What comparisons do you do, to decide which brand of server to buy?

By jdclyde ·
Greetings all.

New job, has two Dell Poweredge servers.

We need to add in a web server, will be running Windows Server 2008. (no, linux is not an option at this time, sorry. I checked.)

I have a quote on an HP server, and management wants a quote on an IBM server (because they know that name, and associate HP with home).

The two servers I am looking at are:

HP ProLiant ML110 G5 Server

IBM System x3200 M2 Express Server

Both use the same xeon CPU, (Xeon E3110 Dual-core 3GHz)
same amount of RAM (2gig)
Both will have two hard drives, for mirroring.
The IBM comes with SAS drives, where the HP gave me the option for SAS or SATA.

The TWO questions I have,

1) what resources have you found to allow me to compare these two servers?
2) for a web server, are the SAS drives worth getting, or overkill?

Everything I have found so far has IBM and HP trading places on who is rated higher, depending on the category, with neither coming out a real winner. The main difference I see, the IBM will probably cost a $200/$400 more.

Thanks for any input on this.


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All Answers

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Probably not much help, but

by TonytheTiger In reply to What comparisons do you d ...

The real cost, as you know, comes after you buy. There is something to be said for "doing what everybody else is doing" ... If there are issues, someone else has probably already run into them ...

Personally, I can't see a scenario where a web server would overtax SATA (within the expected service life of the server anyway).

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SATA = overkill

by jdclyde In reply to Probably not much help, b ...

was exactly my thoughts.

SCSI drives don't even start to pay for themselves unless you have multiple people writing to them at a time. Haven't looked at the SAS drives yet, other than they are 3x as expensive as the SATA.

Is there ANY data showing one will last longer than the other?

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Drive parts

by JamesRL In reply to SATA = overkill

As a means of saving money, many of the internals of drives, like motors, heads and platters are the same. The difference that makes a dride IDE. SATA SCSI or SAS is on the controller card - the card on the HD that the cables plug into.

So if you go with a good vendor that uses good parts, there is little to no difference in how long their products will last based on drive type. Better brands use better materials and parts however.


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And as long as you're running redundant,

by TonytheTiger In reply to SATA = overkill

even if half of them failed, at three times the price you'd still be money ahead :)

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Only going to mirror

by jdclyde In reply to And as long as you're run ...

I don't see a need for Raid5.

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JD as this isn't a Novel Question I'm not answering it. :^0

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to What comparisons do you d ...

But seriously I start off with looking at what people say about the company and if they do actually provide the service that their Sales Staff claim. After all Uptime is the Important thing here so if one claims to offer a Repair Service that gets things done quicker and actually do provide this service they get my money for similar Spec-ed systems.

However from past experience I have always found the IBM stuff to be better hardware from a Technical Point of View at least and I've never had any real problems with it. But then again because I worked for them once I may be Biased.

As for your second question SAS is defiantly Overkill for a Web Server even with a Moderate High number of people hitting it at the same time you wouldn't see any performance improvement over SATA drives, only thing I'm not sure of is the Power Requirements of SAS over SATA they just may be cheaper to run I have that feeling so I maybe read it somewhere, so if saving money on running costs is important they may be worth it from that Prospective particularly if the company is claiming to be "Green" but with their current cost over a SATA Drive I'm not even sure that they would pay for the difference over their operational lives. Only real thing that I can see is that with Accelerated Deprecation they offer a larger Tax Write Off per year over a system with SATA Drives but then again they cost more to begin with.

This doesn't apply to these particular systems but from past experience IBM Hardware lasts longer so if there is a need for the hardware to stay in use longer than the normal hardware turnaround the few hundred $ extra may be worth it fore the IBM Stuff if the After Sales Support is similar in Real Life as apposed to what is claimed.

Also I don't deal with HP any longer as one of their Business Class tape drives failed and they replaced it quickly enough but what they replaced it with wasn't compatible so all of the Tapes had to be replaced very quickly so that we had a Valid Working Backup in case anything nasty happened. We could have bought a new drive that used the old tapes if you call 6 month old tapes old, for less that it cost to replace the tapes. But maybe that colors my opinion of HP too.

Not much use I know but that is my experience.


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I have ZERO experience with HP servers

by jdclyde In reply to JD as this isn't a Novel ...

and would hate to base the purchase on what is cheaper.

I have been getting exclusively IBM servers (rackmount) for the last 8 years, and only had ONE of 8 go bad. It was still under support, so they replaced the MB and bad drive.

It looks like we will be getting this IBM.

I miss them not having the x205. $500 out the door. Had a few of them for lower end applications.



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I've used both.

by cmiller5400 In reply to I have ZERO experience wi ...

And had both fail at one time or another. They both are reliable, and run with very few issues. I can only think of one IBM server that had a SCSI backplane go bad and a powersupply that went south on a HP that only had one. I've replaced fans and redundant power supply's in both. HDD's have gone south in both servers before (no data loss though (knocking on wood quickly))

All in all, you'd probably be happy with either one. Just go with your gut instinct, it is probably right.

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It is looking like the IBM will win out

by jdclyde In reply to I've used both.

just because that is the name my boss is more comfortable getting.

If it makes them happy, it makes me happy.

I am looking into getting the IBM backed down to SATA drives. $300 per drive instead of $700, and having two drives.....

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In my business

by JamesRL In reply to I have ZERO experience wi ...

We sell only IBM servers. We have thousands in the field.

As in anything there are occasional issues. We had some major issues with Go Vault drives that seemed to hit IBM machines specifically, but eventually were worked out.

But on the whole, we wouldn't sell them if we didn't think they were the most reliable, since we service what we sell, and its more profitable for us if we don't have to go on site.


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