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I got donated a server


Rkiver
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So I was given an older, but functional, Dell Poweredge 4600 server.

It's a 6U rack mount, 4 power supplies in it, 4 gigs of ram on two cards, 4 occupied scsi drives, and two cpu sockets filled.

Great, a server that at it's best is actually weaker than my desktop, and probably a power hungry monster.

So, what can I do with, what can we do with a rather large, if outdated, server?

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People forget when all we needed was "64k" to do everything. It's bare hardware that will probably run nonstop and heat your room if not cooled probably though, so other than being noisy, hot, and power hungry, you could put up a test playground, honeypots, home pentest network, virtual servers, IDS, media server, yada, yada, yada.

It's free hardware, sure you'll find something useful to do with it. I used to re-purpose trashed computers, just having fun getting them up and running, seeing what was on them, wiping them for the kids to play games on, or donate to friends, but seeing as it was just donated to you, put it to use or pay it forward; ie: fix it up, setup some educational software and ship it off to HFC or such. They can probably find a good home for it in a school that has no funds to purchase servers and such.

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I see what you mean, but don't necessarily agree with you.

These last few years I've really been taking a long, hard look at the actual cost of running machines which, when you break it down, looks like this:
1. Purchase the hardware itself.
2. One-time software purchases.
3. Software license fees.
4. Admin costs.
5. Cooling costs.
6. Power costs.

For most of our personal machines, #2 and #3 are 0 because we run only free software. Likewise, #4 is 0 because it's our own time and, assuming you were going to get *some* machine for this anyway the type of machine isn't really going to make that much difference. So what we're down to is the price of the hardware, the power and the cooling. In this case the hardware price is 0 but the power and cooling costs are likely non-trivial for something like this.

When I looked at my fileserver and gateway, I concluded that the typical power draw for them was 80-85W which meant 160-170 euro running cost per year. And that's for what already was a reasonably efficient setup. This server is very likely to take in excess of 250W doing not much of anything which at dutch electricity consumer prices is 500 euro per year. If the school were to purchase a new, efficient machine that consumes still a hefty 125W and assumes that it has 5 years of life in it, if this new machine costs under 1250 euro they're going to save money by buying new.

This is the 'danger' with donating old machines - you save in the short term but lose more money as time progresses.

Edit: Found that it has Xeons in it operating at 1.8GHz minimum and can provide up to 900W to the hardware from its redundant power supplies so it would appear my calculations were rather modest. Also, according to the page you're not supposed to operate it in an environment that's warmer than 35 celcius and you have to assume that it spews out 6000 BTU/hr which that school's AC better find a way to deal with - this isn't the sort of machine you chuck into a broom closet...

Edited by Cooper
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So, what can I do with, what can we do with a rather large, if outdated, server?

Make some sturdy legs for it and turn it into a coffee table! Seriously, if it is anything like the old Dells I used to deal with then the hardware will be fine, but they need their air-con.

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My home desktop is a 900w workstation with 16GB of ram, 3.2 Ghz Hexacore and 2.5TB split up over multiple HDD's, that runs 24/7 and keeps my room mighty toasty most of the time, but its a machine I built in 2008 and still in use as my main and only work machine at home that I do everything on. It idles at 27 degrees when clean and gets pushed to about 80 when gaming which when it goes over 80 starts to give me warning beeps which I pull out the inflatable mattress pump and blow out the dust and go back to gaming.(I do need to clean and re-seat the CPU with some new thermal paste, but it's been like this for over 3 years now with no issues other than keeping the dust down and cooling). It's plugged into a battery backup, and in the summer, we have an window AC unit that barely keeps up with the cooling, but for cost of electric, 900w PSU's are probably going to be pretty common needs on servers if that's what we use for home workstations(at least for me and my work, photoshop, illustrator, gaming, editing, etc). Sure they can offset their costs with some solar projects, but cooling would be the main issue since it is in Uganda.

Johnny runs a cafe training center too though, and has a room full of desktops on all the time, so I think he has the cooling needs worked out with all those machines running, and a central server would probably be useful for images to machines, along with storage for software rollouts to other places he takes donated hardware to since he could use it for managing all the other machines and devices and school software. He does have people sending him mostly HDD's and large Thumb Drives filled with torrented software which he put a list out a long time ago on what they use, with everything from an offline copy of wikipedia to a shit ton of educational software. The torrent should still be available if anyone wants to download a copy of what they use, and send it to him on drives and such. I can upload the torrent again if I still have it on my machine somewhere.

I think when you're on a budget of 0 to purchase hardware and software, anything will be useful and sure he can find a home for it in some manner, even if it is older and power hungry as well as an electric heater.

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One thing to account for is that here in .NL the price of electricity is between 1.5 and 3 times as high compared to the US at currently, for me at least, roughly 26 US cents per KWh.
If you ship the box off to Uganda, their electrification rate was 9% in 2009 so if they want to run this box at some school over there they better buy a lot of fuel for their generator.

Let's face it, a box like that should be housed in a server room which kinda limits the places you can donate it to and those places I would suspect to be better served with a slightly less monstruous machine.

The PSUs are being sold on eBay for 15 bucks a pop, you might get some cash for the CPUs and/or the ram that way aswell.

I think the best plan is to do something useful with the money obtained that way, and provide the rest for recycling or whatever. But hey, that's just me.

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Edit: Found that it has Xeons in it operating at 1.8GHz minimum and can provide up to 900W to the hardware from its redundant power supplies so it would appear my calculations were rather modest. Also, according to the page you're not supposed to operate it in an environment that's warmer than 35 celcius and you have to assume that it spews out 6000 BTU/hr which that school's AC better find a way to deal with - this isn't the sort of machine you chuck into a broom closet...

Tell that to half my clients.... :rolleyes:

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