Month: September 2014

HP Microserver Gen9 around the corner?

The guys over at ServeTheHome have let the cat out of the bag – HP intends to announce their new Proliant Gen9 server range next week.

HP-Proliant-Gen9-600x228

The new HP Proliant Gen9 range, coming soon!

Some interesting tidbits from the article:

HP has undergone a major mindset change over the past few years. Instead of selling well designed, x86 commodity servers, HP is re-thinking how it goes to market. The vision HP is pushing is really one that compute infrastructure will increasingly be managed as pools of resources specialized for specific tasks.

HP’s scaling story is building servers with each successive generation that are easier to manage in pools. HP Gen9 is rolling out with UEFI enhancements and a management platform that will aid in this effort.

The other interesting note about the announcement is the date. The HP ProLiant Gen9 servers are due out on September 8. The company also said that we would see DDR4 and Haswell architectures with the HP Gen9 server lineup. The company also cited that the Intel Developer Forum on September 9-10 in San Francisco would be a place where we would hear more about the line-up. With the major Apple event scheduled for 9/9/2014 there is a likely date for the Haswell-EP (Intel Xeon E5-2600 V3) that we can deduce from this, even if Intel is mum on the subject.

This is all very interesting. What does it mean for the Microserver SKU’s? Well, not very much at all. I would expect that they get a revised motherboard with a later chipset, a CPU bump to the ‘Haswell Refresh’ G1840T and G3240T, and the new Gen9 Management features – whatever they are. There might be newer versions of the Broadcom NICs, More USB3 ports… things along that line. I don’t think we get iLO5 but definitely new & updated onboard management, diagnostic and provisioning tools will be on the cards.

With a new SKU coming, I expect to see some special deals on the Gen8 Microservers coming up later in the year. The Gen9 release of the Proliants is due within a week or so, and we are likely to see a new Gen9 Microserver coming out before the end of the year. Remember that the E3-1220’s go into these quite happily and give a massive boost in performance. So if you can find a cheap E3 CPU – or even have one lying around from upgrades – and the Gen8 chassis goes back on the rebate specials we saw with the N40L/N56L units, definitely worth your time to grab one.

We are seeing the G1610T unit here in Australia retail from AUD$499 at some e-tailers, so if it dipped below AUD$300 they would likely sell very quick.

Windows seedbox for 2 Euros a month!

I was lucky enough to come across a post a couple of weekends ago on LowEndBox.net, a discussion forum regarding cheap web hosting, VPS deals and even dedicated servers. It said that Online.Net (a competitor to OVH in France, known for their ‘Kimsufi’ dedicated servers) was selling some very cheap dedicated servers. These went by the name of ‘Dedibox kidéchire’ and were a limited-time promotion.

How cheap? €2.00 (about AUD$3.00) per month.

Well as you can imagine, I grabbed one immediately. The specs were not high – only a low end, single core VIA CPU. However it came with 2 GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive, plus 100GB worth of FTP backup space in a separate datacentre for free (larger on application, for extra fee). As a part of this promotion, Online.Net had decided to give these machines a shared gigabit connection to the internet – around 24 machines into a single switch, and a single gigabit uplink for all 24 machines to share. Perfect for backups or basic serving of files. These are micro-sized Dell blade servers which are quite old now and well and truly have been depreciated (and paid for themselves too) so they decided to sell thousands of them at basically cost price.

After installing Debian Linux on my first box, I decided this was too good and decided to grab another. So my total outlay is 4 per month.

A number of things have now been ironed out – they now allow for a CentOS 6.x image to be installed, which is my preferred flavour of Linux for various reasons including cPanel compatibility. Unfortunately the new CentOS 7 release changes many things in the structure of the Operating System and this means that the whole cPanel programming needs changing, which will take a while.

There was another option of installing Windows Server onto these machine, but being charged at 23/month. That is some bloody stiff SPLA pricing – we don’t even charge that much at my employer’s hosting environment.

After more discussion on LowEndBox, it was found that Online.Net do not care about seedboxes. Well, they don’t if you use private trackers and no DCMA requests come through. At this point I thought I would finally have to learn rTorrent & ruTorrent on Linux, but then a guy called Joodle had other ideas.

Joodle had already worked out a way to dd a windows image from a remote server onto a OVH Kimsufi server. Funnily enough, the same process works well with Online.Net as they have a similar linux-based rescue mode (boot a linux image to memory). Unfortunately the Windows 7 and Server 2008 images do not work as they require an extra network driver (Intel 82574L) driver to be installed, something that requires greater access to the hardware. Windows 8 & Server 2012R2 does have this drive as a part of the operating system, so that happily installs and works.

After installing uTorrent and getting some bandwidth happening, it is not uncommon to see 10Mb/sec download and I have seen 7-8Mb/sec uploads on some individual torrents. Unfortunately the RDP performance (and ping to me here in Australia) is pretty average to be honest, so it id definitely not a great hosted desktop solution. The download speeds however are more than good enough. It maxes out the around 8Mbit ADSL2+ I have here in my new apartment.

Absolutely wrapped with the performance of the two new boxes, and looking forward to everything I can now do with them.

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