Hardware recommendations for Debian server - Debian

This is a discussion on Hardware recommendations for Debian server - Debian ; Hi, I'm looking for an entry-level file/web (and other minor stuff) server for a small company (no more than 20 clients), which will run on Debian Sarge. I'm still undecided whether I should go for a real branded server or ...

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  1. Hardware recommendations for Debian server

    Hi,
    I'm looking for an entry-level file/web (and other minor stuff) server
    for a small company (no more than 20 clients), which will run on Debian
    Sarge.

    I'm still undecided whether I should go for a real branded server or
    stay with a standard custom made PC. Server hardware is surely
    interesting, but can anyone here name any such hardware to be
    recommended or avoided for use with Debian?
    For example, anyone ever installed Sarge on an Intel SE7230NH1-E server
    board?

    Thanks.

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  2. Re: Hardware recommendations for Debian server

    also sprach Craig Sanders [2006.06.29.0202 +0200]:
    > double for every GB of storage space but it's worth it. it's also faster
    > for read access (but slightly slower for writes).


    I don't think this is true. If you have the RAID disks on separate
    channels, they'll be fully parallel on writes. It's true though that
    the Linux md driver *can* serialise reads and improve speed across
    RAID 0 or 1.

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  3. Re: Hardware recommendations for Debian server

    On Thu, Jun 29, 2006 at 02:06:03AM +0200, martin f krafft wrote:
    > also sprach Craig Sanders [2006.06.29.0202 +0200]:
    > > double for every GB of storage space but it's worth it. it's also
    > > faster for read access (but slightly slower for writes).


    "slightly slower". i really should have highlighted that the speed
    difference is negligible, probably not even noticable. something to be
    aware of just for completeness but not something to care about.

    > I don't think this is true. If you have the RAID disks on separate
    > channels, they'll be fully parallel on writes.


    the disks might be able to write in parallel, but linux/the CPU still
    has to instruct them to do so in series. first one, then the other. it
    doesn't take long at all to fill a disk buffer for write and send the
    write commands to the drive, but it takes twice as long to do that twice
    as it does to do it once. we're talking microseconds here, so it's not
    actually noticable.


    > It's true though that the Linux md driver *can* serialise reads and
    > improve speed across RAID 0 or 1.


    yep. except you meant to write parallelise, not serialise.


    craig

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  4. Re: Hardware recommendations for Debian server

    ZeroUno wrote:
    > Hi,
    > I'm looking for an entry-level file/web (and other minor stuff) server
    > for a small company (no more than 20 clients), which will run on Debian
    > Sarge.
    >
    > I'm still undecided whether I should go for a real branded server or
    > stay with a standard custom made PC. Server hardware is surely
    > interesting, but can anyone here name any such hardware to be
    > recommended or avoided for use with Debian?
    > For example, anyone ever installed Sarge on an Intel SE7230NH1-E server
    > board?
    >
    > Thanks.


    Hi,

    One year ago or so, I was using the very cheap K7S41-GX motherboard from
    ASROCK. It was fully supported by Linux, and it's less than 35 USD with
    video, lan, and all the stuff.

    Just my 2 cents too...

    Thomas


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  5. Re: Hardware recommendations for Debian server

    Hello,

    ZeroUno a écrit (Wed, Jun 28, 2006 at 11:03:21PM +0000) :
    > interesting, but can anyone here name any such hardware to be
    > recommended or avoided for use with Debian?
    > For example, anyone ever installed Sarge on an Intel SE7230NH1-E server
    > board?


    Just to point that an effort in this direction has started on the wiki:

    http://wiki.debian.org/ServerHardware

    Feel free to contribute :-)

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  6. Re: Hardware recommendations for Debian server

    Emmanuel Halbwachs ha scritto:

    > Just to point that an effort in this direction has started on the wiki:
    >
    > http://wiki.debian.org/ServerHardware


    Good news, thanks! I'll gladly contribute when I have something to
    contribute ;-)

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  7. Re: Hardware recommendations for Debian server

    Craig Sanders ha scritto:

    > my preference is almost always for a clone PC - you get a lot more for


    Thanks everyone for the replies, also private ones.

    I think I'm mostly oriented towards the clone solution now, but I'll
    also have a look at Dell and SuperMicro stuff that has been suggested.

    > if you want raid-5 rather than raid-1, then go for hardware raid with a
    > large (>64MB) non-volatile cache. software raid-5 is slow. e.g. adaptec


    Storage is very important to us, but we already have some plans for
    that, independent from the server machine choice (we'll use a couple of
    internal PCI/PCI-X RAID controllers and some external storage subsystem).

