.com for our supermicro servers. The owner is active on these boards. I have been involved in the purchase of over 20 servers from them and the prices are always good and the shipping fast. If I recall we had one server in with a flaky controller but he sent us a replacement quickly.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkc View Post
    You should probably ask this in the colo forum to get more input.

    We have used apaqdigital.com for our supermicro servers. The owner is active on these boards. I have been involved in the purchase of over 20 servers from them and the prices are always good and the shipping fast. If I recall we had one server in with a flaky controller but he sent us a replacement quickly.
    another recommendation for apaqdigital.com

  9. #9
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    Recently we were ordering all of our hardware from 8anet, but after issues with delivery times and simply bad communication, we decided to go with someone locally.

    After our move from alphared to steadfast, Karl put us in contact with a local company, amadisystems.com. Their prices were a heck of a lot better than what 8anet gave us and I liked the fact it was local so all work we've needed, he simply went to the DC to check up for us. Setup time was very good, 3 days from order -> in rack, quite good considering half of the parts were supermicro.

    We've since then ordered another 2 boxes with him, all have gone well.

    :-)

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    Andy at Interpro is top notch to deal with.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluelion View Post
    I consider super micro superior in their chassis, power supply and motherboards to all other enterprise server providers
    I'll second the recommendation for Supermicro servers. They put a lot of thought into the engineering of their solutions. A good Supermicro chassis stays cooler, using less power for fans, when compared to a Dell.
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  12. #12
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    I couldn't be happier with my SuperMicro machines from http://www.apaqdigital.com/. Chong is the best. Great service, reliable hardware and reasonable prices.
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  13. #13
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    Supermicro boxen from ApaqDigital.com - no failures in any machines over 4 or 5 years of doing business. Quick, prompt service and super fast shipping on spare parts. Highly recommended!

  14. #14
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    I checked apaqdigital and they have this motherboard

    Foxconn 946GZ7MA socket 775 desktop board

    Is Foxconn any good? the supermicro mb models are a heap more expensive.

  15. #15
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    In my mind nobody can beat the prices, and quality support that Rob and Don give at Rack Mount Specialists (http://rackmountspecialists.com/)

    I have been using them exclusively for a few years now.
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  16. #16
    I really think you should go with Dell especially for colocation. Every server comes with 3-year on site support. If something happens to your server they will go right over to the DC and fix it.

    In addition, right now you will likely get a price better than a Supermicro given the specials Dell is offering. Free processors, free RAID card, $850 off $2800... etc etc. If you're purchasing a bunch of servers you can get a business account with them and receive even better discounts. I really have to say I've had great experiences with Dell.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by sly596 View Post
    I really think you should go with Dell especially for colocation. Every server comes with 3-year on site support. If something happens to your server they will go right over to the DC and fix it.

    In addition, right now you will likely get a price better than a Supermicro given the specials Dell is offering. Free processors, free RAID card, $850 off $2800... etc etc. If you're purchasing a bunch of servers you can get a business account with them and receive even better discounts. I really have to say I've had great experiences with Dell.
    I can't find pricing on anything even close to what I can get from Amadi Systems (Yes, I know they don't have a site up yet, but they're great to deal with, just contact [email protected]) and with the Supermicro boxes you can get more drives in the same space, they use less power, etc. as well. I'd rather pay the local colo shop, or stop in myself, to replace bad RAM or a hard drive if something were to happen then pay Dell an extra several hundred to do it. Your colocation facility would also likely be much faster to respond than Dell, especially with Dell's standard 10/5 next business day offering.
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  18. #18
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    apaqdigital.com for fast east coast deliveries

    rackmountspecialists.com or go-pcn.com for fast west coast deliveries.
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  19. Quote Originally Posted by Calibaba View Post
    I checked apaqdigital and they have this motherboard

    Foxconn 946GZ7MA socket 775 desktop board

    Is Foxconn any good? the supermicro mb models are a heap more expensive.
    for budget server builds, we have extensive experience with foxconn boards in last 12 months, and found that they are extremely reliable. 0 return for the few hundreds we have installed thus far. in fact, we have seen more failed supermicro/tyan boards than desktop boards from foxconn/asus/gigabyte/intel.

  20. #20
    Amadi Systems can beat this?!:

    Dual Quad Core E5420 Xeon's 2.5 GHz 1333FSB 2x6MB Cache
    8GB 4x2GB RAM w/ room for 4 more chips
    3 146GB 15k RPM Raid-5 w/ room for 3 more drives

    This can be had for $2900 at Dell w/ 3 years on site support. I find it hard to beat. Can it be beaten?! Say it isn't so?

