Mental Ward

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My Server Journey

You know you're a geek at heart when getting a new server makes you weak-kneed with giddiness. Well, I guess I qualify.

I just got my new test server, courtesy of the good folks at HP. They've shipped me a ProLiant DL360 G5 for an extended loan, so that I can play with all this cool virtualization technology. It's a 1U "pizza box" (perfect for my home) with two 64-bit, quad-core Xeons and 4 GB RAM. Yes, that means eight screaming processors, all for little ol' me. Excuse me while I wipe the drool off of my keyboard.

I plugged in the two power cords, and was up and running in minutes. One of the first things I noticed is that this sucker is quiet. I tried this with another 1U server several months ago (an older Sun from my company's IT department), and the 64-bit processor and fans were so loud that I had to turn the server off to talk on the phone. Not so with my 360. It's not as quiet as a desktop, but it's definitely a purrer in the land of the growling cats.

At this point, it's appropriate to say a few words about support, which is a critical part of any server buy. After all, you're purchasing a company as much as a product.

This is actually my second HP server. My first was a ProLiant DL580 G5, which is a 4U, fire-breathing monster of a server. After turning that on, I couldn't get anything to come up in my monitor -- couldn't even get a video signal from the box. After calling my HP contact, they got me in touch pronto with an extremely able technician. We weren't able to solve the problem over the phone, so I sent the unit back in (it was really too big anyway for a home office), and I got another one from HP in no time flat. They were extremely responsive throughout the process, and I never had trouble getting responses to e-mails. (It turns out that the original server was damaged during shipping). Special kudos go out to Calvin Walker, who's been my HP contact through all this. I couldn't have asked for a better representative or more helpful person.

The 360 is absolutely perfect for me. It's fairly small (for a server), quiet and extremely powerful. I haven't used much of its functionality yet (just got it up and running yesterday), but I'll give you regular updates on its performance, reliability, etc. over the coming months. So far I've loaded Windows Server 2008 and Hyper-V on it, and have downloaded (but not yet installed) VMware Infrastructure 3 (VI3). I also plan on adding XenServer, Virtual Iron, and Parallels server virtualization platforms to the server. It will get a real workout. Keep an eye out for future reports (and pictures, and video, etc.)

Posted by Keith Ward on 03/18/2008 at 12:48 PM


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