Summary: Server recommendations when you can't afford a server?

From: Ivan Fetch <>
Date: Wed Mar 12 2003 - 12:33:07 EST
   Thank you to the 36 or so responces - the range of feedback has really
helpped to give me a taste of what others are doing in simelar situations.
The turn-around time for this list is amazing...  Here's my initial
----- initial question -----

 Hello all,
   We're a "financially challenged" computer science department who would
like to spread services out a bit more; have less services running per
machine.  We currently have an Enterprise 250 server (housing home
directories and mail spools, acdting as our SMTP, IMAP, and NIS server),
an Ultra2 (running Oracle 9.2 - surprised that runs) and another Ultra2
(acting as our POP, DNS, and Web server).  The Ultra2 machines are also
used by faculty and students to check email, compile programs, and
occasionally run network simulator (NS2) simulations.

   We're looking into purchasing 1-2 more machines so we can move services
(i.e. we'd like to have a machine no one logs into that can handle SMTP,
POP, and IMAP, or at least separate SMTP from the rest of the machines).
Honestly we can only afford to spend ~$1000, at the moment - what do you
all recommend that won't be a waste of money and space?  One particular
vendor is offering me an ultra60 with a 380 Mhz processor, 510 Mb (3rd
party) RAM, and 9 Gb disk for $630 (this price seems good, but I haven't
baught Sun hardware long enough to really know).

   Are there any good places (web sites, books) for me to get more of a
handle on how Sun hardware translates to performance?

   Thanks as always for sharing your experience and opinions,
I will of course summarize responces and what we decide to do.

Ivan Fetch.

----- end of question -----

Thanks to the following folks for responding:
"McCaffity, Ray (Contractor)" <>,
Andrew Harkin <>,
"Broun, Bevan" <>,
Kevin Buterbaugh <>,
Ben Tierney <>,
Darren Dunham <>,
John Adams <>,
Sun Consultant <>,
Paul Greidanus <>,
Jon Godfrey <>,
"John T. Douglass" <>,
Sherri Sheerr <>,
Doetzl Joe <>,
GertJan Hagenaars <>,
Christian Campbell <>,
Hichael Morton <>,
Max Trummer <>,
Rich Teer <>,
Gary P Carr <>,
"Connolly, Michael" <>,
Bruce Purcell <>,
William Yodlowsky <>,
"Hunt, Neil" <>,
Michael Cunningham <>,
John Martinez <>,
Brian Dunbar <>,
Roy Culley <>,
Martin hepworth <>,,,
William Enestvedt <>,
Brian Sherwood <>,
Marcelino Mata <>,
Mike Arnold <>

   By far the most popular responce was to check out and their Ebay store at
   These folks look like they have some pretty good deals on used Sun
hardware in various states (even their "ugly duckling" sales for hardware
that doesn't look so great).  The hand full of respondants that have
baught equipment from said they've had good experience with

   The next most popular responce was to get Intel hardware and run
Solaris/intel, Linux, FreeBSD, or OpenBSD - more "bang for your buck" and
equal if not better performance for the services I'm looking at (DNS,
SMTP, POP, IMAP, WWW).  Thanks to those who provided details and success
stories with various Intel configuration and such services.

   Kevin recommended the book "System Performance Tuning" (2nd edition) by
Loukides / Musumeci, published by
O'Reilly and Associates for tuning the machines we've already got.

   Other recommendations included: looking into Sunblade 100, 150, or 1000
workstations, a Sun V100 ($995 minus educational discounts from Sun) for a
bit newer though not-so-upgradable solution, for
comparison pricing on Sun hardware, for some
processor comparisons and commontary, North American Systems as another
source for Sun hardware, and as another source for
Sun  hardware.

   Thanks again to all those that responded and provided insite -- Our
plan now is to go with an Intel solution for SMTP/POP/IMAP, and maybe some
very inexpensive Sun stuff or intel surpluss for services like DNS.
sunmanagers mailing list
Received on Wed Mar 12 12:36:40 2003

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