Which company makes the best servers?

Discussion in 'Networking & Security' started by grasshoppa, Jun 19, 2018.

  1. grasshoppa

    grasshoppa Gawd

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    Not strictly a networking question, but I figure there's a ton of admins in here. Who does everyone like for server equipment? Time was HP had some great stuff ( if expensive ). Dell used to be pretty good too, at a better price point.

    I'm looking for a small business, to replace some core infrastructure.
     
  2. cjcox

    cjcox Gawd

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    Dell. Why not HP? While HP used to (and maybe still does) make the "cadillac" of servers, HP also has decided to hamper all their servers with a myriad of software and updates that you cannot get unless you buy new from them. While you can pick up a used Dell on the cheap and get updates, etc.

    Dell, you can use their basic DRAC, but iLO on HP requires a license key.

    So... if you have tons of money (because HP will cost you rmore, even new), maybe you choose HP.... but if you want a platform that is useful "longer", choose Dell.

    Dell quality has actually gotten better while HP has cheapened some of their designs.

    I own a not terribly old HP server (Gen8). Another thing that frustrates me about is their "cooling" mgmt. Where most servers use temperature sensors and such, HP actually looks that the hardware (e.g. PCIe board). When HP detects that is not an official HP part, it runs the fans a lot harder because "you never know". Dell doesn't do this.

    I even sent a nasty gram to Meg about all of this (knowing good and well that HP could care less)

    Dell's not perfect and their support can be messy sometimes (not saying HP is any better though), but Dell is either good at guessing about things, or they seem to be really listening to their customer base.

    There was a time I would have picked HP over Dell (mainly because of quality). Not anymore. HP had decided to dig a pit and crawl into it.
     
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  3. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    I've had good luck with Dell servers (currently have over a dozen in use). Their 2U, dual processor servers are a solid platform.

    I have a couple servers with 256GB ram (virtualization & SQL), and one (backup) with 50TB :eek: of disk space, so it's not like I take it easy on the hardware. :D
     
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  4. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge Not the Idiot YOU are Looking for

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    We use all HP here- no idea why- but I'm looking at used Dells for homelab work. Someday.

    [one kicker was that the HPs don't seem to like SATA SSDs unless they are HP SATA/SAS SSDs...]
     
  5. grasshoppa

    grasshoppa Gawd

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    You wouldn't by chance be government? I know HP bends over backwards to get themselves on the government approved lists, which often lets them bypass purchasing policies..all under the pretense of "giving the best price" while charging more than consumer level gear.

    It's hilarious.

    They do the same song and dance with corporate customers too. Back in my purchasing days I used to resent the fact that they had good hardware, because their business practices were as shady as they were.
     
  6. cjcox

    cjcox Gawd

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    15 years ago, Dell was crapola. HP was just plain awesome (like paying $5-10K for a machine with so much extras it looked like it should cost twice as much). Dell didn't look that much different from a Supermicro build, something you could put together yourself. IBM x-Series was cheap as well, but because of their use of, and fear of, patents had the wonkiest designs ever (stuff that made no sense at all, but you expect that when everything has to be different). I worked in a fairly nice sized datacenter (all equipment owned by us) about 30-40K sq ft. and we used all, but mostly HP at the time. Thus we could take the rough equivalents and lay them side by side by side and give a rough evaluation. So until HP went nuts, they were definitely way ahead of Dell and IBM.

    I have to hand it to Dell for stepping up their game a bit. And HP, what on earth are you thinking? How's all that "junk" to prevent a used market working out for you?

    IBM.. they sold out... they're still wonky by design though.

    Superrmicro.... if you knew them "then", you know them "now"... pretty much no change.
     
  7. Vengance_01

    Vengance_01 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Cisco ucs gear period. UCS mini pod
     
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  8. Archaea

    Archaea [H]ardForum Junkie

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    HP in our shop. Operates without issue by and large.
     
  9. Cmustang87

    Cmustang87 [H]ardness Supreme

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  10. Dead Parrot

    Dead Parrot [H]ard|Gawd

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    Unless your customer is really pushing the envelope on something, pretty much any properly specified hardware will do the job. Find out what management utilities you/they want to use and buy the brand that best supports those. Also look at which warranty replacement policies best fit the customer's needs. For example: if needed can you purchase a 24 hr replacement policy for critical hardware?

