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5 Great OEM Linux Servers

Rackmount, Cube

  • January 19, 2010
  • By Carla Schroder
Linux has long been popular in the datacenter, and Tier 1 vendors like IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell have all had good lines of OEM Linux servers for several years now. IBM even puts Linux on mainframes. Traditionally these vendors have relied on Red Hat and SUSE Enterprise Linux, and mainly targeted the enterprise.

Now Ubuntu is showing up in OEMs everywhere, giving us more options than ever. Here is a roundup of five different OEM Linux servers for different tasks and budgets, from the home network to the mainframe.

When you're pricing server systems, keep in mind that real server hardware is more durable than PC hardware, so it costs a bit more. Also keep in mind that because Linux is so flexible and chock full o' features, you can adapt these machines for all kinds of different purposes.

System 76 Jackal 1U

This is a nice little basic 1U rackmount server that starts at $799. This gets you 512MB RAM, 250GB hard drive, dual-core Pentium processor, and dual Gigabit Ethernet. This might seem a bit yesteryear for specs, but it runs headless without Xorg, so it doesn't need gobs of horsepower just to run the operating system, which is Ubuntu Server 8.04LTS or 9.10. This could easily be a fileserver, POP mail server, FTP server, Web server, or proxy server. Because it ships with Ubuntu Server, which is a complete and uncrippled Linux distribution, you can install and run anything you want.

In this era of terabyte hard drives 250GB seems a bit miserly, and there are upgrade options at additional cost, including both software RAID or a hardware RAID controller. All the main components can be upgraded: hard drives, CPU, and RAM. Though if you find yourself wanting to upgrade everything, you probably want a more powerful system to start with.

You don't need to buy a rack to use this, it sits fine on a shelf. The hardware comes with a three-year warranty, and there is an option to purchase Ubuntu support from Canonical.

ZaReason Breeze Server 4220

$299 buys a small, quiet, low-powered box that would make a great firewall/router/proxy server. It comes with either Ubuntu server, desktop, or the Untangle network gateway suite, which provides a full set of typical Internet gateway services: firewall, VPN, spam and malware filtering, proxy, Web filters, monitoring and reporting.

It comes with a Celeron 1.8GHz CPU, 1GB RAM, onboard video, and a 80GB hard drive, so it could also serve as an inexpensive, low-powered desktop PC. Its four USB ports make it a nice dedicated printer server. Put in a bigger hard drive and you have an inexpensive file or audio server.

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