The Deliverator – Wannabee

So open minded, my thoughts fell out…


Posted by Deliverator on June 18th, 2006

Silverfir will shortly be making the move to new hardware. To be specific, this hardware:


The new server’s stats are:

  • Compaq DL 380
  • Dual PIII 933mhz processors
  • Dual redundant, hot swappable power supplies
  • 640 MB ECC memory – will likely be expanded to 4 GB to provide enough overhead for OS virtualization
  • Smart Array 5300 series raid controller with 64 MB cache
  • Three 9 GB SCSI drives in Raid 5 for boot volume, with a fourth drive sitting around doing nothing. Controller supports designating drives as a “hot spare.” In the event of a drive failure, the controller brings the fourth drive in as a replacement for the failed drive.
  • Fourteen 18.2 GB 10k RPM SCSI Ultra 3 drives in external “StorageWorks” enclosure. The 5300 series controller supports a proprietary “advanced data guarding” mode which protects against up to two simultaneous drive failures without data loss. One, possibly two, of the drives appears to have been damaged in transit and the front metal pieces which lock to the server cabinet were bent. I hope I can simply bend them back. All told, the external bay should still have close to 200 GB of very redundant storage.
  • Remote Insight Lights Out Edition II remote management card. Acts kinda like a IP based KVM, giving one local console level remote control abilities. Not only can you use the keyboard and mouse and see what is on the screen, but you can control the computers power state, view the hardware event log even if the server is dead, and even start OS installs using the boards “virtual floppy” and “virtual usb media” features. Just for kicks, I installed Debian “Etch” on the server without ever touching it. A remote management card like this can really make working with a server easier and can save you from a lot of unnecessary trips to the datacenter. The RILOE II card is a much better implementation of the remote admin concept than the 1st generation RILOE card (which was in the server, previously). It is well worth the extra cost.

Aside from the hardware, we are going to try and keep the outward appearance of Silverfir the same. It will still be hosting the same content on the same old domain name. Ryan and I did feel that the server deserves a new name (the current server is named Oasis). I wanted to find a name that made some reference to some important aspects of the new server’s character:

-Hard to kill

Ryan came up with a slew of military vehicle references, but that didn’t seem quite right. I liked the name Rasputin in reference to the politically bothersome Russian who proved very difficult to kill. Somehow, that name didn’t sit quite right with me, either. I eventually settled on Frankenputin, as part reference to Frankenstein’s Monster, as the server is made up largely of individually assembled spare parts, as part reference to Rasputin and putin is slang for computing. Anyways, we should be transfering the data off Oasis to Frankenputin in the next few days. We might do things the quick and dirty way, so there might be some downtime during the next week.

I would like to note that Nate from local surplus server parts dealer Nautilus, was very helpful in getting me some of the more obscure parts I needed. Their parts were reasonably priced and they were willing to stand behind their product when one of the items turned out to be defective. If you are in the market for some used server gear, check them out.

Also, the ebay seller (of the drive enclosure which met with the shipping accident), still_the_same, is shipping me a new enclosure, as well as two replacement drives. All told, she is eating quite a lot of shipping costs, so I would like to compliment her on her professional handling of this issue. My guess is she is making no money on this transaction as a result, so the least I could do is give her some free advertising. She has a number of servers and server related hardware for sale and seems to be the real deal, folks.