It makes sense to buy online from a reliable source

It makes sense to buy online from a reliable source

By J.B. Miles

Special to GCN

Conventional wisdom has it that if you are buying a server, you should start with first-tier vendors such as Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp. and NEC America Inc.

It comforts many buyers to know that they are dealing with a reputable family of server products, such as Compaq's ProLiant, Dell's PowerEdge, HP's NetServer, NEC's Express5800 and IBM's Netfinity series.

I can't argue with that logic, particularly if the servers in question meet the manufacturers' usually high standards of performance and serviceability at good prices, as all of the first-tier product lines listed do. But don't ignore the potential value of servers from vendors such as Gateway Inc. that have built solid reputations for online computer sales.

I like it when I am able to easily configure a server directly from the Web site of a manufacturer I respect. So, starting with an imaginary server budget of $3,500, I tinkered with the server configuration pages on the Web sites of all the manufacturers noted above.

I found excellent server products, along with Web sites that allow you to configure your own server fairly easily. Of the bunch, I liked Dell's Web site and its highly configurable PowerEdge 1300 single-processor server the best.

The PowerEdge 1300's base price was $1,444, so I added an 800-MHz Pentium III processor for $675 and 128M of synchronous dynamic RAM for another $144.

An Intel 440BX chip set with a 100-MHz front-side bus comes standard with the unit. Because I wanted an integrated SCSI controller in case I needed an additional controller for my SCSI hard drive, I chose a 2940 PCI SCSI Controller Card from Adaptec Inc. of Milpitas, Calif., for an additional $143. My total at that point amounted to $2,406, but I hadn't yet finished the configuration.

There's always later

I bypassed the typical 9.1G hard drive for an 18.2G Ultra2 LVD SCSI drive running at 7,200 rpm, for $135. I knew that I could add a RAID controller and extra drives later.

Dell's servers come pre-installed with network controllers, and I didn't quibble with the Intel Pro 100+ NIC that was already installed. But I did choose to pre-install Microsoft Windows 2000 Server with five client access licenses for an additional $719.

The total: $3,260.'Having come close to my imaginary $3,500 account, I stopped there because the PowerEdge already came standard with a 1.44M disk drive, 40X CD-ROM, keyboard and Microsoft mouse.

I couldn't afford one of Dell's PowerVault tape drive systems, so I gambled on doing without one for a month or so. My existing UPS will provide power and surge protection for my new server.'What I wound up with was a powerful server able to meet my imaginary needs with plenty of room to grow.

inside gcn

  • data protection (Ditty_about_summer/Shutterstock.com)

    Tackling privileged-access security

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group