As an IT specialist, Choosing the right Server hardware that would service your clients,with high availability, fault tolerance,scalability, recovery...and all that good stuff is one of the hardest decisions you have to make. Most times for Us its a matter of trading off between choosing what's good for the company, what allows you the opportunity to research and learn new technologies and also choosing something that wouldn't be too expensive whilst ensuring good ROI(Return On Investment).
Server in their broadest of categories, like houses differ in shapes and sizes, a few notable ones are:
Small, floor-standing towers or rack-mounted 1U and 2U servers.
Medium-sized, floor-standing towers or larger rack-mounted servers.
Blade centers and blade servers.
Large floor-standing servers, includingmainframes.
Specialized fault-tolerant, rugged and embedded processing or real-time
Virtual servers or virtualmachines (VMs) running on physical servers.
Cloud servers (essentially a VMservice offering).
Functionally, servers could be further classified as follows:
• Business cannot function without
• Time sensitive
• Highly available
• Low RTO & RPO
•Must be secure
• Time ismoney
• Downtime is a lost opportunity
• Business essential
• Some impact to business
• Good availability
• Low to medium RTO and RPO
• Some downtime can be tolerated
• Business important
• Little impact to business
• Some delay OK
• Basic availability
• Downtime is tolerated
• Business optional
• Delay tolerable
• Some availability
• High RTO/RPO
These means of classification still barely scratch the surface of the store of servers available in the IT market.Physical server manufacturers such as Apple Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. (Unified Computing Systems), Dell Inc., EMC (Vblock), Fujitsu, NEC Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM, Oracle Corp./Sun, Silicon Graphics International Corp.and SuperMicro Computer Inc. are represented by a mix of direct sales, direct touch markets and technical support, as well as channel value-added resellers (VARs) and solution providers tha tbundle their applications with different hardware offerings.So we can see that today's IT infrastructure department have their jobs picked out for them whether they are designing a new server infrastructure from scratch or integrating/consolidating a new server into an existing infrastucture.
three steps are key in making the decision as to what physical server to buy:
MUST KNOW YOUR NEEDS AND REQUIREMENTS
what kind of services are to be hosted on the server?what are the virtualization /cloud needs? what are the storage needs? what are the availability needs to meet service level agreements(SLAs)? what are the existing Failover/clustering solutions(if any..)?amount of physical space available in the data center? what are your forecasts for growth requirements?
UNDERSTAND YOUR OPTIONS
consider the server categories and tiers talked about earlier.whether it be blade servers or just plain old rack servers or mainframes.talk about processors if you'r buying a single socket,single core,single threaded processor then you know that that computer will at best execute one instruction in a cycle,single socket,dual core-2 instructions,dual socket,quad core-8 instructions then you start to wrap your head around 32-bit and 64-bit machines.talk about memory,Main memory or RAM, also known as dynamic RAM(DRAM) chips, is
packaged in different ways, with a common form being dual inline memory modules. DRAMmemory access
speed is referred to in terms of older DDR2 (667MHz) or newer DDR3 (1333MHz). RAMmain memory on a server is the fastest form of memory, second only to internal processor or chip-based registers—L1, L2 or local memory. In general, more memory is better; however, the speed of the memory is also very important.
Take a look at what functionality is built into the server or provided on server blades for general-purpose
networking along with attachment of disk storage. What is there in terms of 10 Gb Ethernet (10 GbE), and how many ports as well as 3G (3Gb) or 6G (6Gb) Serial-Attached SCSI (SAS) for disk storage attachment
(internal or external), along with serial, video and USB ports? Also look at expansion capabilities for additional mezzanine cards for blade servers, or PCI-E cards for networking, storage and other peripherals.
PCI SIGMulti-Root IO Virtualization (MR-IOV), a relatively new and emerging feature for servers, enables
advanced connectivity, including adapter sharing.MR-IOV will enable multiple, physically separate adjacent
servers to share a PCI-E adapter card, allowing the virtualization of servers that otherwise could not be
consolidated.MR-IOV can also boost scaling capabilities beyond normal physical limits in high-density servers by placing adapter cards in shared external expansion slots.
FINALLY,PUT IT ALL TOGETHER RIGHT
simple, install the softwares that would optimize your server hardware.(e.g don't plan to install 32-bit software on your 64-bit machine)
Know your requirements,know your wants, stay within budget whilst ensuring high ROI. Have fun Buying!