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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    52

    New to colo - need some help

    Hi all

    I am the owner of a small hosting company in Norway. Up until now we have rented servers from various DC's around Europe, but we have decided that we want to move all of our equipment to a local provider who can provide colo.

    The most obvious questions is what kind of gear do we need? We currently have 5 dedicated servers that we plan to set up here. One of the servers is a dedicated backup-server. but I figure we can get rid of this and set up another backup solution. What kind of alternative should we consider here? SAN? NAS? or something else?
    I guess we might also need our own switch, but this might be something the DC might provide? Or is it common that we have to provide one for our gear that is hooked up to their network?
    I am also thinking a multi-port KVM could be handy, even if we will have hands-on access to the servers, but they will be a 15 minute drive away if something goes wrong and I imagine a KVM is a good thing to access before deciding if we need to drive down or not. Is there anything else we should consider?

    And while I am at it; the providers we have been in touch with only seem to be offering racks to set up our equipment in. We had initially thought about building our own servers (at least until we got a better cash flow), but i notice that the rack servers seems to be a bit more expensive than I had thought they would be. Is building your own rack mounted servers something anyone of you have any experience with. Had a look at the pictures of the "Google-servers" that circulated the web a while back, and these looked like something we could build

    Most likely I am forgetting something here, so if you have any advice on what we should think about, it would be highly appreciated.


    Thomas

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Milton Keynes
    Posts
    352
    multi-port KVM over IP switches are expensive, $600+ for 8 or 16 ports depending on the vendor. This will take up 1U of course.

    Alternatives for backups... Amazon S3? It's tried, tested and pretty damn stable.

    As for the 'Google servers' - don't even think about it, doing it barebones like that yourself will cause cooling problems and the colo company may stop you from doing it due to health & safety or fire hazard reasons. The bare minimum acceptable is a standard 1U case with rackmount rails and proper ventilation.

    What spec servers do you currently have? Ask your current hosting provider(s) what they are and find a quote, or spec out similar servers at Dell or any other large server manufacturer. Cheapest entry-level Dell servers start at $500.

    Then add monthly colo power, rental & bandwidth costs on top.

    And remember - if you have hardware failures you have no cushy 4-hour support contracts with the server manufacturer because you have 4 servers instead of 1000+, nor from the budget does it seem it'll be feasible for you to keep many spare components handy.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    NJ, USA
    Posts
    6,409
    Building your own is easy.. no RAID you're looking at 6 different components for a rackmount 1U, and if you go the supermicro route, its only 9 components with RAID (or 10 w/BBU).
    simplywww: directadmin and cpanel hosting that will rock your socks

    Need some work done in a datacenter in the NYC area? NYC Remote Hands can do it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    52
    Thank you for your replies.

    @drspliff
    I have considered Amazon S3, but I would think that being able to do local backups to a SAN or a NAS with some sort of RAID set up would be a preferable option. Especially when it comes to the amount of time it would take to restore a backup compared to restore from Amazon.

    @dougy
    I have had a look online and seen several guides/suggestions on how to build your own rack server. If you have any more information on this or some personal experience, it would be highly appreciated if you could share it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    NJ, USA
    Posts
    6,409
    Quote Originally Posted by thernes View Post
    Thank you for your replies.

    @drspliff
    I have considered Amazon S3, but I would think that being able to do local backups to a SAN or a NAS with some sort of RAID set up would be a preferable option. Especially when it comes to the amount of time it would take to restore a backup compared to restore from Amazon.

    @dougy
    I have had a look online and seen several guides/suggestions on how to build your own rack server. If you have any more information on this or some personal experience, it would be highly appreciated if you could share it.
    Do local backups. You can build 36 drive machines with a 4 port raid card (Adaptec 2405/5405/5405z). Granted, the 4U chassis to do that is over a thousand dollars, but still. Why trust your data to another company? If the backups never touch the internet, you're good to go.

    Building a 1U server is easy..

    Step 1: Unbox chassis
    Step 2: Open chassis
    Step 3: Set bottom of heatsink under the board and set it in the chassis
    Step 4: Screw down board
    Step 5: Insert CPU
    Step 6: Insert top of heatsink
    Step 7: Insert RAM
    Step 8: Insert hard drives
    Step 9: Insert riser (if applicable)
    Step 10: Insert RAID card (if applicable)
    Step 11: Run breakout or SATA cables
    Step 12: Run power and front IO cables

    That's about it.. it's quite simple to do, it's not like you'll end up with the CPU in a RAM slot, these parts can only go in one place
    simplywww: directadmin and cpanel hosting that will rock your socks

    Need some work done in a datacenter in the NYC area? NYC Remote Hands can do it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    52
    hehe...love your instructions I've built perhaps 100's of different desktop systems in my days, but I figured things were a bit different with the rack chassis. When I asked for personal experience, I was thinking about some recommendations for chassis and stuff like that But I think I get your point; It's fairly easy to assemble your own stuff.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    52
    Have to bring this up again as I am wondering what would be a good starting point for a backup solution?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    NJ, USA
    Posts
    6,409
    Quote Originally Posted by thernes View Post
    Have to bring this up again as I am wondering what would be a good starting point for a backup solution?
    I'm not sure I understand. Do you mean what server? Or software?
    simplywww: directadmin and cpanel hosting that will rock your socks

