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  #1  
Old 10-25-2010, 07:26 AM
thernes thernes is offline
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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



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  #2  
Old 10-25-2010, 08:05 AM
drspliff drspliff is offline
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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  
Old 10-25-2010, 08:14 AM
Dougy Dougy is offline
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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).

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  #4  
Old 10-25-2010, 08:24 AM
thernes thernes is offline
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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  
Old 10-25-2010, 09:15 AM
Dougy Dougy is offline
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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

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  #6  
Old 10-25-2010, 09:21 AM
thernes thernes is offline
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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  
Old 10-26-2010, 05:31 AM
thernes thernes is offline
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Have to bring this up again as I am wondering what would be a good starting point for a backup solution?

  #8  
Old 10-26-2010, 07:25 AM
Dougy Dougy is offline
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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?

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  #9  
Old 10-26-2010, 07:27 AM
XONE-James XONE-James is offline
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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  
Old 10-26-2010, 07:52 AM
thernes thernes is offline
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@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  
Old 10-26-2010, 09:04 AM
XONE-James XONE-James is offline
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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  
Old 10-26-2010, 09:11 AM
thernes thernes is offline
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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  
Old 10-26-2010, 10:10 AM
Everyday Everyday is offline
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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.

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  #14  
Old 10-27-2010, 04:55 PM
thernes thernes is offline
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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  
Old 10-27-2010, 04:59 PM
moosh28 moosh28 is offline
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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.

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