thank you all for your lively responses, helped me pull back the wool 
far enough for a quick glimpse of life further up the barrel.  when you 
spend all your time on the shoestring you can forget that to other folk 
metal actually means something more than old scraps held together with 
bailing wire.

truly NP has been gifted literally with loads of old scraps.  but see, i 
actually spent some $ for a 'whitebox' server earlier this year, and 
ironically the onus is still on me to do the part swap dance with it in 
order to determine exactly why it is that it can't add reliably either. 
  and since i'm chronically short on time, it sits idle, even under 
warranty, while old scraps are being the workhorses.

enter the classic catalyst in this formula, the fast approaching eoy 
with money remaining in the budget.  and yes folks, sorry to mislead or 
disappoint, but your old castoff workstation, or a used almost anything, 
would be a shining server to me.  but is there any point in looking at 
used metal if you can be happy with two nice new boxes for less than 4 
digits?  and at that price point i'm presuming that contracts are silly, 
and therefore since nobody will be coming to visit, i should be dealing 
with local vendors, say general nano, where i can easily drop by.  even 
with this formula tho, perhaps i should hearken to incantations of dell 
or HPaq, to save myself some partswapping?

hey sorry, this old geezer just doesn't have experience shopping, been 
spending all my time calling forth spirit from the dust.  and i freely 
admit, budgetting, money or time, has never been my forte.  don't worry 
to shoot holes in my thinking, they're already there, a little mentoring 
here would be way welcome.

eg i thinks to myself, why bother with raid, when a phone line problem 
or a fire can still knock you right out.  what i look forward to, when i 
get the time (giggle), is a failover server in another city, even 
another continent.  we do have offices in brussels and delhi afterall.

btw my most reliable stress test so far:  check the md5sum on several 
ISOs.  my bad machines miscompute on 1 out of about 5 or 6 ISOs.  must 
really give the memory and disc and dma all a good simultaneous whirl.

Sean Waite wrote:
> Well, first welcome to Minnesota! Let me ask you this, what are you intending to
> do with these servers? Do they have to be new? If these are going to be used for
> something like a webserver, data storage, etc. think about a used DL380G2 or
> DL360 (Rackmounts) or ML350 (Tower). 
> Recently we came across some new HP Proliant ML350G2 (3Ghz Intel 1x (2x slots),
> 1GB RAM) for about $2500. I have to look up who had these, but back in July I
> saw these listed for about $1800 new, with 3yr factory warranty.
> Personally I am not a big fan of whitebox servers. I have found that you do not
> save as much money to justify the loss of added extras. The HP/Compaq servers
> extra software is especially a plus. Being able to configure a RAID array online
> is a plus. The last whitebox servers I came across all had to be done in the
> adapters config utility, requiring a reboot and downtime. The one feature I like
> most about these Compaq DL servers is I have 99% uptime, except for when I have
> to move the server or something. 
> I would stay away from IBM servers. They tend to be a lot more expensive without
> really justifying the cost. Recently we got for a client an IBM server that cost
> about $2600. The comparable HP model was $1800, unfortunately we needed a server
> with 2 standard PCI slots for older Dialogic cards. The RAID configuration
> software was a joke. 
> Worst situations with a server is having to shutdown or reboot just to re-build
> a drive. I have had a few drives go bad in me, but never once lost downtime,
> something I can not say for a couple of the whitebox type servers we have had in
> the past (the kind you would get at General Nanosys). It was for that reason we
> replaced everything with DL380s. Even replaced a dual 2Ghz server with a dual
> 733mhz and couldn't be more happy with the result.
> Anyways, take a look at This is the company I have
> purchased 99% of all my server parts from. Very dependable, reliable company.
> Another is I have heard positive things from
> other brokers about them, but yet to ever purchase from them directly. 
> One local company here is 
> If you do narrow down a specific type/model of server let me know and I will
> search the broker networks for a good deal. I know you probably would like the
> convenience of purchasing locally, but sadly Minnesota has some really bad
> prices compared to elsewhere around the US. 
> I would avoid Ebay in general though. The prices are not low enough to warrant
> the hassle and frustration of potentially getting screwed. Especially since most
> sellers sell "as is" with no warranty.
> Sean Waite
> swaite at
> -----Original Message-----
> From: greg wm <tclug at>
> To: tclug-list at
> Date: Fri, 11 Nov 2005 11:35:17 -0600
> Subject: [tclug-list] vendor recommendation?
>>hi tcluggers,
>>i'm ready to drop some $ for 2 simple servers, no m$ software, could be
>>custom built, could be stock metal.  general nanosystems seems good but
>>i haven't really become acquainted around town that much yet.
>>where would you buy your metal?  why?
>>Greg Whitley Mott
>>IT Coordinator