On Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 09:57:33PM -0700, John R Pierce wrote: > On 06/28/12 8:56 PM, Luke S. Crawford wrote: > > The problem with supermicro is that the end user assembles them; > > If you use ESD protection, this is fine. If you dont? go buy a dell > > or something. > > > well, the SM kit I've bought was built and integrated by a major name > systems integrator. they were sold as complete solutions under this > vendors' label, and supported by said vendor. > > really, I'd say its all in the VAR and your service contract with them. > very few VARs do the level of systems testing that HP or IBM or Dell or > whatever do... If you really really want to be your own systems > integrator, then do extensive burnin on new systems, and stock spare parts. I agree. Except that you don't need to do all, or even most of the work that a systems integrator does. For me, the hard part of being a systems integrator is the sales and negotiation bullshit. That's why I don't build systems for other people. On top of that, you have to deal with your customers opening them up, without ESD protection, and adding garbage, or customers blaming OS bugs on you. If you only build for yourself, you don't have to worry about that sort of thing. I mean,you still have to figure out if it's hardware or the OS, but at least you get to choose the OS. But yes. stock spares. I try to make sure I always have one server (minus disks) ready to go; If I get a hardware problem (I can usually tell remotely) I put it in the van before I head down to the data center; If I can't figure things out quickly on-site, I take the hard drives out of the bad hardware, put them in the spare box, boot, and go. (Of course, I also have spares of other parts; but if something in production is down, you don't want to sit there farting around trying to figure out which DIMM is bad while the pager is exploding. Swap the whole thing and screw with it back at the shop after you have cleaned up the support queue.) (if you use hardware raid, this becomes... more complicated. Test your procedure first.) >From what I've seen? the difference between no negotiation and the best possible negotiation, when you buy whole servers? is often 50% of the total price. Sometimes more. When buying parts? it's 5%, if that. (we're talking in the 1-5 server quantity here. I'm sure things change if you are buying hundreds or thousands at once and you are saavy. I've never seen a saavy entity negotiate for hundreds or thousands of servers or parts for same.) That, and to negotiate well, you need to have all of the knowledge you'd need to buy the parts to build your own server. Either way, unless you are prepared to just pay full price, you need to keep up with hardware and the relitive costs. Heck, I'll do all the assembly and burn in work, and keep spares around, just to avoid the negotiation bullshit. For me? it's far easier. And if you ask me? dealing with broken hardware is downright relaxing compared with trying to convince some goddamn monkey that the reboot that happened last night was really a hardware issue, and yes, it came back up, but it still needs to get fixed. "But it works now, right?" (sorry... I just remember some extremely frustrating experiences dealing with dell's verson of Mordak. And I was getting paid by the hour, so if corporations had feelings, the company hiring me would really have felt worse.) But that has as much to do with who I am and what skills I have as anything else. If I were an extrovert, I'd probably find 'educating' tech support to be less of a hellish experience. And, of course, on all but the super expensive plans, if it's not acceptable to be down all weekend for a hardware failure on friday night, well, you still need those spares. (Of course, if I only had one or two servers, it'd probably make sense to just pay twice the price and be done with it. But nearly all of my net worth is tied up in server hardware, so I can't walk away from that 50%.) But yeah, my point is just that if you build the hardware yourself, you only have to do a small subset of the 'systems intigrator' work. Yeah, it's a lot more technical work than just firing the money cannon at dell or HP, but it's a lot less social work than trying to get a reasonable deal, or trying to get reasonable service out of dell or HP.