Pogo Linux StorageWare 3800: An Affordable Terabyte
Rackmount servers are relatively common, and even servers preconfigured for Linux are easy to find today. So how does Pogo Linux distuinguish its rack-mount StorageWare 3800 from the rest of the crowd? By combining an affordable price with an expandable platform.
The Pogo Linux StorageWare 3800 has the usual basics: a dual processor Xeon Super Micro X5DP8-GL motherboard with up to eight GB of RAM, a 40G boot disk, Red Hat Linux 8.0, two built-in 10/100 Ethernet connections, and dual power supplies in a 3u chassis. But it also has something unusual -- in addition to the boot drive, the 3800 has eight 203.9G ATA hard drives attached to a 3Ware RAID controller in a RAID5 configuration, with a total formatted capacity of just over 1.2 terabytes (1.4 TB raw).
With dual 2.4 GHz Xeons, two GB of RAM as tested, and 1.2 TB of storage, this system provides ample horsepower for all but the largest database applications, and includes both MySQL and PostgreSQL servers as well. Having over a terabyte in a 3u, $7,400 server is incredible, the more so recalling a one-terabyte storage system I built in 1996 that occupied three 84" racks and cost about $400,000, with less performance than the 3800.
The 3800 is well-supplied for redundancy and reliability. It has three fans in front, four internal fans, and fans in the power supplies, as well as dual redundant hot-swappable 350 watt power supplies. It has four 66 Mhz 64-bit full length PCI slots and two 100Mhz 64-bit full-length PCI slots, one of which is used by the 3Ware RAID card. The 3Ware card puts each drive on a separate channel and supports only cold swapping, but delivers performance comparable to high-end SCSI RAID solutions at a much lower price. In our testing, the RAID array was able to sustain speeds greater than 100 MB/sec in file copies -- it really needs a gigabit Ethernet adapter to maximize throughput.
The 3800 is well equipped for the data center, with a large variety of servers included, such as the Apache Web server, BIND DNS server, concurrent version system (CVS) version control server, DHCP server, Fetchmail mail retrieval, Jabber IM server, Majordomo list manager, MySQL database server, OpenSLP server, Postfix server, PostgreSQL database server, ProFTP server, Procmail mail filter, QMail server, SSH server, Samba Windows file sharing, Sendmail, Squid proxy server, and WU-FTP server.
It also comes with two Webmin web-based administration consoles, one called PogoConf (unique to Pogo), which allows GUI remote admin of network, storage, the 3Ware RAID card configuration, and Samba and NFS shares, and the other called Webmin (which is not unique to Pogo), which allows basically any administrative task to be performed that could be done with the Linux GUI on the system console, including terminal sessions, file management, hardware configuration, admin tasks, configuration of the included Web, DNS, mail and other servers, bootup and shutdown scripts, and pretty much anything that might be desired.
The initial setup and further configuration of the 3800 is easy and straightforward, well-documented by the help files available through the web console. With the 3Ware controller, the 3800 was easily able to saturate both 100 Mbps Ethernet controllers, and in file copies on the RAID 5 unit, hit about 145 MB/sec.
The 3Ware Disk Manager (3DM) utility, a web browser-based disk management utility, allows local and remote management and monitoring of the array and disks. For monitoring, Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART) information is collected from the disk drives, and 3DM can notify the administrator of drive failures via e-mail and audible alerts. It supports all the common RAID levels 0, 1, 10, 5 and JBOD.
The Pogo Linux StorageWare 3800 is a very capable server, providing an exceptional amount of storage and very high performance in a very inexpensive package. With Pogo's experience in Linux systems, the configuration is capably set up, and there is a provided image restore disk that reinstalls the 3Ware drivers in case of a total crash of the OS boot disk. This server is well worth investigating for any organization with a requirement for large data sets on a Linux server.
- Huge amount of storage in a small package and at a great price
- Remote administration by web console is very well done
- Redundant features and very high performance
- Large companies may be reluctant to buy from Pogo Linux, which doesn't have the distribution channels or support facilities of the largest vendors
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