PDA

View Full Version : What do I tell the IT guy so he buys an Xserve...?


shadowfax0
Nov 25, 2002, 06:51 PM
My Dad is currently working for I.A.V.I (The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative) and right now they have NT servers that are not the most reliable :) Anyhow, my Dad has a TiBook that he uses for consulting (I've got some great stories about it, he prides himself on the fact he can connect to most if not all the corporate networks he visits by simply plugging it in :) ) and he's trying to convince the IT guy to get an Xserve. It would be mostly be a medium-ish file server, it's not keeping up a web-page or anything. The guy seems impressed with it, but he says he isn't sure what he can do with it (He's a non-Mac guy, and most likely is in the mind set that "That's a Mac, I can't do any of my PC stuff with it"). Unfortunately I can't tell exactly what it is he does with the other servers, only that it's nothing "out of the ordinary" in terms of a server. The Initiative has about 30-40 people in it. Got any ideas what I can tell this guy to buy 1 or 2 Xserves?? (Now I'm not just trying to get him to buy an Xserve for the sake of buying one, I think from all the reviews I've read that IAVI will benefit just nicely by having one or two. ALL the reviews I read are nothing but good ones from mostly mixed group file-sharing, so I believe I am making a correct decision by recommending one)

P.S. - And one other thing, Money is not an issue for a very good reason: The Initiative is funded solely by the Gates Foundation :D

Nipsy
Nov 25, 2002, 07:18 PM
Originally posted by shadowfax0


P.S. - And one other thing, Money is not an issue for a very good reason: The Initiative is funded solely by the Gates Foundation :D

Most IT guys would love the irony of this!

Tell him that for no other reason than you are funded by Gates, you should use UNIX servers, 1U, and that places the Xserve high on the list.

MisterBlack
Nov 25, 2002, 08:19 PM
Originally posted by Nipsy
Most IT guys would love the irony of this!
Most everyone would love the irony of this.

Imagine the switch ad..

DavPeanut
Nov 25, 2002, 08:44 PM
Originally posted by MisterBlack

Most everyone would love the irony of this.

Imagine the switch ad..

"Hi, I'm and IT manager, and I work for Bill Gates"
That would just about kill Microsoft.
The only thing better would be
"I'm Bill Gates and i'm the CEO of Microsoft"

Catfish_Man
Nov 25, 2002, 08:56 PM
Originally posted by shadowfax0
My Dad is currently working for I.A.V.I (The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative) and right now they have NT servers that are not the most reliable :) Anyhow, my Dad has a TiBook that he uses for consulting (I've got some great stories about it, he prides himself on the fact he can connect to most if not all the corporate networks he visits by simply plugging it in :) ) and he's trying to convince the IT guy to get an Xserve. It would be mostly be a medium-ish file server, it's not keeping up a web-page or anything. The guy seems impressed with it, but he says he isn't sure what he can do with it (He's a non-Mac guy, and most likely is in the mind set that "That's a Mac, I can't do any of my PC stuff with it"). Unfortunately I can't tell exactly what it is he does with the other servers, only that it's nothing "out of the ordinary" in terms of a server. The Initiative has about 30-40 people in it. Got any ideas what I can tell this guy to buy 1 or 2 Xserves?? (Now I'm not just trying to get him to buy an Xserve for the sake of buying one, I think from all the reviews I've read that IAVI will benefit just nicely by having one or two. ALL the reviews I read are nothing but good ones from mostly mixed group file-sharing, so I believe I am making a correct decision by recommending one)

P.S. - And one other thing, Money is not an issue for a very good reason: The Initiative is funded solely by the Gates Foundation :D

It's a 1U with a lot of drives (4X120GB), a lot of drive bandwidth (4X100MB/sec), a lot of network bandwidth (2X1Gb/sec), and an easy to use shell over a nice *nix core (10.2 Server). I'm not a server person (being all of 16 years old), but it seems pretty clear that one of the XServe's strong points is as a small file server. I would go for single processor ones, as I can't see a file server using a lot of CPU. Oh, and be sure to mention the unlimited client liscence for OSX server (MS liscensing can cost as much or more than the server if you have a lot of clients). Also, if he has questions, point him towards the Mac forum on arstechnica.com. There are a lot of people there who do this sort of thing on a daily basis.

NavyIntel007
Nov 25, 2002, 08:58 PM
Someone should send Bill Gates an iMac for Christmas...

saabmp3
Nov 25, 2002, 10:43 PM
I hate to say it, but if he's using AD and wants to use it on the mac server as well then it's hopeless. If the mac is JUST going to be used as a disk server, then it would need to be used as an FTP disk server because samba, while reliable, is not worth the setup when compared to setting up a windows server to run on the windows network.