  21. #21
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    Dell has gotten quite aggressive with their 1950 (1u) and 2950 (2u) pricing recently. This is of course if you want a server class motherboard, ECC ram, decent raid controller, the three year NBD warm and fuzzy support, and excellent Linux/Unix support.

    I have no problem building your own but if you are looking for a server class machine make sure to stick with server class hardware and ECC ram. Asus, Supermicro, and Tyan boards are going to be more reliable 99% of the time. Using anything less than ECC ram is a big no no.

  22. #22
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    The Dell servers I have worked on had pretty dysfunctional RAID controllers. Once I had a bad drive but the controller did not realize it. When trying to manually break the mirror or remove the drive, it refused to do any operations on the array (even after unmounting in the OS) until I reboot.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by sly596 View Post
    Amadi Systems can beat this?!:

    Dual Quad Core E5420 Xeon's 2.5 GHz 1333FSB 2x6MB Cache
    8GB 4x2GB RAM w/ room for 4 more chips
    3 146GB 15k RPM Raid-5 w/ room for 3 more drives

    This can be had for $2900 at Dell w/ 3 years on site support. I find it hard to beat. Can it be beaten?! Say it isn't so?
    Evening:

    Try sending out a few feelers to the suppliers recommended here and see what they offer you. You never know until you ask.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by bqinternet View Post
    I'll second the recommendation for Supermicro servers. They put a lot of thought into the engineering of their solutions. A good Supermicro chassis stays cooler, using less power for fans, when compared to a Dell.
    Comparing with Dell is like comparing a $500 hooker against hooking up with your 50 year old aunt selma. Of course it's going to be better.

    Supermicro makes good commodity servers, but they're just that, a commodity, whitebox manufacturer. Compared to something from HP, Sun, or IBM they're weak, especially on the on-board diagnostics, and management side.

    For dedicated servers where you don't need much (any) sophistication, sure Supermicro is fine, but for more intensive applications, give the big 3 a chance, they'll surprise you. Looking inside some Sun servers is like peering into a work of art. I'm especially fond of Sun's latest round of LOMs, which have embedded Linux in them.. It's lightyears ahead of Supermicro's IPMI implementation.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhalligan View Post
    more intensive applications, give the big 3 a chance, they'll surprise you.
    So the big 3 will run my applications better and give better uptime/reliability, ect? Qualify that one...=)
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  26. #26
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    ApaqDigital.

    I own tons of them and see 100s of his servers everyday. I own some Dells and HPs. Neither is as good as the servers that apaq builds. I can afford to buy pretty much any server I want. For all our own use servers we only use apaq.

    I've never worked with any vendor who has the integrity, knowledge and quality of work that apaq has.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastServ View Post
    So the big 3 will run my applications better and give better uptime/reliability, ect? Qualify that one...=)
    The overall experience will be far greater, with a great TCO. I've got 2 hour support on a couple of my storage servers, and the one problem I had with them, I had a tech out with a replacement power supply an hour and a half later.

    Beyond that, all of the larger manufacturers have been investing hundreds of millions of dollars into power efficiency over the past few years. I just can't fathom the idea of running mission critical servers with cheap boxes whose components were more determined by current market pricing conditions than by the r&d from a good engineering department.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by sly596 View Post
    Amadi Systems can beat this?!:

    Dual Quad Core E5420 Xeon's 2.5 GHz 1333FSB 2x6MB Cache
    8GB 4x2GB RAM w/ room for 4 more chips
    3 146GB 15k RPM Raid-5 w/ room for 3 more drives

    This can be had for $2900 at Dell w/ 3 years on site support. I find it hard to beat. Can it be beaten?! Say it isn't so?
    From the recent quotes I've gotten, it would be roughly the same price, and there are no specials and/or one-time pricing with that. If I ordered the same box in a month the price wouldn't be significantly higher because the special ran out.

    Also, where did you get that price? I price that out on Dell's site now and it is $4300 to get that system, with rails. There is no free or discounted processor upgrades on the 5400 series, just 5300 series processors from what I can tell.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhalligan View Post
    The overall experience will be far greater, with a great TCO. I've got 2 hour support on a couple of my storage servers, and the one problem I had with them, I had a tech out with a replacement power supply an hour and a half later.
    1.5 hours is great...but 1.5 hours is alot of downtime. Hardware is cheap, hardware fails...doesn't matter the make and brand. Manytimes with Dell, you really don't know who actually manufactured the motherboard.

