I've been thinking about my next generation of servers.
Some months ago, I decided that 2gb of memory isn't enough for my workstation, because I have dozens of windows open at once, doing loads of things at once, and I noticed that I was getting some significant slowness. I diagnosed this as insufficient memory, but with the usual motherboards I use, 2gb is the most I can install.
So I got a motherboard that can take an AMD six-core processor, each core running at 1.4 ghz, and put in 8 gb of memory, and now it runs just fine.
My first generation of servers were Pentium 3 and Celeron, running at 533 MHz, with 512 mb of memory. My current generation is Pentium 4 and Celeron, running at 3.4 GHz, dual core, with 2gb memory, socket 775.
So I'm thinking that I want quad cores and 64 gb memory, and I priced this up and came to £650 for motherboard, cpu and memory.
Today, I had a thought. It's a general rule that A) corporates and businesses don't buy second-hand kit from Ebay, and B) end-users don't buy corporate-spec kit from Ebay, and C) when a corporate sells old kit, they sell it for peanuts to an IT reclamation company, who sells it for not a lot more to people like me. The reason it's not a lot more, is (see A and B). That's how come I get things like Cisco firewalls at a tenth of the brand-new price.
So I had a look at what I could get, in the way of high end servers. And I was shocked. Shocked, I tell you, shocked.
I could get an HP Proliant with four quad-core Xeons (so, 16 cores, four times as much as I was thinking) running at 2.93 ghz, 128gb ram (twice as much), four PSUs (so if one fails, the computer keeps working), video, two gigabit network ports, and it supports Linux. This is a vintage 2008 computer, but it looks to me to be a lot more powerful than most modern computers. And it's on offer for £325. There's also a couple of 72 gb hard drives, but I'd just use those for the operating system. It has enough space for 16 hard drives, and since I am now getting 8tb drives, that's 128tb. It would use 1200 watts of power, which is several times as much as my existing servers, but since it would replace several servers, that's cool.
I could use this 4U beast to replace pretty much *all* my customer-facing servers. I'd still want my Secure Server to be a separate machine, and I'd still use a bunch of Raspberry Pis for various purposes.
I'm not actually going to buy it, but it shows me what's likely to be available when I do buy.