    Need some work done in a datacenter in the NYC area? NYC Remote Hands can do it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    7
    the netgear readynas 3200 or 4200 would be a good starting point for data backups! they're not too costly either! the 4200 can fit 12x 2 TB drives which because netgear use they are raid system you can just remove and add bigger drives as you grow. The readynas 3200 is around 3,000 and the 4200 is around 4,400 depending on the size of the drives! however the Dell SAN's start from around 10,000

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    52
    @Dougy
    I was thinking about what we could use along with the servers so that we could back up all servers, like the 36 drive machine you suggested above, although I would perhaps prefer a simple "out of the box"-solution

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    7
    the netgear readynas is a simple "out of the box" solution : )

    it will auto configure all hard drives for you, the only thing you have to do is run over the basic config which is web based! cant go wrong

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Norway
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    52
    Sounds like a wonderful solution, XONE-James, but my budget is limited to perhaps 1000, as a start. We only have 5 dedicated servers that we need to back up, so this would be a bit of an overkill for us to start with

    T

  13. #13
    Depending on the chassis you are planning to use for the backups you could simply run a RAID array (5 or 6) and use the server as the backup server. Are you saying your budget is 1000 for all 5 servers and the backup server? Back in the day when we needed storage servers for simply things like archive or low use backup we would just buy something off ebay. Cheap and reliable and there are a lot of good sellers there.
    Matt Kelly
    WCiT.net
    Managed and Unmanaged
    Budget VPS, Cloud and Colocation

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    52
    No, the 1000 budget was just for a backup solution.

    Ok, new question; We don't have any "real" DC's where I live, so I need to get my line for internet access. Out of "old habit" i asked for pricing for a 100mbps line and was quoted a $1500 for installing and setting up the line and then $1500 monthly fee :O
    I guess a 100mbps line is a bit overkill for my 5 servers, so where would be a good place to start. I guess perhaps 10 or 20mbps would be more than enough and then I can upgrade when I need more. Do you think 10 or 20 is enough or do I perhaps need even less?
    Last edited by thernes; 10-27-2010 at 05:03 PM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    391
    I'd get a gigE port (if possible) and the smallest commit the provider will offer (usually 10-20%). If you got a FastE, you may find yourself needing to upgrade at a later date, which could cause headaches for your clientele.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    52
    I was told that this was a fiber connection that could be easily upgraded, but that does of course not tell me much. If it is a 1000mbps connection and I just want 10%, that brings me right back to the 100mbps connection I was offered and I think it is kinda expensive. $1500 per month is a lot and you need a whole lot of $10/month customers to cover that cost I'm starting to think we need to grow a bit bigger before we start looking into things like this. The funny thing is that I am loosing a lot of customers since I currently have my servers located in NL/DE and 90% of the e-mails we get @ sales are questions about our services and where our servers are located. When we forget to mention where the servers are, we always hear back. When we tell people they are abroad, they never come back and place an order.

  17. #17
    So are you saying you are going to host these servers in house at your current location and not in a data center?
    Matt Kelly
    WCiT.net
    Managed and Unmanaged
    Budget VPS, Cloud and Colocation

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    52
    Well, no. I guess this place is the closes you can come to a DC where I live. I have actually spent most if this week getting hold of people who knew what I was talking about and knew a place where you gould set up the gearWe can rent rack space or entire racks, they offer UPS and backup power, but it seems we have to get our own access provider. Like I said; I live in a small town in Norway (50.000 people), so the "real" DC's are located in bigger cities. Norway is also a small country, so there is not a lot of competition for these things.
    One alternative is of course to set up my own servers and ship them of to a good DC that offers colocation in Norway, but I really want that advantage of having everything close by, so that we set everything up as we want it. Although I am starting to realize that there seems to be a big gap between what I want and what I can afford

  19. #19
    Seems like you need a simple ethernet drop to satisfy your needs for now. I would suggest finding someone in the colo you can buy bandwidth from, be that an ISP or possibly someone who has a rack there that has capacity. You need a managed service.
    Matt Kelly
    WCiT.net
    Managed and Unmanaged
    Budget VPS, Cloud and Colocation

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    52
    @Everyday

    That is actually a great idea Didn't think of that.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    52
    Hi guys

    Looks like I am going to need a bit more help on this project. I have now gotten some more pricing offers and one that I can actually afford is a dedicated 10Mbit line. Now I have been reading everywhere and people seem to have so many answers to what capacity a line like this offers. I am offering both shared hosting and VPS hosting and the only time I know my users download big files are when they need to download backups and stuff like this. Am I correct when I assume that a user who is downloading a big file from one of my servers will be getting around 1000kbps as downloadspeed through a line like this? Or asked in a different way; What is the capacity of a dedicated, unmetered 10Mbit-line?

    Thomas

  22. #22
    Real world, optimized capacity of a 10 Mbps line is about 8.7 Mbps max, maybe 9 Mbps.
    Matt Kelly
    WCiT.net
    Managed and Unmanaged
    Budget VPS, Cloud and Colocation

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    52
    Yeah, I kinda figured that much, with overhead and all, but would it be sufficient to start with something like this. I am afraid that the users will experience low download speeds.

    Thomas

  24. #24
    It certainly wouldn't help their download speeds. The issue you have to think of is when a lot of them start trying to download at the same time. If I were you I would try to get a burstable 100 or 1000 Mbps uplink with a 10 Mbps commit. That would get you billed at 95th percentile and possibly knock off most of the peaks.
    Matt Kelly
    WCiT.net
    Managed and Unmanaged
    Budget VPS, Cloud and Colocation

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    151
    I build custom storage server that holds 56 disks in 4U with the head-node build-in if anyone is interested.

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