    A hot standby or on-site spare parts, ready to take over beats a Dell "gold" support plan anyday, both in cost and downtime. Basing a business plan on a "Gold" support plan will eventually lead to desaster when they have to ship your part or otherwise exceed the 4 hour SLA.

    To add further, we've seen lower failure rates on SM hardware than Dell.
    Last edited by FastServ; 01-04-2008 at 03:36 PM.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhalligan View Post
    Comparing with Dell is like comparing a $500 hooker against hooking up with your 50 year old aunt selma. Of course it's going to be better.

    Supermicro makes good commodity servers, but they're just that, a commodity, whitebox manufacturer. Compared to something from HP, Sun, or IBM they're weak, especially on the on-board diagnostics, and management side.

    For dedicated servers where you don't need much (any) sophistication, sure Supermicro is fine, but for more intensive applications, give the big 3 a chance, they'll surprise you. Looking inside some Sun servers is like peering into a work of art. I'm especially fond of Sun's latest round of LOMs, which have embedded Linux in them.. It's lightyears ahead of Supermicro's IPMI implementation.
    I agree, Sun is better, but from what I can tell, the cost is significantly more as well (A dual dual-core Opteron on Sun's site is more than twice what I pay currently for a system with the same specs), but I do not see how Dell is clearly better than Supermicro, as you say.

    What does Dell offer that Supermicro doesn't? Supermicro's IPMI offers the same functionality as Dell's DRAC cards. Then the Supermicro systems give you much greater flexibility, higher power efficiency, and equivalent, if not higher, reliability.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastServ View Post
    1.5 hours is great...but 1.5 hours is alot of downtime. Hardware is cheap, hardware fails...doesn't matter the make and brand. Manytimes with Dell, you really don't know who actually manufactured the motherboard.

    A hot standby or on-site spare parts, ready to take over beats a Dell "gold" support plan anyday, both in cost and downtime. Basing a business plan on a "Gold" support plan will eventually lead to desaster when they have to ship your part or otherwise exceed the 4 hour SLA.

    To add further, we've seen lower failure rates on SM hardware than Dell.
    A bit of clarification here, I consider Dell to always be the worst server option available. I'd gladly take a whitebox over Dell any day if those were the only two options. Luckily they're not, I only buy from HP, Sun, or IBM, and to be honest I haven't considered IBM seriously for 5-6 years.

    Dell's manufacturing process is one huge snafu, and I know a few engineers at Dell who wouldn't even consider running Dell for their own projects. The only thing I like Dell for are cheap LCD panels and their rackmount KVMs.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastServ View Post
    A hot standby or on-site spare parts, ready to take over beats a Dell "gold" support plan anyday, both in cost and downtime. Basing a business plan on a "Gold" support plan will eventually lead to desaster when they have to ship your part or otherwise exceed the 4 hour SLA.

    To add further, we've seen lower failure rates on SM hardware than Dell.
    I agree, for us, a 4 hour SLA is simply not acceptable. For the $1000+ per server for the Gold Support, you could easily stock spare parts and pay the tech the $100 to repair the issue and have it completely done in an hour or two.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhalligan View Post
    A bit of clarification here, I consider Dell to always be the worst server option available. I'd gladly take a whitebox over Dell any day if those were the only two options. Luckily they're not, I only buy from HP, Sun, or IBM, and to be honest I haven't considered IBM seriously for 5-6 years.

    Dell's manufacturing process is one huge snafu, and I know a few engineers at Dell who wouldn't even consider running Dell for their own projects. The only thing I like Dell for are cheap LCD panels and their rackmount KVMs.
    Ummm, then explain why you said, "Comparing with Dell is like comparing a $500 hooker against hooking up with your 50 year old aunt selma. Of course it's going to be better." when comparing Dell to Supermicro? I'm sure you can see why we're confused...
    Karl Zimmerman - Steadfast: Managed Dedicated Servers and Premium Colocation
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhalligan View Post
    Beyond that, all of the larger manufacturers have been investing hundreds of millions of dollars into power efficiency over the past few years. I just can't fathom the idea of running mission critical servers with cheap boxes whose components were more determined by current market pricing conditions than by the r&d from a good engineering department.
    So you're not familiar with Supermicro then? The power efficiency of the Supermicro systems we get exceeds the power efficiency of any Dell systems we have received. The biggest difference was with the 2.8Ghx Xeon Noconas we got from Dell, they used 2A easy, while the 3.0Ghz Xeon Noconas, Supermicro based, used 1.6A max when configured with the same specs.

    You're saying Supermicro boards are not well engineered and are less power efficient. Could you please back that up?
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  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by KarlZimmer View Post
    From the recent quotes I've gotten, it would be roughly the same price, and there are no specials and/or one-time pricing with that. If I ordered the same box in a month the price wouldn't be significantly higher because the special ran out.

