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5 Great OEM Linux Servers - page 2

Rackmount, Cube

  • January 19, 2010
  • By Carla Schroder

Dell PowerEdge T710

Dell and Hewlett-Packard have two things in common: they both sell good Linux servers, and they both make it hellish to find them on their Web sites. (Actually I find that both sites make it beastly to find anything; one becomes swamped in white papers, PDF brochures, and other obstacles.) But it's worth the effort, because Dell often has some great buys on server hardware and prices out the operating system separately. So you can install Linux yourself, or let Dell do it.

The PowerEdge T710 is on sale right now at $1,398.00, marked down from $1,938.00. This is a barebones-package that buys a big ole tower chassis that holds up to eight hard drives, which are not included. Included in this price are a dual-core Intel Xeon E5502 processor, 1100-watt power supply, and 1GB 1066MHz UDIMM. memory. If you want Linux you can have either one year of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server or RHEL 5.3 included in the base price.

This beast supports both SCSI and SATA hard drives, hardware RAID controllers, redundant hot-swap power supplies, many networking options, add-on storage controllers, various system managers, and lots more. So that base price is just the beginning. This type of server is for heavy-duty high-demand usage, and it offers a fair degree of flexibility as your needs change.

Pogo Linux Blades

Pogo Linux is an oldtime Linux vendor that has been around for a long time. Blade servers are popular for their small size, density, great flexibility, and lower power requirements. Pogo's Katana 7140 14-blade enclosure rings in at $4,300, which includes two 1400-watt PSUs, a management module, and a three-year warranty. To actually do anything, you'll need to add some blades which start around $1,600 each. For the base blade price you get a quad-core Xeon E5405 2.0Ghz CPU, 1GB DDR2 ECC RAM, and a 150GB SATA II hard drive. Each blade holds up to three hard drives or solid-state drives.

You get to choose from whole raft of Linux operating systems at no extra cost: Fedora, CentOS, Scientific Linux, Debian, Ubuntu, and OpenSUSE. RHEL 5 is also an option, starting at $381.

Novell Linux Mainframe

This is not an option for the budget-minded. But it should put the other options into persective! IBM has owned the mainframe market since forever; at over 95% market share it's safe to say they have a sizable monopoly. Even though IBM still supports its own version of UNIX, AIX, both IBM and Novell are betting heavily on Linux on System z mainframes, and this is paying off as this is a fast-growing market segment. Customers like Linux on their mainframes.

The "entry-level" System z box costs over $200,000 from IBM. Novell is challenging IBM with their own System z software bundles. They are promoting Mono as a tool to migrate Windows chores onto their Linux mainframe, replacing .Net and Windows with Mono and SUSE Enterprise Linux, and providing various other Mono development tools. All with high five-figure price tags. It is a bit hard to pin down prices; I spoke to two different Novell representatives, and got rather different information both times. Perhaps this means that a serious buyer can do some hard negotiating and get a better deal.

Carla Schroder is the author of the Linux Cookbook and the Linux Networking Cookbook (O'Reilly Media), the upcoming "Book of Audacity" (NoStarch Press), a lifelong book lover, and the managing editor of LinuxPlanet and Linux Today.

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