New servers

IMG_0809.jpgAn order of 10 servers arrived yesterday. This is the largest order of machines we’ve ordered yet. As Gay says, we bought the equivalent of a car from Dell. Now I know how Dell makes so much money while GM and Ford are on the verge of bankruptcy!
When you order one server, Dell ships it UPS. When you order 10, they ship them freight. These went through four carriers to get here: Conway Express to Watkins Motor Lines to Oak Harbor Freight to Vashon Trucking.

These are our first batch of Dell servers. I’ve never been a fan of Dell; I think their desktops are really cheap and their customer service is terrible. But the first server we ever bought back in 1999 when we started was a Dell, and it was suprisingly well-made.

After various problems with servers from our current vendor and the lack of good IPMI support in the machines, I decided to look into other vendors. To make a long story short, Dell’s prices were comparable and have great IPMI support built-in. Even better, Dell assigned us a sales rep who gave us significant discounts on hardware. With that, we could buy 5 Dells for the price of 4 from our current vendor.

Their tech support is still lousy — I had to buy a machine to answer the questions myself that tech support couldn’t answer beforehand. But Dell has so many customers that the community of Dell owners, via mailing lists, forums, etc., who are knowledgeable provide better support than their own tech support. And overall, I’m impressed with the quality of the hardware and Dell’s documentation — I’ve actually had questions answered by reading their documentation! I don’t think that’s happened with hardware or software for me since 1988.
These 10 servers will bring the total number of servers we manage to 38. Yahoo or Google probably throw away 38 machines a day, but I’m amazed at the amount of hardware we manage. And by this time next year, we’ll probably have 60+ servers. I remember thinking years ago that at most Recipezaar would require 5 servers (but then again, I’m also the guy who originally said we could do everything with Microsoft software).

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