I suppose if you really want to show the high points then just say that it's a full Unix system. If he's any real system admin this should get him thinking atleast. There are advantages to Unix systems and dissadvantages to Unix systems. Most of the dissadvantages seem to come when integrating into a Windows network (I would know, I work in this exact type of network). You would be fighting an uphill battle but I wish you the best of luck.

BEN

alex_ant
Nov 25, 2002, 10:58 PM
The Xserve is a nice machine. But it's kind of an expensive machine, if you compare it to a 1U Linux server. I would say, if the thing is just going to be sitting in a closet as a file server, with no display attached (or minimal display usage), go with one of the free Unixes on a decent 1U x86 server.

It doesn't make sense to waste money, even if it's Bill Gates' money, if that money is otherwise going to go to a good cause.

shadowfax0
Nov 25, 2002, 11:25 PM
thanks for all the replies! I don't think it'd be a waste of money, and may prove to be very useful. The fact of the matter is (money wise) is that they have already spent half a BILLION dollars, and as of yet, have no actual product or real stratagy. $7-$12,000 is NOTHING for one or two Xserves. While Linux may be cheaper, the thing is: I'm not *exactly* sure what they are going to be using it for. Of course some files will be stored on it: That's why it's a server. But they may also want to videoconference on it (serve up some streaming MPEG-4 Content, that's something you can't do on Linux *easily*, or Windows) So wel'll see how it pans out. But I'd be very interested in what actual IT people have to say (I know you guys are there, come ell me what you think!!) Cheers, thanks for all the info! :)

Catfish_Man
Nov 25, 2002, 11:41 PM
Originally posted by alex_ant
The Xserve is a nice machine. But it's kind of an expensive machine, if you compare it to a 1U Linux server. I would say, if the thing is just going to be sitting in a closet as a file server, with no display attached (or minimal display usage), go with one of the free Unixes on a decent 1U x86 server.

It doesn't make sense to waste money, even if it's Bill Gates' money, if that money is otherwise going to go to a good cause.

...most of those servers don't have 4 HDs, which might be important for a file server. i don't know how much stuff they have to put on them. One thing they could look into is an XServe RAID (when it comes out) with an XServe or two serving stuff from it.

jefhatfield
Nov 26, 2002, 07:09 AM
Originally posted by shadowfax0
My Dad is currently working for I.A.V.I (The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative) and right now they have NT servers that are not the most reliable :) Anyhow, my Dad has a TiBook that he uses for consulting (I've got some great stories about it, he prides himself on the fact he can connect to most if not all the corporate networks he visits by simply plugging it in :) ) and he's trying to convince the IT guy to get an Xserve. It would be mostly be a medium-ish file server, it's not keeping up a web-page or anything. The guy seems impressed with it, but he says he isn't sure what he can do with it (He's a non-Mac guy, and most likely is in the mind set that "That's a Mac, I can't do any of my PC stuff with it"). Unfortunately I can't tell exactly what it is he does with the other servers, only that it's nothing "out of the ordinary" in terms of a server. The Initiative has about 30-40 people in it. Got any ideas what I can tell this guy to buy 1 or 2 Xserves?? (Now I'm not just trying to get him to buy an Xserve for the sake of buying one, I think from all the reviews I've read that IAVI will benefit just nicely by having one or two. ALL the reviews I read are nothing but good ones from mostly mixed group file-sharing, so I believe I am making a correct decision by recommending one)

P.S. - And one other thing, Money is not an issue for a very good reason: The Initiative is funded solely by the Gates Foundation :D

as an IT guy, who also has an AIDS project as a client (but that is not really related), there is no way you can get the xserve as a viable product

it's too expensive and untested in the real world

if you do get one, however, let me know and PM me and give me all the details...i am sure the nitty gritty of IP, TCP/IP, packets, uptime, etc may not sound exciting to most...but to me, it's like sex...ok, maybe not that great:p

robbieduncan
Nov 26, 2002, 07:24 AM
Originally posted by Catfish_Man
It's a 1U with a lot of drives (4X120GB), a lot of drive bandwidth (4X100MB/sec),

This is not exactly true. Whilst it has 4 independent ATA 100 channels no drives are available with sustained 100Mb transfer rates. At best you will get 4x~30-35MB/sec.

Trekkie
Nov 26, 2002, 10:46 AM
Just to help reiterate what is said above.

in a file server environment, most of your data access is totally random (many users, many requests for different things). The 100MB/sec pipe available is never used. The reason being, mechanically the drives can't move their heads, spin the disk and read the data fast enough.

Now in a desktop environment, where data access tends to be more sequential (one user, one request) ATA100 is fast.

That being said, even with backing of the Gates foundation I find it a little disappointing that 'money is no object' is being tossed around. You can geta respectable file server with better features than the XServe running Linux that would have all the same major features (sans ease of use) for 1/3rd the price. The money from the foundation should go where it can best be used, and that's to solve the problem, not to buy the latest gee-whiz computer.

