View Full Version : IT Server Farms question for you "experts"

Oct 10, 2002, 06:42 PM
I am contemplating a career change, and was thinking of setting up a "server farm"

I know littler about this subject other than there is some growth (or I'm told there is). I picture $1,000,000 capital investment (max).

Any opinions on this avenue of business? Am I totally out of my league?

Are the Apple Servers a good choice?

Any help, from real IT people would be appreciated...

Oct 10, 2002, 09:52 PM
WAN network capacity will be an expensive bottleneck that you will pay a premium for. Telcos in the hosting game will eat you alive as they have all the bandwidth in the world.


Oct 10, 2002, 09:54 PM
So you think this is pretty much a "big business" area or field?

Oct 10, 2002, 10:03 PM
I do since Data Center cost efficiencies are only gained through economies of scale. Big Storage network, big LAN, big WAN, big server farm.

I believe it would work if you provide a very specialized service to a specific client base - keep it small. We could get into arguments on the success/failure of ASP's.


Sun Baked
Oct 10, 2002, 10:47 PM
I'd look into buying the Scottsdale's downtown Galleria (the pink eyesore) -- if it is still relatively cheap -- and work on converting it to cheap office space and more retail.

Probably a better deal than the Los Arcos pit.

If I'm rambling on I'd say -- I don't know about the server business, but starting to develop a local REIT over the next 1-5 yrs may be a good idea.

Oct 10, 2002, 11:53 PM
I hate to say it, but for pure server farm optimization, Mac's are not a good choice. They are just too expensive. They do offer easy setup, but if this is going to be your main field then you shoudl really learn how to use linux and get some AMD boxes which are cheaper and easier to maintain in the long run (sorry).


Oct 11, 2002, 09:08 AM
SunBaked, do you have a business plan? Send me a private message if you know something.

Oct 11, 2002, 09:47 AM
Yes you are out of your league.

I don't really know you or your skills but from the brief bit you typed it seems you are lacking a real fundamental background of what companies would expect out of a Hosting Site/Colo facility. The cost is extremely high, you have to have fat data pipes (redundant), high end power with lots of backup power, highest level of earthquake protection designed in, real disaster prevention systems, high end fire supression, a highly trained staff who is on call and most importantly be willing to use whatever servers the market/customers dictate.

There are a million things I am leaving out but hopefully this will give you an idea of how complex it really is.

Oct 11, 2002, 10:38 AM
I never envisioned doing it all myself, I expected to hire IT experts and spend upwards of $1M. However, that said, I guess I'll stick to other investments, as this seems more competative and higher risk that I would have thought.

Albiet, Phoenix, is pretty much natural disaster free (short of the occational Level 4 storms). Redundant electrical systems are abound here.

Thanks for the "expert" input anyway.

Oct 11, 2002, 01:01 PM
E-mail me if you still want to Angel something fun.

I have a few ideas I've been sitting on because startup in Silicon Valley for any of them is too expensive and I'll be moving to New Orleans soon which is much cheaper.

The candidates are:

A new web-enabled Nightclub with some oldschool theater ideas revived. This would be in NOLA.

A type of integrated wireless WAN for highly remote and challenging areas and poor countries. There is UN and WB money available if the first system built works reliably to do large-scale 3rd world deployment.

An Apple-oriented remote-tech support business using ARD and cooperative ventures among many consultants. A true web-business.

Oct 11, 2002, 03:07 PM
Originally posted by Sun Baked
I'd look into buying the Scottsdale's downtown Galleria (the pink eyesore) -- if it is still relatively cheap -- and work on converting it to cheap office space and more retail.

Probably a better deal than the Los Arcos pit.

The Galleria (http://www.cbre.com/NR/rdonlyres/esz2kkwqdxjr6ep737cpytiy2ck5wxmxwold2cnkfga3qf5jf6enjkfs5gibzn75dz2ujrivunwq4e/Galleria12-2001.pdf) has already been converted to office space. (Warning: Large PDF file)

Glad to see other members from the Valley of the Sun...

Sun Baked
Oct 11, 2002, 03:22 PM
And to think it only took around 10 years of failed projects to turn the Galleria around... :rolleyes:

Hopefully Los Arcos doesn't take that long.


I only mentioned the Galleria because my favorite failed project was -- Let's turn it into a huge server/telecom farm.

Oct 11, 2002, 03:33 PM
Originally posted by Sun Baked
I only mentioned the Galleria because my favorite failed project was -- Let's turn it into a huge server/telecom farm.

The strangest was the Sportsplex. One of my friends was a security guard there during that project. They were changing the design plans every other day right up until the building was taken away from them. :rolleyes:

Oct 11, 2002, 03:49 PM
Scottsdale zoning is the single worse zoning I have seen in my entire life.

I have lived in San Mateo, CA
La Verne, CA (next to Ontario)
El Paso, TX
Atlanta, GA (a personal favorite)
Parts of Germay
Saddle River, NJ

and of all of those, SDL is a lost cause. Until you get north of Lincoln ave, the rest of it is a total missed opportunity. Old town is a total disaster.

Oct 11, 2002, 05:26 PM
The problem is.. you normaly dont set up a serverFarm with out a reason. You need to know what kind of customer you have and what kind of availability you need. On the Enterpise level... 1mill wont even pay for the power backup generators and UPS that you will need. Not to mention the systems. I have racks that are worthwell over a mill each not to mention the room they are in, and the support team. ... now this is for high avalabiltiy. If your talking somall time web serving and low bandwith reqirments then thats a totaly diffrent story.

The xServe is proving its self in some markets... its not an enterprise server.. but its better than a lot of the crap out there.

Bottem line is.. if you just want to set up some kind of server farm and then find customers to use it. You have to know what kind of customers you planning to get and what kind of work they would need done.

Application serving?
CPU intensive things like 3D rendering?
Avaliablity and downtime?
Developement systems?
Prodction systems?
Bandwith? T1/T3/....OC12?
Govement or private?
Pysical location, power, UPS, gas generators, cage shelding... etc

there is much to consider....

Oct 11, 2002, 05:40 PM
evildead, that was very helpful thanks.

I would have liked to have 3D rendering as a primary business. Although web servers would be nice, but I imagine that would require a lot of bandwidth into the internet.

Anyway, Idea forgotten.