My big-ass server for home arrived yesterday and, much to Kathi’s horror, it’s huge. Here’s the basic spec:
- Dell PowerEdge 2900 III
- Two quad-core Xeon processors
- 16 GB RAM
- Two 300 GB SATA HDDs (not much, I know, but there’s still six empty drive bays to fill)
- Two Gigabit NICs
- VMWare ESX 3.5 installable (yet to be installed)
What the hell do I need a monster like this for?
Since I’ve made the move from working for small to medium business to working for global enter prises such as Rio Tinto (among others), I need to learn and practice and keep up-to-date with enterprise-level tech. The keys to enterprise technologies at the moment and for the foreseeable future centre around ideas of virtualisation, that is, bundling a bunch of computers onto a big-ass server such that each computer is tricked into believing it’s running on its own dedicated hardware. The benefits are that you minimise hardware costs and can take advantage of other enterprise technologies such as clustering, load balancing and failover to ensure high availability of all servers.
That’s the officialese out of the way. What am I going to use my new toy for?
A couple of things:
- Creating a dedicated test environment with automated rebuild ability so that I can train myself in managing and manipulating VMWare guest (ie: virtualised) computers. I can push each virtual test machine until I break it and then rebuild it to the second before it broke almost instantly. No more wasting time reinstalling the OS, apps and configuring the broken machine.
- Stop the need to scrounge for bits. I tend to spened a lot of time begging, borrowing and stealing computer bits to keep a bunch of clapped-out personal computers running so that I can dodgy them about so that I can learn server products. Now I’ll have dedicated hardware with a warranty that will last me a number of years and which can change to meet the needs of the moment.
- If I ever get off my increasingly overweight butt and start producing audio dramas for podcast, I’ll need a grunty computer for audio processing. As far as a server which can be sqqueezed into a home budget and computing environment, they don’t come much gruntier.
- Geeking out over cool tech. This point is self-explanatory.