It'd be faster too (processor/RAM wise) and if you bought a single CPU version it'd be easily upgraded to a dual, unlike the XServe which you buy single, you get single with no upgrade. In the server market, that's disappointing at best, very stupid at worse.

Don't get me wrong, I love the XServe's general idea, but dumping that kinda cash isn't something I'd do even with money being no object.

Nipsy
Nov 26, 2002, 01:58 PM
From unixreview.com:
http://www.unixreview.com/documents/s=7459/uni1037646901804/


Under the Hood of Xserve November 2002

Dorian Cougias

While it may look pretty, it’s still Unix, which is the underlying, driving force behind Apple’s new Xserve, Unix-based multiprocessor enterprise server. In a recent conversation with Tom Goguen, the Director of Server Software for Apple Computer, Tom clarified some issues about the Apple GUI interface and the way most Unix admins are accustomed to working:

The user interface that you know and love on the Mac OS X desktop obviously exists within the server software, however, everything that you need to do with the server, you can do remotely in a “headless” environment. Installing software, and setting up the server with all network configurations can be done by communicating with the server through HTTPS easily and securely. You can also telnet into the system through Secure Shell and run whatever scripts you have set up for management.

We’ve made sure that you can access the server even if the network is down by adding a (DB9) serial port to the Xserve. You can hook the server up to a terminal concentrator and run SSH over the network and manage it that way if you want.

The Xserve is designed by default to run headless. The GUI is on the client (if you choose to use the client instead of a command line interface), not on the server. You communicate with the Xserve in a secure XML environment.

That sounds pretty Unix to me. And not only is it Unix, but it’s a truly open standard version of the BSD Unix operating system called Darwin that offers advanced networking, services such as the Apache Web server, and support for both Macintosh and Unix file systems. Open Directory is a part of this standard and its technologies form the foundation of how Mac OS X accesses all authoritative configuration information (users, groups, mounts, managed desktop data, etc.). Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server obtain this information via abstraction APIs, enabling use of virtually any directory system. “One of the things you will notice is that if you go into the ‘etc’ directory, you’ll find that it’s pretty barren because we’ve moved everything into an open directory standard,” said Goguen, adding “and we’ve published the source code as well.” You can find all of the source code you are looking for at http://developer.apple.com/darwin/.

Not only can the system be managed through Apple’s software or command-line interface, they are also shipping the servers with fully implemented SNMP MIBs, and direct support for HP’s OpenView software. “When we interviewed our customers about which heterogeneous management platform to work with first, HP’s OpenView came to the top of the list,” said Goguen.

A first in the server world, Apple’s new SMART hard-drive management system is able to leverage the Unix operating system to fully connect with their hardware. Unix admins running automatic notification will get an email, page, or phone message that a drive is heading for failure before it happens and can respond proactively. Starting with the “pre-fail” standards that IBM and Seagate has for hard drives, they asked “what are the typical pre-fails that they have and how would that apply in the use of a server?” Once they had their data set, they then processed this information into an XML file as a set of management rules. “As soon as a drive meets the standards for a pre-fail bit at any one of the SMART data points, we announce that information to the SNMP MIB and management software” explained Goguen. Because of the tight integration between Unix software and Apple hardware, notification lights are set on both levels and XML data is not only written to the log file, but to the hard drive itself.

Why would Apple want to write an XML file containing drive pre-failure info to the drive itself? Because the XML file contains all of the data about the exact point of failure (such as “on head 4 of track 71 the drive had 10 retries”). And the drive can then be sent back to Apple and swapped for a new drive. “AppleCare gets the information that is contained both in the log and on the drive so we can learn for the future,” Goguen explained. AppleCare is a part of the support package Unix admins can get with the server. The service, like Unix servers themselves, runs 24 hour a day and promises 4 hour response time – meaning that within 4 hours you should have your answer for what is going on and how to fix the problem. “Because this is a secure Unix system, and management can be done remotely, the admin can allow Apple technicians secure remote access for working on the system if need be,” according to Goguen.

Secure, remote management. Close ties between hardware and software. Telnet through a serial port if all else fails. Even without a GUI interface, the Xserve is a beautiful Unix implementation – if you appreciate the inner beauty of Unix.

jefhatfield
Nov 26, 2002, 06:31 PM
os x will work with windows though

bill gates owns or partially own most flavors of unix and paul allen is mr. linux thru some "games/alliances" he played on with his rather good friend linus torvalds

but in all "business" and "legal" aspects, unix is a PC based language with a somewhat nice fit... but in the pureness of a language per se, no one "owns" it in theory...but this is not theory, but the real world

you can tell that to your person who is looking to shop

it's just so hard to imagine a mac at the center of a network that is not 100 percent mac based

it's the perception

the problems related to macs working with the windows 2000 network are on the PC side and not the mac side, but it is too easy for windows NT and windows 2000/windows XP administrators/engineers/managers to blame the macintosh client computer/workstation

shadowfax0
Nov 26, 2002, 07:01 PM
Originally posted by jefhatfield

...it's just so hard to imagine a mac at the center of a network that is not 100 percent mac based...


