Dell Poweredge CS24-SC Servers
I recently acquired two Dell Poweredge CS24-SC Servers, each equipped with dual Xeon 5420 processors and 8GB of ECC ram. I love this industrial grade gear because:
1) the excellent quality of construction
2) ease of servicing and use
3) designed to run 24/7 for years
4) no frills, but good solid, reliable hardware
5) Baseboard (BMC) management features
5) amazingly power frugal with the right settings
These servers were (reportedly) part of a large run of 10,000 or more units manufactured for cloud/cluster computing. Many of them have turned up in the surplus market over the past few years. The units I obtained had sequential serial numbers and were configured identically. They were very clean and in excellent condition. The BMC firmware was the latest available version, and the motherboard firmware was the penultimate version. I therefore chose not to attempt any firmware upgrades.
I installed Linux on one unit and Windows 7 on the other box using an external USB CD-ROM. There were no surprises or issues with the installs. I chose enterprise grade Intel SSD’s (Pro 2500) for the OS drives, keeping in mind the goal of long term reliability.
I put my web server (hosting continuous local weather feed and data from several GPS locked quartz oscillators) on one unit, and my UTM (Unified Threat Management) package on the other. This effectively eliminated three other single purpose PC’s.
I put the UTM box into the low power mode via the BIOS and I was amazed to see that the server drew 350mA at the wall when up and running (about 42W). By comparison, I had been running my UTM on an HP workstation which had much less processor power (a single core-duo) but drew over 850mA at the wall.
Two Ethernet ports and one baseboard port are standard. I have put a dual port NIC (for a total of four Ethernet ports) into the UTM box to facilitate the creation of a hardware DMZ where I will eventually put my web server.
I purchased the CS24-SC boxes from Deep Discount Servers in California, and I have to say that their pricing, customer service, packaging and shipping is the best I have seen in a long time.
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