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  8. Re: Hardware recommendations for Debian server

    -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
    Hash: SHA1

    Word of advice - if going RAID - stay away from the ZCR cards from
    adaptec - Use md before you go this route.


    Regards

    Andrew


    On 29/06/2006, at 11:46 AM, ZeroUno wrote:

    > Craig Sanders ha scritto:
    >
    >> my preference is almost always for a clone PC - you get a lot more
    >> for

    >
    > Thanks everyone for the replies, also private ones.
    >
    > I think I'm mostly oriented towards the clone solution now, but
    > I'll also have a look at Dell and SuperMicro stuff that has been
    > suggested.
    >
    >> if you want raid-5 rather than raid-1, then go for hardware raid
    >> with a
    >> large (>64MB) non-volatile cache. software raid-5 is slow. e.g.
    >> adaptec

    >
    > Storage is very important to us, but we already have some plans for
    > that, independent from the server machine choice (we'll use a
    > couple of internal PCI/PCI-X RAID controllers and some external
    > storage subsystem).
    >
    > --
    > 01
    >
    >
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  9. Re: Hardware recommendations for Debian server

    On Thu, Jun 29, 2006 at 01:15:24PM +0800, GPLHost (thomas) wrote:
    > ZeroUno wrote:
    > > I'm looking for an entry-level file/web (and other minor stuff) server
    > > for a small company (no more than 20 clients), which will run on Debian
    > > Sarge.


    [...]

    > One year ago or so, I was using the very cheap K7S41-GX motherboard from
    > ASROCK. It was fully supported by Linux, and it's less than 35 USD with
    > video, lan, and all the stuff.


    I'm all for clone hardware but I would really recommend against
    shopping from the fisher price end of the scale like this. If
    you're going to rack a server in a remote location (where "remote"
    means, "not under my desk"), at least buy a motherboard that has
    serial console redirect in the BIOS. It's really worth the premium.

    Cheers,
    Andy

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  10. Re: Hardware recommendations for Debian server

    Andy Smith ha scritto:

    > means, "not under my desk"), at least buy a motherboard that has
    > serial console redirect in the BIOS.


    .....such as? Is this a common feature? I can't remember ever seeing it in
    "normal" (not necessarily budget) PC motherboards...

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  11. Re: Hardware recommendations for Debian server

    ZeroUno said at 29/06/2006 14:28:
    > Andy Smith ha scritto:
    >
    >> means, "not under my desk"), at least buy a motherboard that has
    >> serial console redirect in the BIOS.

    >
    > ....such as? Is this a common feature? I can't remember ever seeing it
    > in "normal" (not necessarily budget) PC motherboards...


    It's fairly normal in server motherboards. Check out most of the SuperMicro boards with the IPMI add-on cards.

    Ronny
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  12. Re: Hardware recommendations for Debian server

    Andy Smith wrote:

    > buy a motherboard that has serial console redirect in the BIOS
    > It's really worth the premium.


    I've not found any colo providing a serial port connection with the colo
    service. Any who do, surely want extra $$$ for it.

    Instead, I use:

    /dev/hda1 dedicated grub partition (very small)
    /dev/hda2 swap
    /dev/hda3 system
    /dev/hda4 rescue

    with grub fallback, and also grub-set-default in a startup script. If
    "system" does not boot, then "rescue" does on the next try, and I can
    fix things remotely. Using nfs, I can even load a whole new distro into
    "system."

    Remote management, cheapo motherboard style.


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  13. Re: Hardware recommendations for Debian server

    On Thu, Jun 29, 2006 at 11:42:48AM +0100, John Kelly wrote:
    > Andy Smith wrote:
    >
    > >buy a motherboard that has serial console redirect in the BIOS
    > >It's really worth the premium.

    >
    > I've not found any colo providing a serial port connection with the colo
    > service. Any who do, surely want extra $$$ for it.


    Here is a list of colo providers I use who do this for no or little
    extra charge:

    http://blackcatnetworks.co.uk/
    http://www.jump.net.uk/
    http://sonic.net/
    http://layer42.net/

    I can name 5 others off the top of my head who are similar, but I do
    not yet use.

    I can't believe there are people who regard lack of out-of-band
    management as acceptable in a colo environment.

    Cheers,
    Andy

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  14. Re: Hardware recommendations for Debian server

    On Thu, Jun 29, 2006 at 12:36:29PM +0000, Andy Smith wrote:
    > On Thu, Jun 29, 2006 at 01:15:24PM +0800, GPLHost (thomas) wrote:
    > > ZeroUno wrote:
    > > > I'm looking for an entry-level file/web (and other minor stuff) server
    > > > for a small company (no more than 20 clients), which will run on Debian
    > > > Sarge.