Well you see, that's the deal, it ISN'T going to be the center of the network, simply two extra servers working together with the other ones. I have talked ot the guy and he says they are looking for something that can handle alot of streaming videos/audio (reason being they would like to have the videoconferencing ability to Africa and such) but I'm not 100% sure of the details, but it wouldn't be the 'center' of anything really, they're still going to hold onto their current servers for fiel serving and such.

jefhatfield
Nov 26, 2002, 07:34 PM
Originally posted by shadowfax0


Well you see, that's the deal, it ISN'T going to be the center of the network, simply two extra servers working together with the other ones. I have talked ot the guy and he says they are looking for something that can handle alot of streaming videos/audio (reason being they would like to have the videoconferencing ability to Africa and such) but I'm not 100% sure of the details, but it wouldn't be the 'center' of anything really, they're still going to hold onto their current servers for fiel serving and such.

buy it then,

while i sit in awe and envy:p

shadowfax0
Nov 26, 2002, 11:02 PM
That's the plan :D

benixau
Nov 27, 2002, 04:57 AM
Tell them that the mac is the leader in video production and that it is totaly compliant with all of todays open standard streaming formats.

Tell them that MS Office can be run from it. Tell them that MYOB makes a special mac only version of its software with mac only features.

Tell them it will never have a hardware:OS:software probem as the hardware, OS and software are designed to work first time every time and never ever have problems.

I told my school that and they said: if we could afford it and hadnt already signed up for the ASI machines then we would get macs. - this is a gov't school here

mmmdreg
Nov 27, 2002, 05:04 AM
dude..you wanna try and convince my school to switch back to macs...www.newingtoncollege.nsw.edu.au if you're interested...just find a tech support/webmaster link somewhere...they're planning on upgrading the library computers early next year so perhaps they can be convinced to changed them to emacs or the like...

DeadlyBreakfast
Nov 27, 2002, 06:12 AM
Originally posted by shadowfax0
right now they have NT servers that are not the most reliable


I hear this quite often and I makes me shake my head. I have quite a few NT servers and other then upgrades / config changes they have been running for 4 years straight.

BUT - Given the opportunity I can't imagine any self respecting IT not jumping at the opportunity to but a little zest into the network. If they don't I question thier "geekness" and question if they really are an IT guy or just a guy who works in IT.

benixau
Nov 27, 2002, 06:19 AM
mmmdreg. I would love to.

BUT (theres always a but isnt there)

is your school having troubles with the current network and does it only have one capable admin.

If so then i will send them an email. Else - i cant guarentee a thing. Also, ust show them every serious switch ad and explain it to them.

If you cant - pose as your school (or another) and ask the sales guys at 133MAC ((133622 - open 9-5)).
actually i sugest this. I go to sydney tech http://www.sths.nsw.edu.au so an 'outsider' may seem a bit rude.

mmmdreg
Nov 27, 2002, 05:50 PM
well it appears the network does have issues now and then..but the worst thing is the actual computers which always have issues...btw..my school's like a control freak..they give us privileges so that we can only access a set amount of applications and nothing else..we can't even change the wallpaper and stuff...

benixau
Nov 27, 2002, 07:21 PM
The privilages issue wont ever change. My school uses win2k and we have 2 backgrounds. Teachers and exectutives get the nice blue whilst anyone else gets win98 green.

As for the computers having issues that can be fixed. BUT, do the students intentionally fiddle and is it hardware or software (inc. OS) based.
Email me to continue cause this is now off topic for this thread.

benixau (benjamingreenau@optusnet.com.au)

Please no spam - thats a private box. Thanx

daPhil
Dec 4, 2002, 09:33 AM
No server with IDE drives and non-ECC memory would ever make it into our serverpark. Sorry Apple, eyecandy is not enough. It does look good though :)

macmax
Dec 4, 2002, 11:58 AM
tell him that "the 3 of us want a xserve,
me , smith&wesson" hehehehehehhe:D

jefhatfield
Dec 4, 2002, 12:22 PM
Originally posted by macmax
tell him that "the 3 of us want a xserve,
me , smith&wesson" hehehehehehhe:D

ah, the clint eastwood polytheistic sf cop!!!:p

explanation: the dirty harry trinity

further explanation: many years ago, clint eastwood played a trigger happy san francisco police officer who was kind of like a white version of shaft;)