    Find out if you can buy a support policy that allows quick bypass of the script kiddie level of support. Nothing like having to spend 3 hours 'restarting the machine' when you have the blackened PS in your hands.
     
  11. boss6021

    boss6021 Limp Gawd

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    Dell or Supermicro. The rest is generally either garbage or rebadged.
     
  12. Cypher-

    Cypher- [H]ard|Gawd

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    I work in a data center. I'm all aboard the Dell bandwagon. Dell stuff comes in as you'd expect and usually just works. I'm a certified tech and can get parts to fix stuff the next day without issue if I need them.

    HP on the other hand is a bit of a nightmare. The support guy we have for HP is amazing (he was formerly SGI), but the stuff he tells me about HP makes me question what they are thinking. They make him jump through hoops to get parts, even if he knows exactly what is wrong. The fact that HP just sold their service off to Unisys doesn't help either. I know someone who got so fed up with dealing with HP sales / service that he said he will be going back to Dell for his next order and never touching HP again.

    HP stuff just feels cheap compared to Dell too. Then there is stuff like I had a server come in the other day that had an extra internal SAS cable sitting on top of the server. I have no idea why. There was one already installed and no reason for them to include an extra. The other three identical servers didn't have one. I've installed hundreds of Dell servers and never seen anything out of the ordinary like that. But honestly HP hardware gets the job done, it's their service end that scares me. In my opinion they got too big too fast by buying everyone up and until they sort out what needs to be done it will be a bumpy ride.
     
  13. LOCO LAPTOP

    LOCO LAPTOP [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I work in a data center, we have HP's G6 to G8 Severs, SuperMirco and a few Dell's now. HP's has always been rock solid. My only problem with HP is the Bios update requires a valid warranty. That is awfully stupid, but no problem had using SSD/HDD that are not HP certified or even ram for that matter. This may of changed with G9/G10 but haven't gotten those yet.

    Dell on the other hand, we had hiccups, had to replace a few motherboards and power supplies. Became common after a machine hits 3-4 years old, those that die now are getting replaced with HP's.

    Supermicro: Same as Dell, however these servers that are starting to give us issues are pushing 15 years old of 24/7 run time. So this is to be expected. Nothing against them honestly and their support is okay.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
  14. lucidrenegade

    lucidrenegade Limp Gawd

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    In the early '00s, HP (Compaq) made a better product. Dells were essentially off the shelf stuff thrown in a box, while HP's stuff seemed like they actually put effort into R&D for the enterprise market. Nowadays, x86 servers are a commodity. For me, support then price would be the deciding factors. HP's BS with their updates is a major turnoff.
     
  15. dbwillis

    dbwillis [H]ardness Supreme

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    We use Supermicro for all our major 'services', we do have HP Servers for 'Server' work, mostly because we have in house HP techs.
    We buy our SM gear through a vendor, M&A, great service
     
  16. Kwaz

    Kwaz Whine & Cheezy

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    Agreed.

    My role at work isn't 'the It guy', but every e-commerce company I've worked for uses DELL over HP.
     
  17. grasshoppa

    grasshoppa Gawd

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    All good points, and what I do, but there are other data points that need to be considered. How big of a pain are the various vendors to work with? What's the failure rate of the different vendors? I have seen two servers similarly spec'd run entirely differently ( HP's kit ran slower than a Dell server with the same CPU/memory arch. We think it was the extra drivers and such that HP bogs down their servers with ).

    Recent experience is what I'm looking for to answer these questions.
     
  18. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    Needs to be under warranty to upgrade the Bios? That's just wrong and now that I know that I'd never buy an HP server.

    When I buy a new Dell server, it comes with a 3 year warranty, and I try to keep Dell only part/drives while it's under warranty.

    After the initial 3 years, I usually rebuild the server to extend it's useful life.
    Maybe add more ram, larger drives, and I make sure all the bios & firmware is current.
    I have a couple servers that went through this same process again when they where 6 years old and are still in use.
    Even upgraded the CPU's on a couple servers, as there are lots of inexpensive parts available. Pulled out the quad core CPU's and replace them with 10 core CPU's
    I can spend $1,000 upgrading a server instead on $12,000 on a new one.