    >
    > [...]
    >
    > I'm all for clone hardware but I would really recommend against
    > shopping from the fisher price end of the scale like this. If
    > you're going to rack a server in a remote location (where "remote"
    > means, "not under my desk"), at least buy a motherboard that has
    > serial console redirect in the BIOS. It's really worth the premium.
    >


    Seconded. If you're using a RAID controller, I can recommend the
    3ware Escalade series esp. the newer SATA controllers. Expensive:
    yes, but reliable.

    > Cheers,
    > Andy
    >

    AndyC




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  15. Re: Hardware recommendations for Debian server

    On Thu, Jun 29, 2006 at 11:42:48AM +0100, John Kelly wrote:
    > Andy Smith wrote:
    >
    > >buy a motherboard that has serial console redirect in the BIOS
    > >It's really worth the premium.

    >
    > I've not found any colo providing a serial port connection with the colo
    > service. Any who do, surely want extra $$$ for it.


    it's useful if you have two or more machines in the co-lo. with 2
    machines, cross-connect them with null-modem cables. with more machines,
    designate one as the "serial console server" and put a multi-port serial
    card in it and connect all the others to it. also set up one of the
    other machines as the remote console for the serial server.

    > Instead, I use:
    >
    > /dev/hda1 dedicated grub partition (very small)
    > /dev/hda2 swap
    > /dev/hda3 system
    > /dev/hda4 rescue
    >
    > with grub fallback, and also grub-set-default in a startup script. If
    > "system" does not boot, then "rescue" does on the next try, and I can
    > fix things remotely. Using nfs, I can even load a whole new distro into
    > "system."


    having a rescue partition is a good thing, but it doesn't help if the
    disk dies completely or if the MBR gets trashed. and it doesn't give you
    access to the BIOS setup.

    with those failures, you still need someone to replace the disk for you,
    but then you can install/restore the system remotely yourself - and
    swapping a drive is a lot simpler for the co-lo "tech" (if you're lucky,
    they're a real tech) to do. a lot cheaper too, even if you can get them
    to agree to install debian rather than RH or whatever.

    > Remote management, cheapo motherboard style.


    a real remote console is a useful thing.

    craig

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  16. Re: Hardware recommendations for Debian server

    Andy Smith wrote:

    > On Thu, Jun 29, 2006 at 11:42:48AM +0100, John Kelly wrote:


    >> I've not found any colo providing a serial port connection with the colo
    >> service. Any who do, surely want extra $$$ for it.


    > Here is a list of colo providers I use who do this for no or little
    > extra charge:


    How little is "little", and which is it? Little, or no?


    > http://blackcatnetworks.co.uk/
    > http://www.jump.net.uk/
    > http://sonic.net/
    > http://layer42.net/


    > http://strugglers.net/wiki/Xen_hosting -- A Xen VPS hosting hobby


    > RAM Swap Disk GB Monthly
    > 96 256 11 30 £12


    96 meg of RAM for 12 GBP? My calculator says that's $22 US.

    Ouch! You must be paying through the nose for your colo service.


    > I can't believe there are people who regard lack of out-of-band
    > management as acceptable in a colo environment.


    I can believe there are countless people who pay inflated prices. And I
    laugh all the way to the bank.

    :-D


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  17. Re: Hardware recommendations for Debian server

    On Thu, Jun 29, 2006 at 11:21:48PM -0400, John Kelly wrote:
    > Andy Smith wrote:
    > >Here is a list of colo providers I use who do this for no or little
    > >extra charge:

    >
    > How little is "little", and which is it? Little, or no?


    Oh come on can you not read web pages for yourself? The Black Cat
    and Jump sites show serial console access as being free, for
    example. You have to contact the sales person for the other two but
    I think mine was free. I am just not finding this a hard feature to
    get for free or a cheap one-off, and it's really worth it when you
    need it.

    > >http://blackcatnetworks.co.uk/
    > >http://www.jump.net.uk/
    > >http://sonic.net/
    > >http://layer42.net/

    >
    > >http://strugglers.net/wiki/Xen_hosting -- A Xen VPS hosting hobby

    >
    > >RAM Swap Disk GB Monthly
    > > 96 256 11 30 £12

    >
    > 96 meg of RAM for 12 GBP? My calculator says that's $22 US.


    The service includes a bit more than a chunk of RAM; please compare
    like for like in the locality in which it is offered. If you want
    to discuss my services and whether they are cost-effective or not
    perhaps that is better done off-list or in another thread. Not sure
    when this thread became about me.

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