    Also, where did you get that price? I price that out on Dell's site now and it is $4300 to get that system, with rails. There is no free or discounted processor upgrades on the 5400 series, just 5300 series processors from what I can tell.
    Make sure you're on the Small Business Site. The PE2950 you won't see the $1400 discount until you add it to your cart. Believe me the prices are phenomenal at Dell ATM. I just purchased a 2950. I think Dell has a new initiative on the 1 and 2U servers. They will probably remain competitive for a while.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by sly596 View Post
    Make sure you're on the Small Business Site. The PE2950 you won't see the $1400 discount until you add it to your cart. Believe me the prices are phenomenal at Dell ATM. I just purchased a 2950. I think Dell has a new initiative on the 1 and 2U servers. They will probably remain competitive for a while.
    OK, yep, can get it right around $2950 from what I can tell. Looks like a good deal, though the special is only on servers priced $4300+, so take out one of those SAS drives and it goes up to $3250. It is definitely a good deal now, but as I said, if you buy servers regularly, you can't be counting on getting that deal every time.

    We had purchased a bunch of Dells once, since the price was too good to pass up, free 2nd CPU, free RAM upgrade, etc. it made the price lower than we were paying for Supermicros, but that was about the biggest mistake I've ever made purchasing server hardware. Within a year and a half 20% of the drives failed, the systems used 25-35% more power than the Supermicro systems, they couldn't fit as many hard drives, they couldn't use 3rd party RAID cards (as far as I could tell with the way the backplane was setup), you could only use single rank RAM in half the RAM slots, the systems would only boot with one specific speed of RAM (when the Supermicro systems run fine if they want say DDR2 533 and you put in DDR2 667), etc...
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by KarlZimmer View Post
    Ummm, then explain why you said, "Comparing with Dell is like comparing a $500 hooker against hooking up with your 50 year old aunt selma. Of course it's going to be better." when comparing Dell to Supermicro? I'm sure you can see why we're confused...
    Forgive me for not being clear in my analogy. I'm recovering from a bout of food poisoning and it probably didn't make much sense. In my analogy, Dell is your 50 year old aunt selma, and any other possible server option is the $500 hooker :R)

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by mhalligan View Post
    Forgive me for not being clear in my analogy. I'm recovering from a bout of food poisoning and it probably didn't make much sense. In my analogy, Dell is your 50 year old aunt selma, and any other possible server option is the $500 hooker :R)
    I strongly disagree with this statement. That Xeon 54xx chip is running at the same speed whether it's in the Dell or any other manfacturer's system. Come on now! Why such a hate towards Dell?

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by KarlZimmer View Post
    OK, yep, can get it right around $2950 from what I can tell. Looks like a good deal, though the special is only on servers priced $4300+, so take out one of those SAS drives and it goes up to $3250. It is definitely a good deal now, but as I said, if you buy servers regularly, you can't be counting on getting that deal every time.

    We had purchased a bunch of Dells once, since the price was too good to pass up, free 2nd CPU, free RAM upgrade, etc. it made the price lower than we were paying for Supermicros, but that was about the biggest mistake I've ever made purchasing server hardware. Within a year and a half 20% of the drives failed, the systems used 25-35% more power than the Supermicro systems, they couldn't fit as many hard drives, they couldn't use 3rd party RAID cards (as far as I could tell with the way the backplane was setup), you could only use single rank RAM in half the RAM slots, the systems would only boot with one specific speed of RAM (when the Supermicro systems run fine if they want say DDR2 533 and you put in DDR2 667), etc...
    Karl,

    If you are purchasing servers constantly, you can get a business account with Dell, and they will even beat this price all day everyday. This system I just bought they took an additional $200 off the sale price, and threw in free next day shipping!

    As I said before, if you establish a relationship with Dell, you will be hard pressed to find better support and deals.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by sly596 View Post
    Karl,

    If you are purchasing servers constantly, you can get a business account with Dell, and they will even beat this price all day everyday. This system I just bought they took an additional $200 off the sale price, and threw in free next day shipping!

    As I said before, if you establish a relationship with Dell, you will be hard pressed to find better support and deals.
    I would need to disagree with you there as well. I had a business account with them, etc. and dealing with Dell was the absolutely worst sales experience I have ever had while purchasing servers. That was using Dell leasing as well, but that was so terrible we used a 3rd party leasing company, which still caused confusion at Dell... They were also requiring full pre-funding, which is simply not possible with most leasing companies.
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