    Older servers get moved to less important processes, get used for testing, or used as backup/spare servers.
    Almost all my services are virtualized, and easy to move between physical servers.

    I've retired 5 servers over the past 10 years, not because they failed, but because they were just too old or not upgradable to something still useful.
     
  19. LOCO LAPTOP

    LOCO LAPTOP [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I have seen it a few times and it would say this:
    Note: Some software requires a valid warranty, current Hewlett Packard Enterprise support contract, or a license fee.

    Now there are some that say "Entitlement Required" but you can download it and update just fine. Either way. It's not cool for sure.
     
  20. marshac

    marshac [H]ard|Gawd

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    HP went to shit when Carly Fiorina took over and laid off the engineering staff to save money and pump the short term profits at the expense of future products. I personally like Dell. I still recall the name of my first Dell Rep- Robert Greco.
     
  21. x509

    x509 [H]ard|Gawd

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    That Government approach is called "Purchase Vehicle." If Agency A has a contract to buy X model HP servers, etc., Agency B can say, "We want to use Agency A's contract with HP, and just buy that same stuff for ourselves," instead of going through the usual competitive bid process.
     
  22. Chas

    Chas [H]ardness Supreme

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    As has been said elsewhere, Dells are decent machines. Nothing special. But they work just fine.

    HP is the quintessential "cadillac" server. But, the weakness in HP is their idiotic tying of software/driver/etc access to licensing/warranty status.

    If you're dealing with refurb servers? Dell > HP.

    If you plan on holding onto "new" servers longer than the warranty? Dell > HP.

    If you're on a rigid refresh cycle and you're trying to avoid "fiddling" as much as possible? HP > Dell
     
  23. goodcooper

    goodcooper [H]ardForum Junkie

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    i was a die hard supermicro fan, but i realize a lot of companies can't operate that way, so in the absence of a supermicro vote, i would go Dell

    otherwise, cloud :D
     
  24. ChRoNo16

    ChRoNo16 [H]ard|Gawd

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    I have to side for Dell here. Been an HP man for years, but always when warranty ran out they wont help you at all

    recently bought a dell with no warranty left- and I was able to download the iso from dell direct for server 2008 r2 and install it with the COA- No questions, No BS.
     
  25. grasshoppa

    grasshoppa Gawd

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    I've killed men for less.

    In all seriousness, I have a physical reaction when a salestroll comes in and throws the term "cloud" around. They almost never know what they're talking about, nor do they understand the pros and cons of offsite infrastructure. They just know buzzwords sell management ( I'm not your typical manager ).

    For this particular project, offsite hosting is the wrong approach. I'm feeling Dell here.
     
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  26. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    Which is how I run IT at my office, and why I use Dell.
    We use servers until they are not worth fixing (while out of warranty), or until they are too old to be useful.
    Since everything is now virtualized, it's easy to move or restore a virtual servers to a different box.
    Upgrading some of the older servers makes it easy to have extra capacity as needed.

    Once a server is out of warranty, 3rd party drives are cheap, as are the memory upgrades.

    Over the past 10 years, I've only had 2 servers failed with a problem that wasn't worth fixing (mother board for example). Servers were over 5 years old, so they where replaced.
     
  27. Easius

    Easius Limp Gawd

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    My 2 cents here..

    Used to work for an HP/SuperMicro/Dell reseller. Now work for a HP/Dell (almost all Dell) reseller.

    I have to say overall I like Dell the most right now. I like the physical design of the HPs/think hardwares built a little better- but Dell's support is always quicker for me to get issues resolved, and the HP servers software annoys me. Dell's OpenManage is great and I prefer little things like their service tag lookup/easy ability to flash firmwares/drivers/etc and find them online.

    I personally wouldn't ever recommend SuperMicro in the small business market. Their support has always been a pain for me.
     
  28. cdr_74_premium

    cdr_74_premium [H]ard|Gawd

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    To me, good means working properly after 10 years of use. Heavy use, if you will.

    Dell all the way. I see HP as the master of planned obsolescence.