Home » Business » Digital Transformation » Issues to Consider Before Building your Rack Server
While some bosses might be tempted to keep flogging desktop technology to make a company expand, ambitions will always be restricted if you’re using machines that simply aren’t cut out for the job of running business-critical applications.
New server technology will have the answer, but it’s a big subject and it knowing which CPU is right for your firm will take some informed consideration.
Typically, businesses with limited room on the floor will end up with a rack-mounted server, the space-efficiency of which enables serious processing punch to be stacked into a small area.
Below, we highlight a few of the most important issues to be aware of before committing to buying one of your firm’s most important pieces of kit.
Dell’s PowerEdge R730 Rack brings renewed performance and flexibility to data centres and is perfect for challenging environments such as cloud platforms, virtualisation, VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) and other high-performance computing demands.
The R730’s strong processing capacity and extensive memory can support faster and larger virtual machines, while the unit can be configured with optional GPUs (graphics processing units) for workloads that require processing acceleration.
IT admins can also speed data access with flexible storage and optional SANDisk DAS Cache acceleration technology. The R730’s 2U, 2-socket rack server is powered by Intel Xeon’s E5-2600 processor v4 family and can hold up to 22 cores per CPU.
Expansion is a crucial issue for nearly all businesses. As such, a server is a long-term investment so the set-up you choose must be able to handle both current workloads and those that may develop five or ten years down the line. Storage is critical, so aim for heavy capacity or you may find you’re looking to upgrade after a year or two.
You’ll get most capacity bang for your buck through serial advanced technology attachment (SATA) drives, and large-form-factor (LFF) models that are now scaling to 8TB. Higher performance can be obtained using nearline SAS (NL-SAS) drives, though the server will need an SAS controller to support them.
If you’re going all out and have serious budget artillery, SAS can give fantastic storage speed, with the latest SAS3 drives nudging speeds up to 12Gbits/sec. A high number of SMB rack servers can now be booted from superfast SSD, which accelerates boot times and delivers high-performance repository for critical applications.
Business servers should always be bolstered by RAID-protected storage – the first defence mechanism to combat disk failure. The PowerEdge range from Dell offers RAID services, but check the specifications of your device to ensure compatibility.
The most scalable and secure option is RAID5, with which you’ll start with at least three drives and have the ability to add more drives if needed. While it can guard against two simultaneous disk failures, RAID6 is not the best option for servers with four drive bays, and it can be very expensive.
If you elect to put your OS on fast SSDs (solid state drives), ensure you can RAID them; some servers can support internal SSDs and can mirror their contents. As important as RAID is, regular backups will be needed to ensure full protection against system failures or disaster events such as fire or flood.
There are industry-standard dimensions for rack servers to adhere to in terms of width and height, but great variation exists in terms of server depths. A minimum depth of one metre will provide enough room for your current server needs and will comfortably accommodate upgrades should they be needed.
Bosses should also consider how much room might be needed for vertical power distribution units, a rack-mounted UPS plus space behind for cabling and airflow requirements.
This is where your business-critical applications will be running, so it’s essential that the health of both soft and hardware is top of mind. Remote monitoring should be enabled on whichever choice you go with, so that server health can be checked through a web browser.