OT: Looking for an appliance, Suggestions welcome



  • I need 6-8 "appliances". Essentially I'm looking for a cheap, low power solution that has two 3.5" HDD bays and ideally either onboard infiniband or a PCIe x16 slot.

    I need to put two 3TB HDD's in each appliance and ideally they will run an OS on either compact flash or USB. OS will be Server 2008 or 2012.

    Can be an Atom CPU or an i3 - really I don't care as I'm viewing these things as cheap/throwaway appliances where if a machine goes down or a HDD dies that machine is replaced rather than fixed/repaired. The RAID or redundancy is essentially the multiple appliances rather than the individual appliance itself.

    I've been looking at some Acer boxes or SFF/USFF Dell boxes but I'd like cheaper. Ideally all-in I'd like to be under $400 for the appliance and the HDD's. The infinaband cards would be extra.

    All I need is a mobo that has two SATA 3 ports and a single PCIe x16 port and a chassis/enclosure that's cheap.

    These will be located in several places in the US as well as Europe and could be desktop/standalone or rack mount (or some combination of both). The reason why cloud is not an option is because it will be a cheap file server and need to process and/or move TB's at a time within a LAN and cloud isn't there yet to push TB's of sensitive data around quickly and on a whim.

    Open to any suggestions - and thanks in advance.



  • If you're fine with used machines, older Dell GX280's are cheap.  There are 2 small form factor versions, the larger SFF version has a PCI-Express x16 slot, although it's a low profile bracket, maybe still ok for you.  Processor is usually a Hyperthreadded P4.  I'm trying to remember off the top of my head, but I think if you pull the floppy you might be able to put in 2x 3.5" hard drives.  You can get these for less than $100 easy, usually 60-80.

    Above that, assuming you're still ok with used machines, you could look at HP DC7700's, the small form factor version also has a low profile PCI-Express x16 slot (you might have to take out a riser card, if it exists) and a Core 2 Duo.  Also has a 3.5" internal and a 3.5" external bay.  These can be found for right around $100 easy.

    The full size tower HP DC7700 has multiple internal 3.5" bays, takes 8GB of RAM.  They're great, I use them for VMware dev/test clusters all the time.

    It's a little harder to find a all-together new solution with a pair of 3TB hard drives for under $400.  Depending on your quantity, 3TB hard drives are still at least $160/ea, that only leaves $80 for everthing else.

    You can do that with full size DC 7700's just fine, probably with the SFF DC 7700's or Dell GX 280's (if you can use low profile infiniband cards.)  All these models I've listed were very popular and can be had in large quantities, and the parts are -very- plentiful.  I just bought 2x full size DC7700's for $160 after shipping, with higher quantity, per-unit shipping was even cheaper.

    Oh, not sure how their 3TB drive support is, probably recognizes them in an OS, may not boot from them.  Just make sure 2008 is x64 (If it's 2008 R2 it's only x64 anyway.)



  • The problem with the older stuff is it's SATA 1 or 2 at best and the power consumption is crazy.

    I go in on drives with a friend and we buy in BULK so my price is closer to $100 per drive… maybe a slight bit more but we buy a lot of these drives.

    That's my real challenge, it needs to be SATA2 or ideally 3 so the older stuff is out. <$400 is a goal... <$500 is not terrible... You know how these things go, set a target price and before long you are at $1000 a box. I just need something cheap and easy.



  • @pf2.0nyc:

    The problem with the older stuff is it's SATA 1 or 2 at best and the power consumption is crazy.

    I go in on drives with a friend and we buy in BULK so my price is closer to $100 per drive… maybe a slight bit more but we buy a lot of these drives.

    That's my real challenge, it needs to be SATA2 or ideally 3 so the older stuff is out. <$400 is a goal... <$500 is not terrible... You know how these things go, set a target price and before long you are at $1000 a box. I just need something cheap and easy.

    The HP DC7700's are SATA 2.  Also, being Core 2 Duo, their power consumption is pretty decent, actually, probably about 60 watts at 10-40% cpu with 2 standard hard drives.

    For new stuff, maybe look at cheap Home Theater PC setups:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856115047
    "Mini" system with full height PCI Express for $165 (after shipping)

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116410
    Celeron G440 for $40 (free shipping, also you can go to Dual Core Celeron for $10 more)

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820313102
    4GB DDR3 for $22 (more free shipping, double it if you want 8GB, it's got 4 slots.)

    $230 after shipping for the bulk machine, if hard drives are $100 each, that's $430 total.


Locked